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Subject: Re: Tosca/Jeritza
From: David Shengold <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David Shengold <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 19 Jun 2017 15:33:09 +0000

text/plain (76 lines)

One place one can hear Elda Vettori is as Flora in the famous/infamous Ponselle/Jagel/Tibbett TRAVIATA broadcast of 1935.
Corona ( née Lenore Cohron) was born in Dallas. I too have always wondered about these second-string but leading singers-- also the Ohio-born Dreda Aves, another occasional Santuzza and  TROVATORE Leonora.
Of all of them, Clara Jacbo had the most prestigious career abroad: Monte Carlo, Verona, La Scala, Amsterdam, Vienna ( a lone 1933 Turandot with Kiepura and Luise Helletsgruber), etc. No recordings, alas.

One of the  Prima Donnas in the Rasponi book speaks very highly of her ( a rare thing that is, too!) Was she really a New Englander, Donald?
Cheers - David

      From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
This is very interesting.  I know there were others singing Tosca but it was basically Jeritza's gig at the Met during that decade from 1921-32.  What I found most interesting - and I have seen this before while trolling the Met archives - is that a critic from a major New York newspaper was given this much space for a review of a singer who wasn't a major star at the time in her first assumption of a role at the Met.  Today, the NY Times wouldn't give that much space for one of its senior reviews to write about even a star singer doing something at the Met for the first time.  Indeed, this type of an event wouldn't even be reviewed.   Vettori is a singer I have long wondered about.  Evidently she was born in Italy in 1890 but raised and trained in the US and is buried in Henderson, NC.  The other two were Clara Jacobo who I believe was born in Massachusetts or Rhode Island,  had a fairly substantial career in Italy but was featured at the Met from 1928 to 1935.  She returned to Italy and ended her life as a nun.  Finally, Leonora Corona - a Texas born soprano who sang at the Met from 1927 to 1935.  All three were sort of back-ups for Ponselle.  Corona had over 100 performances.  I've never heard recordings by any of the three but all seem to have garnered good reviews, Vettori and Jacobo especially.  Anybody on the list have anything to add?
On Sun, Jun 18, 2017 at 5:43 PM, David Shengold <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

"Ponselle might have been tempted to do Tosca but in her years at the Met it was the
almost sole property of Maria Jeritza who was one of Puccini's favorites."
-Donals Levine

Vesna's quote from Ponselle reinforces this quote and of course both she and Don are right.
However, I have sometimes seen it stated that NO ONE else sang Tosca at the Met while Jeritza flourished there, and that is not true. Jeritza's 66 (!) Met Toscas took place from 12/1/21 to 2/6/32.
It *is* notable that Claudia Muzio's last of 10 Met Toscas was in February 1921, before Jeritza took center stage at the Met.
During that time the part was also ventured by Geraldine Farrar twice ( from among *67* overall Met Toscas), Florence Easton 4 times, Leonora Corona 3 times, Frances Peralta once and Elda Vettori once.
The Met Archives has a review of Vettori's lone Tosca which makes one wish to have seen and heard it-- and seems clearly to take a dig at Jeritza's Floria in the process.

Metropolitan Opera House
March 31, 1928

TOSCA {208}
Tosca...................Elda Vettori
Cavaradossi............. Frederick Jagel
Scarpia................. Antonio Scotti
Sacristan............... Pompilio Malatesta
Spoletta................Angelo Badà
Angelotti...............Louis D'Angelo
Sciarrone............... Vincenzo Reschiglian
Shepherd................ Dorothea Flexer
Jailer..................Millo Picco
Conductor............... Vincenzo Bellezza

Review signed M. W. in the New York Tribune

Elda Vettori Sings Tosca Appealingly At the Metropolitan

First Appearance Here in Role Merits Applause of the Capacity Audience

There was a new Tosca at the Metropolitan last evening, a Tosca who, in respect of heritage, appearance, and temperament, is probably the most authentic we have had on this stage in many long years. This was Miss Elda Vettori, a newcomer to the Metropolitan in 1926, but no novice on the operatic stage as anyone who witnessed her second act last evening might easily deduce.

Miss Vettori has won a certain amount of fame by last minute substitutions in many of the leading roles, and has been cast as Nedda, as Santuzza, as Gioconda, as Liu in "Turandot" and as Loretta in "Gianni Schicchi." In Brooklyn she has sung Adalgisa in "Norma." This was her first Tosca in New York, and was, without any doubt, the best thing that she has done.

This singer has the priceless ability to forget herself and her audience and to plunge headlong into the drama of a role. This is not always art, nor does it necessarily imply grace or ease. In the final estimate, it is usually the artificial which seems more natural on the opera stage. Thus Miss Vettori's quick gestures of nervousness and apprehension, her sudden starts, her stiff, too evident efforts at control were not always as impressive as the more calculated deportment of a more seasoned prima donna. They were not, however, without their value, and her sincerity and ardor were not long in making for her finding contact with the enormous audience which had come to hear her. Her tears were real and she showed genuine sobs to shake her to an extent which sometimes endangered the musical quality of her voice, but the "Vissi d'arte" was sung with real beauty and a touching simplicity. She was a very Latin murderess, however, and when she once made up her mind to the dispatching of Scarpia, she found it not without its happier aspect. There was little recoil of horror in her attitude, and probably she was right. 

With her in the cast were Mr. Jagel, singing an honest, manly Cavaradossi; Mr. Scotti and Mr. Bada, returning to one of his best impersonations, that unpleasant character, Spoletta. Mr. Bellezza conducted.


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