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Renata Tebaldi - Classic Recitals
Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901) Don Carlo: Tu che le vanità; Un ballo in maschera: Ecco l’orrido campo … Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa; Morrò ma prima in grazia; Giovanna d’Arco: Oh ben s’addice questo torbido cielo … Sempre all’alba ed alla sera; Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924) Turandot: In questa reggia; Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834 – 1886) La Gioconda: Suicidio!; Giacomo PUCCINI La rondine: Chi il bel sogno di Doretta; Pietro MASCAGNI (1863 – 1945) Cavalleria rusticana: Voi lo sapete; Francesco CILEA (1866 – 1950) L’Arlesiana: Esser madre è un inferno
Renata Tebaldi (soprano)
New Philharmonia Orchestra/Oliviero de Fabritiis
rec. Kingsway Hall, London, September 1964
DECCA 475 7166 [52:21]
This recital has to be counted as fairly late Tebaldi. She was just a couple of years past forty but she had been singing professionally for more than twenty years. Her voice had acquired more steel and heft at the sacrifice of some of the creamy tone that was her hallmark in the early part of her career. This is also mirrored in her choice of repertoire, moving towards heavier roles. Of course she had been singing Aida and Tosca for many years but here she sings several parts not associated with her. She recorded Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana in the late 1950s with Jussi Björling and she was to take part in complete recordings during the mid- and late- 1960s of Don Carlo, Un ballo in maschera and La Gioconda. Turandot was really not her part and as far as I am aware she never essayed it on stage although she twice recorded Liù.
 
Spaciously recorded in the Kingsway Hall her voice rings out magnificently over the orchestra. Oliviero de Fabritiis is rather heavy-footed and in some places one gets the feeling that Tebaldi is hampered by his unwillingness to move forward. The introduction to the Don Carlo aria is uncommonly slow and somnambulistic; one almost gives up the hope that he will ever reach the point where the singing starts. But eventually he does and one is at once enthralled by Tebaldi’s clarion-like top notes and sheer power. It is an almost overwhelming experience through which the voice remains absolutely steady. We do not hear singing of this calibre any more. She also demonstrates her ability to produce that creamy piano singing, although it seems that she feels more at home when singing at full tilt. Ecco l’orrido is also formidable but in Morrò, ma prima in grazia she lightens the voice admirably. She sounds more like her young self from the 1950s: beautifully inward, growing towards the climax with that trumpet tone followed by a lyrical scaling down. This is Tebaldi at her best.
 
There are two comparative rarities, the first being from Giovanna d’Arco. It’s impressive again although more animated conducting wouldn’t have come amiss. Both Turandots In questa reggia and Suicidio! from La Gioconda are given uncommonly inward readings with girlish timbre and a warmth that makes Turandot very human. Then again she also has the required power to make the climaxes really tell.
 
There is a tendency towards shrillness in the aria from La rondine but in Voi lo sapete she is back on form again. Tebaldi rounds off the recital with the other rarity, the aria from Cilea’s L’Arlesiana, an opera best known by the tenor aria È la solita storia, sung by most of the greats. The soprano aria was recorded by Claudia Muzio in the mid-1930s, a wonderful recording, but Tebaldi also sings it impressively. With its subtle impressionistic orchestral garb it is an atmospheric piece and gives the soprano good opportunities to expose both the lyrical cantilena and some impassioned outbreaks.
 
Selling at a very affordable price, packaged in a slimline cardboard box using the original LP cover – front and back –this reissue has to be cordially recommended.
 
Göran Forsling
 

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