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Subject: Re: Cetra CD reissues. Some more.
From: albert innaurato <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:albert innaurato <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 8 Jul 2017 12:58:19 -0500

text/plain (132 lines)

I am glad to see a mini celebration of Pagliughi and can second Rudi's
recommendation. She was one of a number of Italian singers who had great
charm in lighter music (Carosio, Pederzini and of course, Schipa are

I love Pagliughi's sound and manner. Her Gilda on Cetra is very touching
and most sweetly sung, even if now and then she uses some "workarounds" in
very difficult moments. Her first recording (with the fine sounding
baritone Piazza) is a little freer at the top and several recordings of
excerpts in the thirties are exciting (some are live). But the Cetra
Rigoletto has the wonderful Taddei in spectacular form (he surpasses
himself, although only by a little, in a phenomenal account of Carlo Quinto
in the Cetra Ernani) and another terrific supporting cast. The conductor,
Questa, is yet another underrated pro. He presided over the should be
famous Tosca in Vienna (released on Westminster) with Dall'Argine and
Scattolini as soprano and tenor -- wonderful voices, no techniques -- and
the great baritone (there's no one like him in the world today) -- Scipio
Colombo. And where else would you get Ludwig Weber and baby Walter Berry
mispronouncing Italian with such flair? That's one red-blooded performance.

The problem with the Cetra Rigoletto is Tagliavini who sings white and
decidedly flat high notes.

Pagliughi is also wonderful on that great Falstaff on Cetra, with a
phenomenal Taddei and a terrific supporting cast. That's another good
conductor, Mario Rossi. It is one of my favorites. I prefer it to most
others -- there is Toscanini at Salzburg, a different animal than the hyped
bandmaster of the forties and early fifties. Although one has to search for
the listenable selenophone version, his ability to draw a very distinctive
sonority from the orchestra in those days, and the freedom of his
conducting, spontaneous, spirited, not overdriven with a willingness to
give an excellent cast some leeway to make their points is wonderful.

Taddei gave an amazing demonstration of great opera singing, now vanished,
in Falstaff at the Met in 1985 when he was 69. I saw five and couldn't
believe he still had so much voice, infinite charm, was very funny and was
also effortlessly heartbreaking. More than 30 years before, all of those
qualities with a gorgeous, rounded, immensely resonant tone are there but
having seen him one misses his physical presence.

On Cetra, Pagliughi is irresistible, funny and very touching in The
Daughter of the Regiment (in Italian). Her singing is an infinite caress.
Valetti lowers the big scene to avoid the high C's but is so charming it
doesn't matter.

I once jokingly said to Mirella Freni that I was said to resemble Lina
Pagliughi. "You are much too tall," she answered, "but if you were much
shorter the two of you could roll around like barrels". I actually don't
think she liked either of us (although Lina was spoken about with great
warmth by the older singers I talked to). I hung around Mirella because I
adored her second husband (I also liked the first one, Leone Magiera, who
was and perhaps still is, hilarious, and certainly knew where all the
bodies were buried). Ghiaurov who had stunned me (and a great many others)
in the 60's and then gradually declined had sung at the Bolshoi on his
travels before becoming famous in the West.

He had known Reizen and Pirogov, one amazing bass and one very fine one,
who had loathed one another, and had such passionate fans they occasioned
riots and now and then warfare. He had stories for days (they were both
immense, eccentric characters with mean streaks according to him). He had
also known Koslovsky, Lemeshev, and Obukhova, the last, someone I adored. I
have to say they came to my apartment in NY and listened to records of
Russians and cried at Obukhova. Freni listened as entranced as I was to his
stories (she can't have been all that bad, although she would squeeze, my
upper arm, when I visited Modena in the summers, and say, "you'd make a
nice stew".)

RAI broadcast a Traviata with Pagliughi. I'm not sure it was ever made into
a record (I have it on tape). That was in 1952. I think it's one of the
great recordings of the role (the performance has the lovely sounding
Prandelli and the baritone Oralndini, Rossi conducts.) She sings with
tremendous intensity and temperant, managing the outbursts and lower lying
music easily, and she is heartbreaking. We are so used to the hard sell in
this opera, indeed, it's become the standard to which all aspire. But
Pagliughi projects the ongoing frailty and vulnerability, the youth, of
Violetta to wonderful effect and sings with great beauty. It is available
on YouTube:


On Sat, Jul 8, 2017 at 1:22 AM, Rudi Van den Bulck <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Stephen Charitan wrote about Pagliughi :
> "her timbre and demeanor are so grateful to these
> sometimes "overCallased" ears that even in decline she seems "Younger than
> Springtime..."  Like her mentor, Tetrazzini, or the great Galli-Curci, she
> is an unalloyed pleasure each time I turn her on.  Has any Nanetta, Amina,
> or Gilda ever cut so quickly to the heart with so little *apparent*
> effort?"
> Try her two "unpublished" films songs which are pure gems to my ears :
> La vite a una canzone :
> and : Quando ti guardo ( a Walter Jurman song)
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