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Victoria de los Angeles
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Le nozze di Figaro – Porgi amor
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)

Tannhäuser – Dich, teure Halle +
Lohengrin – Einsam in trüben Tagen +
Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893)

Faust – Il était un roi de Thulé
Faust – O Dieu! Que de bijoux
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)

Manon – Adieu notre petite table
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)

La vida breve – Vivan los que rien *
La vida breve – Alli està riyendo *
Siete canciónes populares españolas
Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)

Goyescas – La maja y el ruiseñor +
Joaquin TURINA (1882-1949)

Poema en forma de canciónes – No.3 Cantares
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

Der Nussbaum
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Von ewiger Liebe
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)

E se un giorno tornasse #
Victoria de los Angeles (soprano)
Orchestral accompaniment
Philharmonia Orchestra/Walter Süsskind
Philharmonia Orchestra/Anatole Fistoulari +
Philharmonia Orchestra/Stanford Robinson*
Piano Accompaniment
Gerald Moore (piano)
Ivor Newton (piano) #
Recorded 1949-51
PREISER 89598 [77.31]


These are, I believe, de los Angeles’ first recordings. She’d made her (strictly amateur) debut at seventeen, in 1940, singing Mimi in Barcelona though her debut proper came four years later. She won the Geneva Singing Competition three years later and by 1948 she was singing at the Wigmore Hall – and the next few years saw her appearances in Paris and New York and the rest is de los Angeles history.

She was no stranger to Wagner this early in her career, a repertorial choice that many will perhaps not have appreciated. She’d sung Elisabeth at the Teatro Liceo in her home city of Barcelona in 1948 so it was intelligent programming to issue a 78 of a souvenir of her performance backed by her Lohengrin. Her Elizabeth, in particular, is in ravishingly clear and youthful voice; there’s no sense of technical hurdle, no forcing of the voicing behind its natural (radiant) limits. Though she was not known as a Wagnerian she was certainly a Manon and the small extract here prefigures her stellar assumption of the role with Pierre Monteux. De Falla sees great beauty of tone, concentration of expression and precision and in the case of Alli està riyendo a sense of fiery engagement. One of the highlights in the whole set is a song I’d never heard her sing – Granados’s La maja y el ruiseñor with the sensitive support of the Philharmonia and the underrated Anatole Fistoulari.

At this stage in her career her Siete canciónes populares españolas was slower and more aristocratic, for want of a better word, than it was to become (see the live de Larrocha accompanied performance which is considerably more taut and driving). But there is still plenty of drive and tang in this performance – vehement and full of expression. Gerald Moore shines in Asturiana and, Jota is buoyant. Of her German Romantics her Schumann – a bit bland if lovely singing – must cede to her Brahms, which is genuinely engaging. And so to the last, a brace of Respighi. They date from 1949 and make an irresistible ending to this disc – achingly romantic and spine tinglingly beautiful.
Transfers are very quiet and immediate; notes are good as well. A winner.

Jonathan Woolf

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