Well my friends, on March 20th,1890, the dude who makes tenors,must
have been in a rather good frame of mind,because on that day, the great
Lauritz melchior and the great Beniamino Gigli were born. I imagine that
Gigli must have cried quite loudly and often,and Melchior probably broke
the doctors' eardrums (and held one of his yells for about 22 seconds).
So today we celebrate the memory of these incredibly unique tenor
legends;I have always felt that no other singer in no other fach was ever
as totally unique as melchior.You could almost create a separate fach for
him and him alone,much as I love the pure vocal qualities of a Voelker or a
James King...but Melchior was just a stentorian "machine' who was able to
pour out those tones for so many years,even after Bing decided to let him
go when he could stil sing magnificently (in 1950 Lohengrin).
I saw Gigli at carnegie in 1955, and I do recall that no recording
captured that simply gorgeous and limpid pianissimo,and he sang a long
program,bent over and still the voice rang out.I now know he was ill at the
time,and passed away only two years later, but the man was remarkable for
his staying power,and if you listen to the late Gigli concerts and
operas,mostly from South America,you are totally amazed at the power he
retained into his 60's. I always laugh at the fact that some "great" tenors
complain about the great difficulty of "Celeste Aida," which Gigli inserts
as an ENCORE in the middle of the 1953 Berlin recital..Ho Hum!!!!
Some may object to some of the musical exaggerations of these two
men,but then, some prefer Aksel Shiotz to Franco Corelli.
So today I say "Bravo,bravissimo" to these two great singers,and maybe
today we will be lucky enough to have two more such immortals born...we
will find this out in about 30 years,(but don't hold your breath!)
With deep appreciation Charlie