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Subject: Re: Tebaldi Aida under Karajan
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 26 Sep 2016 23:50:43 +0000
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Bob: 
I think I found it. The Von Karajan/Tebaldi Aida was recorded in 1958 in Vienna. Tebaldi's final Aida performances took place on July 22nd and 27th of 1959. Tebaldi must have been doing a lot of recording in 1958 and 1959 (Fanciulla, Boheme, Aida, Mefistofele, Butterfly, Chenier, Tosca). 
Les 

I have a very poorly written biography of Tebaldi here and there's a discography (which also tells the year of recording) and a performance chronology. 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Bob Rideout" <[log in to unmask]> 
To: "Les Mitnick" <[log in to unmask]> 
Cc: "OPERA-L" <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2016 2:16:18 PM 
Subject: Re: Tebaldi Aida under Karajan 

Hi Les and list 

There are a number of conflicting statements about this recording, including 
the dates. I have seen 1957, several sources that claim 58' and others that 
say 59. I would be very grateful to know definitively which, among them, is 
correct. In the absence of other firm evidence I'm going to assume that Max 
is correct and that it was recorded in the latter part of 1959. 

What makes it important, you may ask. Well, as Max pointed out, if it was 
in late 59, it was the very last time she ever performed the role. There was 
a performance at Paris in June of 59, and that, I'm almost certain, was the 
last time she ever sang it on stage. Those things are important to those who 
honor operatic history, and Renata Tebaldi holds an enormously important 
place in that very large book! It would be nice to know, for which, my 
thanks. 

Bob 

On Monday, September 26, 2016, Les Mitnick < [log in to unmask] > wrote: 


Bob: 
You're right about Simionato on the Tokyo performance. I own it and love it. Simionato sounds like Simionato and burns up the place. Tucci is excellent also. I don't know why she didn't enjoy a bigger career. If I remember, she started to experience vocal problems kind of early. I've got some great Aidas, and this is one of the most ones. Still, I'm going to gibe my VonKarajan/Tebaldi another listen. I also must confess that while Aida may not be Callas' ideal role, I find her exciting and wonderful in her 1851 Mexico City recording (with that stupendous top E flat!) as well as on her EMI recording (the high C in "O Patria Mia" be damned!). By the way, Oralia Dominguez was a great and powerful Amneris (kind of reminds me of Anna Magnani!) and she can hold her own more than grandly alongside of Callas. 
I admire Tebaldi, but I'm not sure that Aida was really intended for her voice, though she sang it a lot in the beginning of her career ------------- but abruptly dropped it after 1959, and with good reason. 
Les 


----- Original Message ----- 

From: "Bob Rideout" < [log in to unmask] > 
To: "OPERA-L" < [log in to unmask] > 
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2016 12:06:02 PM 
Subject: Re: Tebaldi Aida under Karajan 

I'll comment only on Simionato, since, overall, I really do not much 
like this recording, especially the much too loud orchestra, and the 
often out of tune Tebaldi. The oft asserted observation that it's only 
the top C in "O Patria Mia" is a "pants on fire" comment.. 
Enough on that! 

Simionato strikes me as fine on this performance, but if anyone wants 
to know just how great her Amneris could be, turn to the Aida from 
Tokyo in 1961 with Tucci, Del Monaco and Protti under Capuana. Hers 
is among the dozen, or so, most remarkable performances I've ever 
heard. From the deepest chest tones, to the most brilliant tops 
imaginable, in that music, she astounds, both musically and dramatically. 
The Judgment Scene is truly jaw dropping! 

Tucci is a wonderful Aida, with superb pianissimi, and the men are fine. 
It is a very impressive recording, overall. 

The sound, as preserved on the Frequenz label, is superb, studio quality, 
more or less. 

I know Simionato's Amneris from a number of revivals,, but this one 
is in a place apart. If you are a fan, treat yourself to the best. It cost 
me 
about seven bucks twenty years ago. I doubt it's even that much these 
days. 

Bob 

On Monday, September 26, 2016, Maxwell Paley < [log in to unmask] > wrote: 

> Different strokes for different folks. The recorded sound has always been 
> spectacular on whatever system I’ve had to play it on. I first bought it 
> in the late 1960’s on Ampex 4-track open reel tape and the sheer dynamic 
> range and sense of depth and space were incredible. 
> 
> I never heard anything puny about Simionato as reproduced here and being 
> able to really hear how she and Tebaldi soar over the massed chorus and 
> orchestra, in a way that’s very different from recordings that put the 
> singers up close, is a great thrill. 
> 
> I think the orchestra is so important in this work that I’d have a hard 
> time recommending as first choice a recording that doesn’t have first rate 
> stereo sound. While the Rome Opera Orchestra is no match for the Vienna 
> Philharmonic, Solti does get much better playing and precision out of them 
> than most conductors. 
> 
> In overall approach, probably the closest thing to getting Toscanini with 
> (somewhat) better singers is the commercial Abbado set, although 
> Ricciarelli’s unsteadiness is a weak spot. To me, though, even worn and 
> frayed Obraztsova is better than Eva Gustavson. But the framework Abbado 
> provides reminds me a great deal of Toscanini. There’s also, from about a 
> decade earlier, the live Abbado (in good stereo) from the Scala tour in 
> Munich which has an Aida (Arroyo) whose voice is more suitable, if you can 
> put up with her constant lagging behind the beat. 
> 
> Max Paley 
> 
> > On Sep 25, 2016, at 12:39 PM, Les Mitnick < [log in to unmask] 
> <javascript:;>> wrote: 
> > 
> > I've long had mixed feelings about this particular Aida recording, for 
> what I think are valid reasons. The real bone of contention for me is the 
> manner in which it was recorded. I understand what John Culshaw was aiming 
> for, and of course it is natural that the orchestra be placed in front of 
> the singers. All well and good. However, when a voice like Simionato's 
> comes off sounding like Cherubino, something is definitely wrong. Amneris 
> was one of her greatest roles, and there are many live recordings which 
> substantiate that (not only that early Cetra recording either). Carlo 
> Berganzi produces a beautiful lyrical tone, but in no way does he sound 
> like Radames. His singing is beautiful and refined, however, and he 
> certainly fits well into Von Karajan's conception of the opera. I don't 
> find Tebaldi as much of a problem as I used to in this recording, though 
> she sounds like Mimi instead of Aida. That she experiences difficulties 
> with the top C in "O Patria Mia" is not surprising. Her pitch sags badly, 
> and she relinquishes the note pretty quickly. Her high B flats in the Tomb 
> Scene are hardly any better. Despite the number of times she performed it, 
> I wonder whether Tebaldi's voice was really intended for this role to begin 
> with, though her opulent singing in the middle register is always beautiful 
> and creamy. 
> > What I DO admire this recording tremendously for is the way Von 
> Karajan's orchestra plays the orchestral accompaniment. The strings and 
> brass are incredible. If I were left to choose only one recording of this 
> opera, it would have to be the Milanov/Bjoerling/Barbieri version on RCA, 
> (now newly remastered). And probably the Price/Vickers/Gorr under Solti. 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > ----- Original Message ----- 
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