Friday, September 30, 2011

Antologia del Bel Canto

Opera can be treated as complex form of musical work created since the fall of Renaissance to contemporary music. Opera can also be seen as the great idea of narrative art which has the zenith of its popularity in romantic era, but considering new music and new theatre settings of older compositions, after 400 years of history opera is still alive and developing. But for real opera lover a scene or a borders of a performance are the universe containing greatest stars we can imagine. Beautiful voices of bel canto era, great appearances, acting possibilities are only starting point to achieve the devotion of opera lovers.
There are a lots of great recordings which can give some light on vocal artistry in first decades of 20th century. And one of best compilations is 5 LP album Antologia del Bel Canto presentata da Giuseppe Di Stefano. Outstanding artist, according to many the last great tenor in history of opera, Giuseppe di Stefano chose 50 artists in 51 arias and one duet. From legendary Metropolitan Opera primadonna Adelina Patti singing dramatic aria from La Sonnambula to Maria Callas performing with Giuseppe di Stefano Duet from 1st Act of Manon Lescaut. Only two artists are presented in two arias, Francesco Tamagno and Enrico Caruso. Francesco Tamagno one can hear in aria Niun mi tema from Otello – this interpretation he was instructed personally by Giuseppe Verdi.

Antologia del Bel Canto

Enrico Caruso, one of greatest singers in recorded history of music left many exceptional recordings. His compilations deserve the separate place and more attention. In Giuseppe di Stefano’s Anthology Caruso is presented in two fragments. Vesti la giubba from Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci and Jacques Halevy’s La Juive aria Rachel, quand du Seigneur la grâce tutélaire are crown recordings in Caruso’s collection. Phenomenal voice and great artistry are tangibly present in this recordings.
It is hard to mention all 50 singers, but the collection was set up as respectfully and exactly so this anthology can be perfect start to establish collection of records of greatest voices. The list of great singers immortalized on vinyl records is very long. The best has their own recitals, sometimes in song repertoire, sometimes with most popular operatic arias and spectacular scenes. Tradition of recording best arias is much longer than history of recording opera as complete performance or even highlights. Analog cylinders time of playing was 2-4 minutes and later 78 rpm records maximum time was only 3-5 minutes per side. Early recording technology made possible only short pieces. And still these noisy, narrow band recordings can amaze by power of artistic personality and abilities of great voices.

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