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Tito Schipa - Schipa Edition 2: The Complete Victor Recordings 1924-1925, Vol. 2
Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901)
Rigoletto: È il sol dell’anima*
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848)
Lucia di Lammermoor: Verranno a te*; Don Pasquale: Tornami a dir che m’ami*
Richard BARTHELEMY (19th/20th Cent)
Pesca d’ammore
Tito SCHIPA (1888–1965)
Ave Maria
Vincenzo De CRESCENZO (1875-1964)
Ce steve ‘na vota
CAMPERO (?)
Madrigal español
Giuseppe VERDI

Rigoletto: La donna è mobile
Manuel De FALLA
(1876–1946)

Jota (Siete canciones populares españolas)
Eduardo Di CAPUA (1865-1917)
O sole mio
Franz LISZT (1811–1886)
Liebestraum (arr. Schipa)§
Tito SCHIPA A Cuba
Trad. La farfalletta (arr. Schipa)§
Anon. La girometta (arr. Cibelli)
Arturo BUZZI-PECCIA (1854–1943)
La niña querida; Mal d’amore
Friedrich von FLOTOW (1812-1883)
Martha: M’appari
Gaetano DONIZETTI
L’elisir d’amore: Una furtiva lagrima (take 2 and 3)
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924)
La bohème: Sono andati?#; Oh! Dio, Mimi!#
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Werther: Pourquoi me réveiller?
Leo DELIBES (1836-1891)
Lakmé: Fantasie aux divins mensonges
Tito Schipa (tenor)
Amelita Galli-Curci (soprano)*, Lucrezia Bori (soprano)#, Victor Orchestra/Rosario Bourdon (except items marked § with piano accompaniment by José Echániz)
Recorded 1924–1925
NAXOS 8.110333 [72:14]

 

It’s a renewed pleasure to encounter Schipa again in this second volume of Naxos’s series devoted to the luminously liquid and most elegant of tenors. The repertoire is perfect and this selection takes him from late acoustic to early electric Victors.

Every track has something to disclose. The Rigoletto shows us the perfectly calibrated rubati he employed and of which he was a master. We also have the ineffable Galli-Curci joining him, their tonal consonance and mutual feeling a permanent wonder. We can appreciate the elegant laser of her voice – not that laser implies hardness, just a crystalline purity – in the Lucia extract where Schipa is the very personification of honeyed warmth, stylistic probity and unforced lyricism. This is surely one of the greatest accounts of Verranno a te on disc. Both caress the legato of the Donizetti to perfection.

Curiously there are some very high take numbers for the Barthelemy and Schipa’s own Ave Maria – did he really take eleven takes for the former and five for the latter? – and these marked the change from acoustic to electric recordings. His athletic masculinity is evident in the De Crescenzo but when he turned to La donna è mobile the following day he did so with witty characterisation but no undue exaggeration – that was not Schipa’s way.

His animating rhythmic sense can be felt throughout the de Falla and the colouristic palette he imparted equally so in his own arrangement of that old standby, La farfalletta which has the fleck of Aria Antiche, and the fresh voiced warmth that would have animated Caccini and Handel. We can contrast Schipa’s liquid elegance in Donizetti’s Una furtive lagrima – both published takes are here – with an almost contemporaneous Gigli recording which is altogether more extrovert and bullish. Similarly we can contrast Lucrezia Bori’s warmth with Galli-Curci’s gem stone perfection. Both are wondrous but Bori makes a stupendous match for Schipa by virtue of her tonal depth – Schipa, being the artist he was, accommodates both perspectives with no loss of musical point and no lessening of dramatic or expressive potential.

The transfers are first class, lifelike and very present without being unduly spotlit. Collectors will recall them from Romophone where they first appeared a number of years ago. Needless to say a recommendation from me is utterly superfluous.

Jonathan Woolf

see also Review by Göran Forsling

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