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Giulio Neri (1909-1958)
Giacomo ROSSINI (1792 - 1868)

Der Barbier von Sevilla (Il Barbiere di Siviglia): La calunnia
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)

Rigoletto: Quel vecchio maledivami (Der alte Mann verfluchte mich) with Giuseppe Taddei
Simone Boccanegra: A te l´estremo addio (Leb wohl auf ewig, Palast der Väter)
Don Carlos (Don Carlo): Son io dianzi al re with Nicola Rossi Lemeni
Aida: Mortal, diletto ai Numi with Mario Filippeschi
Aida: Vieni d´Iside al tempio with Giulietta Simionato
Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886)

La Gioconda: Si, morir ella de´
La Gioconda: Bella così, Madonna with Fedora Barbieri
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)

La Bohème: Vecchia zimarra (Höre, du alter Mantel)
Arrigo BOITO (1842-1918)

Mefistofele: Ave, Signor degli angeli
Mefistofele: Olà, chi urla? With Gianni Poggi
Mefistofele: Son lo spirito che nega (Ich, der Geist, der stets verneinet) With Gianni Poggi
Mefistofele: Se tu mi doni unora di riposo With Gianni Poggi
Mefistofele: La notte del Sabba With Gianni Poggi
Mefistofele: Ecco il mondo With Gianni Poggi
Giulio Neri (bass) with
Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della Radio Italiana/Arturo Basile, Angelo Questa and Antonio Votto
Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma della Radio Italiana/Fernando Previtali, Vittorio Gui
Orchestra and Chorus of the Opera di Milano/Franco Capuana
Recorded 1951-53
PREISER 89580 [78.26]



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Neri had a shockingly truncated recording career. Born in 1909 he made his debut in Rome in 1935 but his career really took off after the War when he visited La Scala and Covent Garden and theatres further afield. His first discs were made in 1951 but he died a scant seven years later, felled by a heart attack as he was leaving for a visit to London. He did record Aida under Vittorio Gui and Mefistofele but his major contribution was probably La Gioconda with Callas under Antonino Votto in 1952.

Known mainly as a Verdian he did also sing Wagner but Preiser’s compilation disc is exclusively an Italian one recorded by Cetra and Urania between 1951 and 1953. The sides show his many gifts: a big, burnished voice, sonorous and dramatic. His Rossini is certainly leonine but perhaps could do with a dose of wit and a better sense of projection. His Don Carlo however is effulgent and strong and there are constant reminders of his stature, notwithstanding the depth of competition he faced at the time - Christoff, Siepi and Pasero amongst a number of leading basses. For all that there are hints here as to why, despite his early death, he never climbed higher in the international tree. He can be rather one dimensional on disc (La Gioconda never really takes off and sounds rather static) and one wonders, as in the extracts from Mefistofele, whether that tangible electricity he clearly brought to his stage roles ever fully communicated on disc.

This selection certainly makes a good case for his place in the hierarchy of mid-century Italian basses. The Cetras sound full bodied and the transfers are unobtrusively good.

Jonathan Woolf



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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