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Subject: Re: Selva opaca and a favorite Tebaldi recital
From: Bill Heron <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bill Heron <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 20 Mar 2017 12:09:10 -0400
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Les:

Thanks for cautioning us not to imagine that in 1956 there were not "PLENTY
of omissions and downward transpositions to accommodate her lack of vocal
flexibility in coloratura passages, and I'm also sure that the top Cs and C
sharps were "worked around".

The 1956 performances (April 11, 13, 15) were actually not in Florence, but
at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.  And... this was not the first production
of Guglielmo Tell in which she sang.  That first production was at the
Teatro Comunale Florence in 1952 (June 8, 10, 12, 14), conducted by Serafin
and featuring Kurt Baum, Nicola Rossi Lemeni, Mario Petri, Anna Lapillo,
Rina Corsi, Silvio Majonic, Marco Stefanoni, and Piero De Palma.

According to "L'Avvenire d'Italia" (del 10 giugno 1952 di Leonildo Bocci):
Al Maggio Rossiniano - Trionfo del "Guglielmo Tell" - "Ecco la Tebaldi
(Matilde", che modula la sua voce come un violinista de grande classe puo 
maneggiare l'arco, in una pulitezza di accenti commossi e caldi".

According to "Le Figaro (de 14 juin 1952 de Bernard Gavo): A Florence,
Reprise mouvementee de Guillaume Tell - "... sulla scena, le stelle della
penisola, sulle quelli spiccava la piu famose delle cantanti liriche
italiane dei nostri tempi: Renata Tebaldi" [sorry, but in Italian
translation only].

But Les, you point out "A Callas/Corelli pairing would have been close to
ideal in the middle 1950s".  Perhaps Serafin and the managements of Florence
and Naples didn't see it that way.  I guess since you were still a child
(albeit precocious) in the 1950s, you were not available to advise them. 
Callas never got her opportunity to present her Matilde on stage.

Enough of my spleen.  I only wish the trolls didn't have to rush out every
time the name Tebaldi is mentioned.  And before I forget, thank you Max
Paley for your kind and informative post, which unfortunately unleashed to
dogs...

Les said:

    Am well acquainted with these beautiful Tebaldi performances.  Yes, she
voice was positively gorgeous and luxurious, and certainly the quality of
the tone is unmatched.  I only wish she had at least a moderate ability to
negotiate florid music.  Her "Selve Opaca" from that period is gorgeous to
be sure, but I'd sure as hell like to know how she managed to undertake the
complete role in Naples in 1956 for three performances.  Her tenor was Mario
Filipesschi (!).   I'm sure that there were PLENTY of omissions and downward
transpositions to accommodate her lack of vocal flexibility in coloratura
passages, and I'm also sure that the top Cs and C sharps were "worked around".

I'm sure that Martinelli and Ponselle had to resort to some transpositions
as well, though Ponselle DID have some ability in florid music."Selve Opaca"
is the easiest part of the whole soprano role.  It's what comes later that
presents formidable challenges.  A Callas/Corelli pairing would have been
close to ideal in the middle 1950s.  This opera is a VERY rough sing for the
soprano and tenor.

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