|Franco Corelli as Calaf. And still champ.|
But it is fun to know just where to find a specific performance and either remember hearing it originally or learning about voices and performance styles from the past.
Here are a few more:
Massenet: Thais, January 28, 1978: Beverly Sills, Sherrill Milnes, Raymond Gibbs, James Morris/Sir John Pritchard Beverly Sill's years sang at the Metropolitan were in the closing years of her career, with the sparkle and brilliance of her voice diminished. (Why it took so long is another story.) The tone is dry and brittle. Her first act is too obviously hoochy-kootchy, and lacks the sophistication needed to put over the character. Later on she can't fill out the dramatic writing for the randy courtesan who finds God through the help of the monk, Athanel. Sherrill Milnes is macho and vocally impressive. The rage of the character and his later grief and acceptance don't faze Milnes, who in 1978 was THE baritone in opera. The production was not liked much visually-I recall more than one cry of "Vegas!' for its faux oriental glitz. Thais is a good score of the second rank. There's obvious diminished chord and colorful 'wash' in the orchestra. It's more a question of musical show don't tell.Massenet was a master of the stage at the time of Sarah Bernhardt-her histrionics would be ludicrous today. Don't believe me?
|Carol Neblett's X-rated Thais in||Baltimore|
|Anna Moffo and the Thais that wasn't|
Unkind wags called these 1978 performances "Thighs", but say what you want about Sills, she sang this role 17 times in New York, having originated it in San Francisco, never, I'm sure to an unsold seat. Her publicist floated a rumor picked up by all the newscasts-that she would dance naked on the stage. (David Brinkley cringed reading this-go ask your parents.) The lady cheerfully told the press that she was "flattered anyone would think a fifty year old woman could be appearing naked, anywhere!" You gotta lover her. I saw this on tour in Boston
Menotti The Saint of Bleecker Street from the New York City Opera, with Catherine Malfitano, Enrico diGiuseppe, Diana Soviero, Sandra Walker, Irwin Densen/Cal Stewart Kellogg
This is the soundtrack to a TV broadcast from the New York City Opera in 1978. I'm just old enough to remember the pre-Vatican II church, and whether its Irish Boston or Little Italy in New York, the ritual of the church and the dogma were pervasive. It was lived. Menotti reflects this beautifully in this opera. I wish the video of this would be released commercially in toto. Bits are available on youtube.
I remember watching the live telecast. The cast represented the best of American opera: Malfitano and the underrated Di Giuseppe-and the wonderful Diana Soivero. And it represents the lamented New York City Opera at its best-as a company.
Verdi: La forza del Destino, Met January 23, 193. (forty-three-my keyboard won't type the number!) Stella Roman, Frederick Jagel, Lawrence Tibbett, Ezio Pinza/Bruno Walter
I want to pay tribute to Lawrence Tibbett by showing him in full voice, in 1935:
|Frederica von Stade, THE Cherubino of my youth|
|Elisabeth Soderstrom. Wonderful even when NOT singing.|
Puccini: Turandot April 27, 197four. Elinor Ross, Franco Corelli, Edda Moser, John Macurdy/Gabor Otvos. Met on tour in Boston.
|Elinor Ross, today...a goddess|