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Subject: del monaco
From: Mike Leone <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Mike Leone <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 4 Jan 2017 01:06:39 +0000
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Hello all--
I recently got the 55-disc Decca set of operatic recitals.  A few days ago I listened to the del Monaco disc which contains his 1956 recital LP and as a bonus, excerpts from recitals recorded in 1952 and 1953.  Here are the comments I wrote to a friend about it, not knowing of course that del Monaco was about to be a topic on opera-l:
>I am currently listening in the car to the del Monaco recital from the Decca recitals brick.  It remains one of the truly great recital LPs.  A nice mixture of styles and a nice mixture of the ultra-familiar (Ballo--the aria that Bjoerling regularly omitted, including on the 1940 broadcast--Butterfly, Carmen,  Lucia), the quasi-familiar, at least at the time, although some of the arias are much better known than the operas they come from (Fedora, Le Cid, Ernani, L'Africaine), and the unfamiliar (Giulietta e Romeo by Zandonai, La Wally), and of course del Monaco is in top form.  I'm very much enjoying hearing it again.
Later I wrote:
>I finished listening to the del Monaco CD which was quite enjoyable; the bonus material is from recitals recorded in 1952 and 1953.  He is convincing even in material that one might think his voice was too heavy for, such as the Ballo and Luisa Miller arias.  His effort to lighten his voice for the end of the first verse of "Cielo e mar" has the unfortunate result that his release from that phrase is somewhat awkward; at least he knows how the music should go.  His two Tosca arias made me regret all the more his participation in the stereo recording with Tebaldi where he mostly engages in nasal braying that is quite unattractive.  It's almost certainly my least favorite of his recordings, without anything to redeem the ugly vocalism.  I wish I could have seen del Monaco in person; William Weibel [assistant conductor at the Met in the 1960s] once told me that during the 1950s, before he started working with the Met, he never missed a del Monaco performance.
I would add that the recording of "Addio fiorito asil" is one of the top highlights of that 1956 recital LP, a disc that is full of highlights of one kind or another.
Mike Leone
[log in to unmask] il Leone!
 

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