Pasquale Amato (1878 – 1942) - Opera arias
Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857 - 1919)
Pagliacci - Si può? Si può? (Prologue) [4:21]
Georges BIZET (1838 - 1875)
Carmen, Chanson du Toréador [3:35]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813 - 1901)
Otello - Credo in un Dio crudel [4:23]
Aida - Ciel mio padre !...Su dunque !* [8:03]
Un ballo in maschera - Eri tu [4:39]
La traviata - Di Provenza il mar, il suol † [4:21]
Il trovatore - Abuso forse quel poter...Mira, d'acerbe lagrime...Conte! N'è cessi?; Grazia!...Vrà ! Contende il giubilo* [7:31]
Rigoletto - Povero Rigoletto...Cortigiani, vil razza dannata! [8:23]
Charles GOUNOD (1818 - 1893)
Faust - A votre santé (Scène des épées)# [3:46]
Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791 - 1864)
Dinorah (Le pardon de Ploërmel) - Ah! mon remords te venge [4:35]
L'Africaine - Adamastor, roi des vagues profondes [3:41]
Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834 - 1886)
La Gioconda - Ah! Pescator, affonda l'esca [2:34]
Alberto FRANCHETTI (1860 - 1942)
Germania - Sono un risorto! Ferito, prigionier [4:09]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 - 1924)
Tosca - Tre sbirri (Te Deum) [4:16]
Carlos GOMES (1836 - 1896)
Il Guarany - Senza tetto, senza cuna [3:02]
Pasquale Amato (baritone)
* with Johanna Gadski (soprano); † with Frieda Hempel; # with Marcel Journet; Walter B.Rogers, conductor
NIMBUS PRIMA VOCE NI7897 [79:43]
Most baritones might expect to sing successfully well past their late forties and well into their fifties. Not so with Pasquale Amato who, owing to a combination of ill-health, vocal crises brought on by the intensity and frequency of his Metropolitan appearances and, in all probability, an element of over-singing, had already by the mid-1920s taken semi-retirement in Italy. He yielded his place on the Met roster to Titta Ruffo (1877-1953). Although he sang on and off until 1933 and is rumoured to have made some electrical recordings, to hear him at his best we need to go back to his glory years to hear this most glorious of high baritones through the acoustic recordings made just before the First World War.
The brilliance and penetration of his voice, with its flickering vibrato, easy top As and exceptional flexibility, made him a favourite with audiences and fellow-performers alike; he is the very incarnation of the ideal Italian baritone, having the "bite”, the legato and the power to do justice to Verdi's soaring phrases. Despite, by all accounts, being an exceptionally amiable soul, Amato could "do wicked" admirably; you have only to look at the cover photo of his brooding, glowering Scarpia to get an idea of his vocal and physical impact on stage. Then listen to track 15 to hear a master-class in focused malignity rivalled only by Gobbi and Stracciari. Similarly, Iago and Barnaba leap out of the speakers, fully formed incarnations of malice. Yet the intrinsic nobility in his voice also permitted him to portray morally outraged, wronged fathers, brothers or husbands ideally - hence the overwhelming effect of his assumptions of the classic Verdian roles such as Amonasro, Germont père, Di Luna and Rigoletto; they are all here and they are all superb. His Rigoletto is full of pathos - a quality intensified by Amato's matchless deployment of the messa di voce. Then again, his virility of tone lent itself to depicting the more heroic baritone roles such as the Toreador and Valentin. We are given an extra treat in the "Faust" excerpt in the suave and saturnine Méphistophélès of the great French bass Marcel Journet.
Although he could not quite match the resonance of Ruffo, Amato's cantabile capability and subtle control of dynamics mark him out as one of the greatest of baritones in an era replete with stellar voices in that vocal category. Every voice-fancier should hear him.
One of the greatest of baritones … Every voice-fancier should hear him.