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Subject: Re: Robert Tuggle tribute - Dorothy Kirsten and Mario Del Monaco film
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 3 Jan 2017 20:42:32 +0000
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Bob: 
Thanks for the Del Monaco 101 lesson. I had no idea that he began as a lyric tenor. It seems hard to imagine him as Ernesto, Rudolfo, Alfredo, and King Gustav. But I suppose that's only natural since for me he conjures up Radames, Pagliacci, Otello, Calaf, Don Alvaro, Chenier, etc. 
I was unaware of del Monaco's early career and I thank you for the enlightenment. I found his Pinkerton clip to be quite a surprise, and a rather pleasant one. But then again, that's why I populate this Board ----------- to learn from others who know more than I. 

Les 



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

From: "Bob Rideout" <[log in to unmask]> 
To: "Les Mitnick" <[log in to unmask]> 
Cc: "OPERA-L" <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2017 2:31:06 PM 
Subject: Re: Robert Tuggle tribute - Dorothy Kirsten and Mario Del Monaco film 

Les 

Del Monaco started his career as a lyric tenor, including Ernesto in 
Don Pasquale. , By 1941, he was regularly singing Pinkerton, 
Alfredo in Traviata, Rodolfo in Boheme, along with the slightly heavier 
Cavalleria and Cavaradossi. Pinkerton was a huge role in his first decade. 
Edgardo showed up in about 1942 along with the tenor role in Zaza. 
L'Amico Fritz came along in 43 along with Manon Lescaut, and not too 
much later, the Duke in Rigoletto and Ballo. 

In 45 he added Enzo, Calaf and Chenier, his first real spinto roles. and then 
slowly transitioned into the dramatic tenor that ultimately defined his career. 

Without doing an exact count, he sang Pinkerton, I'd guess, around 100 times, 
and kept it in his repertoire at least through 1947. He was still singing Rodolfo 
and Alfredo at least as late as 49 into 1950. 

His early years were very much the repertoire of a classic lyric tenor. 

Bob 

On Tuesday, January 3, 2017, Les Mitnick < [log in to unmask] > wrote: 


Mr. Van den Buick: 
Many thanks for sharing this. While I intend to return to it, I did take the time to watch the Kirsten/del Monaco Butterfly excerpt. I was blown away for several reasons. First of all, one doesn't associate del Monaco with Pinkerton. Nor do I think he would have ever undertaken the role during his big career because the role itself is rather small in terms of sheer singing time. Still, I'm assuming that this clip was from an early 1950s performance (have no idea of the venue). Of course we all know that del Monaco had a huge voice, and that he frequently came off singing too loudly. But not here. Besides being a damn good looking dude, he somehow (for me, anyway) is a great and effective Pinkerton. His voice certain is far weightier than we are used to hearing, but he uses it with great restraint, and has the grace and class of allowing Kirsten take the final top note by herself while he harmonizes on the lower alternative note. I much prefer this than the usual practice of having both tenor and soprano bawling out that top C (or is it a B?) together, which provides no contrast at all. Had del Monaco opted to take that note with Kirsten, he would surely have completely covered her and drowned her out. I only wish that Del Monaco had chosen to sing like this when he made his renowned and famous complete recordings with Renata Tebaldi (especially their joint recordings of Tosca and Manon Lescaut). 
Kirsten remains for me an enigma. She certainly had a lovely voice, was a beautiful woman, and was a valued member of the Met for ever so many years. Why she allowed herself to ossify so long in the Puccini operas (eventually to the exclusion of everything else) amazes me. She could have done roles like Desdemona, Alice Ford, Thais, Manon, Nedda, etc. in addition to roles she had sung when she first came to the Met (Margaurite), or even Violetta (not sure whether she ever sang Violetta at the Met). Was it Bing who was determined to keep her in the "second tier"? I believe that she also sang Blanche in Poulenc's "Dialogues" in San Francisco (and appeared there with regularity). I know that Albanese had a "lock" on certain roles at the Met that Kirsten could have done beautifully (am not even going to bring the titanic Tebaldi into this!). 
Kirsten's commercial recorded legacy is also very scant. Was it because she was an American at the time? I'm beginning to think that were she singing today, Kirsten would be appreciated far more than she is. She was a fine singer and I think opera kind of missed out by being deprived of her artistry. I think that Eleanor Steber was another soprano who suffered in this respect. I mean, of course, that Tebaldi couldn't be everywhere. I'm leaving Callas out of this because her stage repertoire was far removed from both Tebaldi, Kirsten, and Albanese. 
Many Thanks! 

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

From: "Rudi Van den Bulck" < [log in to unmask] > 
To: "OPERA-L" < [log in to unmask] > 
Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2017 10:27:04 AM 
Subject: Robert Tuggle tribute - Dorothy Kirsten and Mario Del Monaco film 

Our January issue is dedicated to the memory of ROBERT TUGGLE; the legendary 
director of the Metropolitan archives who died a year ago on 21st January. 
To his tribute we uploaded some rare radio b’casts featuring Robert Tuggle 
talking about Claudia Muzio and Lauritz Melchior. We also uploaded his 
conversations with Martin Sokol on Tuggle’s book ‘The golden age of opera’ 
which was published in 1983. They both talk about “Mishkin” singers and the 
Metropolitan. Here's a direct link : 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK9xJUJVdTbMpJx1J9V1jUQ 

Andrzej HIOLSKI was once the most famous post-war Polish baritone. He’s 
honoured with a 4 CD set by Polskie Nagrania which we reviewed. We also 
uploaded a rare sample of his voice; an excerpt from a multi-lingual 
(Italian-Hebrew) 1962 Aida performance from Tel Aviv. 
A rare video (1957!!) has been unearthed with the duet from Butterfly with 
Dorothy KIRSTEN and Mario DEL MONACO. watch it before it will be deleted by 
the copyright gestapo. 
For those interested please visit the homepage of www.operanostalgia.be 

RvdB 

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