One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger


AVAILABILITY Preiser Records


Mario Filippeschi
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835)
Norma - Meco all´altar di Venere (with Paolo Caroli) [5:44]
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Gugliemo Tell - Ah Matilde, io t´amo (with Giuseppe Taddei) [9:16]; Troncar suoi di (with Giuseppe Taddei and Giorgio Tozzi) [3:25]; O muto asil del pianto [8:12]
Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864)
Gli Ugonotti - Bianca al par [5:29]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Il Trovatore - Ah si ben mio coll´essere [3:24]; Di quella pira [2:08]
La forza del destino - La vita e inferno all´infelice [6:14]
Aida - Celeste Aida [4:22]; Pur ti riveggo mia dolce Aida (with Caterina Mancini, Giulio Neri, Giulietta Simionato, Rolando Panerai) [12:21]; Gia i sacerdoti adunansi [6:51]
Otello - Ora per sempre [2:17]
Umberto GIORDANO (1867-1948)
Andrea Chenier - Un di all´azzurro spazio [4:37]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
La fanciulla del west - Ch´ella mi creda [2:02]
Turandot - Nessun dorma [3:05]
Mario Filippeschi (tenor)
Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala, Milan/Tullio Serafin
Orchestra and Chorus of Radio Italiana, Turin/Mario Rossi
Orchestra of Radio Italiano, Turin/Argeo Quadri
Orchestra of Radio Italiano, Rome/Vittorio Gui
Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano/Argeo Quadri
rec. 1951-56
PREISER 89671 [79:37]

Preiser presents an unusually long essay on Mario Filippeschi written by Christian Springer. It takes us from his birth near Pisa in 1907 to his death in Florence seventy-two years later. He began singing lessons at twenty-three and continued studies for a further seven years, only making a small town debut in 1937. Success was fortunately not long in arriving though somewhat serendipitous. Word of mouth led to increasingly important engagements and by the early to mid-1940s he was singing in Rome and on tour. La Scala beckoned after the War’s end and record companies paid him increasing attention – many will know him best from his Norma with Callas. Nevertheless he was not seduced by the prospect of radically upgrading his repertoire to meet international opportunities; he deliberately kept it small but retained works that he knew suited the voice. He retired in 1961, still only in his mid-fifties, and ran an antiques shop. Preiser reprints a most touching letter written by the eighty-six year old Lauri Volpi to Filippeschi a year before the tenor’s death on Christmas Day 1979.
A most handsome chap with plainly a fine constitution, Filippeschi made numerous recordings. Preiser has collated an interesting selection. There’s an extract from the famous Columbia Norma, some Cetras, an Italian HMV and a number of important Italian radio performances. It makes for a well-balanced programme, one that ranges sufficiently far into the byways of his repertoire to allow one to gauge his many strengths and his weaknesses as well.
He is, to be ruthless, somewhat hectoring and unrelieved in the extract from Norma but far more impressive in Rossini. Here the voice is powerful and penetrating. He’s joined by Taddei and Tozzi and they make for a well integrated and exciting trio. In O muto asil del pianto Filippeschi unleashes that famed “voz de oro” though it must be conceded that characterisation is sometimes sketchy. The Italian radio broadcast recordings are all in fine sound for the time, 1956. His Trovatore strains towards melodrama with its half-caught sobs but his Puccini and Giordano are better and most worthy examples of his art. The clarion part of the voice is put to good use in Nessun dorma though its slightly sickly orchestral forces reduce the impact. In any case the voice is core-centred and powerful but not quite thrilling enough. His was not always a beautiful voice but it was powerful, well supported and well projected.
Prepared with care and presented with full biographical information Filippeschi emerges as an estimable, if occasionally limited, singer. The limitations generally centre on powers of character persuasion, not usually matters of vocal production. His colleagues and admirers held him in the highest respect. As Lauri Volpi wrote to him in 1978 – “Today you would be the King of Tenors.”
Jonathan Woolf


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.