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Subject: Re: Clara Petrella (was Mario Del Monaco as Des Grieux)
From: kurt youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:kurt youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 20 Nov 2016 17:26:25 -0600

text/plain (36 lines)

Bob is correct about di Stefano and roles like Canio that contributed to his early “toasting.” I have the recording with Petrella and it’s always amazing to hear. But you can almost hear his voice shredding into pieces.

Not only that, I got to see him live in the role here in Chicago in ’58 and found that performance equally thrilling but, at the same time, obviously devastating to his instrument. The entire performance was exceptional but I’ll especially never forget his declamation of the line: “Va, non merti il mio duol, o meretrice abietta…” It was one of the most stunning moments of opera I’ve ever experienced. 

Interesting how single moments can stay with you forever. For example, di Stefano again, in the last act of Turandot which he did here in both ’58 & ’59 (both with Nilsson and once each with Leontyne Price and Moffo).  Once again his handling of a single line stands out: “Sconterete le sue lagrime, sconterete i suoi tormenti!” Stunning! (Sorry for any incorrect Italian but I don’t have the libretto handy). I have recordings of his Calaf from Vienna and Scala at about the same time and he approached the line with less intensity in those instances.

Back to Pagliacci, without question the greatest Canio I’ve ever seen was del Monaco! It was here in Chicago in ’57 and he sang magnificently with an animal intensity that only he delivered to that degree.

Kurt Youngmann

> On Nov 20, 2016, at 3:46 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Pagliacci from Scala 55 with Di Stefano. It will tell you exactly why
> Di Stefano was toast before 1960, but there is simply no final scene,
> studio,or live, that comes close in sheer excitement. Many say he
> shouldn't have, and maybe that's true, but I would be much the poorer
> for having not heard it. It expanded my idea of that which is possible.

Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

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