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Subject: Re: Cetra CD reissues. Some more.
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 8 Jul 2017 15:14:20 -0700

text/plain (181 lines)

I'll need to check these out in their Warner versions. 

In the LP era it was difficult; none of these recordings would be on an audiophile list but this was made worse by Italian pressings that seemed made of sandpaper. Then Everest, a label once known for true audiophile quality, fell into bad hands and released miserable "rechanneled for stereo" versions. The only choice, if you could find them, was the German pressings made by DGG.

I sought those out for singers like Pagluighi and Carteri but, for me, the true glory was Taddei.  To me he represented the "reference" Italian and, particularly, Verdi baritone. Voice and artistry, sound and interpretation, Stimme und Kunst.

He was also one of the few Italian singers of that generation who could also sing Mozart with style and authority. I find his Leporello and Figaro for Giulini superb.

I love his Scarpia for Karajan and possibly even more on the quite beautifully recorded (mono) Philips 1957 Naples version (I bought it on the Columbia label) conducted by Serafin. Not a favorite set overall because Stella, in good form, still isn't on my Tosca hot list and the tenor is Poggi, but Taddei's Scarpia is magnificent.

With all great respect to Gobbi, Taddei is the sound I find myself always yearning for in a Scarpia. Fat, rich, both menacing and beautiful in the way he pours that liquid black gold into the contours and angles of Puccini's music.

This was the role in which I finally saw him live in 1978 in San Francisco (with Caballé - out to prove that she hadn't lost her Cs by honking them Nilsson style - and Pavarotti). One performance was particularly and, for me, unexpectedly exciting when Gwyneth Jones took over the title role on one of her unpredictable great nights and entered in Act 1 looking so lovely and winsome that one could see normally bored Pavarotti do a double take.

One question for the experts here: did Taddei never take on De Luna? I'd love to hear how he tackled some of the major challenges in "Il balen del suo sorriso" but have been able to find neither hide nor hair.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPhone

> On Jul 8, 2017, at 13:13, albert innaurato <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Oops, the YouTube is a Tebaldi performance, misidentified on Google. Sorry.
> AI
> On Sat, Jul 8, 2017 at 12:58 PM, albert innaurato <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 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
>> examples).
>> 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:
>> AI
>> 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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