Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Anna Moffo In Great Duets From Opera

   Anna Moffo was one of the greatest opera stars in the era of stereo hi fi vinyl records. Besides few early recordings for EMI like Coloratura Arias she recorded with Colin Davis in 1959, she was recording for RCA. Exclusive contract with RCA, for many artists would be fulfilling of their dreams, but Anna Moffo was already primadonna of best opera houses all over the world. And this cooperation of star and label of the stars* resulted in a series of great recordings in sixties. She was recorded with Italian orchestras conducted by Tullio Serafin, Fernando Previtali, Erich Leinsdorf, Franco Ferrara, Georg Solti, René Leibowitz, Leopold Stokowski, Fausto Cleva, Renato Fasano, Georges Prêtre and Francesco Molinari-Pradelli. The list of great singers she worked with is much longer. One can judge it from double LP selection published by RCA in 1975 as Anna Moffo in Great Duets from Opera.
   All recordings were taken from RCA recordings. Program starts with 1957 recording of Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly (scene from 1st Act) with Cesare Valletti and Rome Opera Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Erich Leinsdorf. The same orchestra and conductor took part in of Puccini’s La bohème 1961 recording. This time her partner in Act 1 was phenomenal Richard Tucker in role of Rodolfo. In scene from 3rd Act Moffo and Tucker are supported by soprano Mary Costa (Musetta) and baritone Robert Merrill (Marcello). B-Side of first record brings fragments of three operas: Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Jules Massenet’s Manon recorded with The RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra and Chorus under direction of René Leibowitz, and Massenet’s Thais recorded with new Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Julius Rudel. In Manon Lescaut Anna Moffo was dialoguing with Flaviano Labo, in Manon she was singing with Giuseppe di Stefano and in Thais with Gabriel Bacquier.

Anna Moffo In Great Duets From Opera (1975)

   Third side comprises two scenes from Lucia di Lammermoor. Anna Moffo partners are tenor Carlo Bergonzi (Elgardo) in scene from Act 1, and baritone Mario Sereni (Enrico) in scene from Act 2 of Gaetano Donizetti’s masterpiece. The RCA Italiana Opera Chorus and Orchestra were conducted by Georges Prêtre. These recordings were made in 1965. Last side comprises fragments of two operas by Giuseppe Verdi, La Traviata in 1960 recording with Rome Opera Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Fernando Previtali, and 1963 recording of Rigoletto with The RCA Italiana Opera Chorus and Orchestra under the baton of Georg Solti. In La Traviata part of her partner Alfredo was sung Richard Tucker and in Rigoletto Robert Merill (Rigoletto), Alfredo Krauss (Duke), Mario Rinaudo (Ceprano) and Piero di Palma (Borsa).
   This choice of these fragments is clear. Although she was perfect in solo arias, the highest power of her opera performances is in dramatic scenes. She is not only beautiful voice singing, but also a responsive interpreter who can establish synergic relation on the scene. She is playing the stage role in depending of partner’s reactions. This album shows best sides of Anna Moffo. She was great bel canto singer, but even better dramatic performer. Perfect voice and appearance were the reason she was called La Bellissima, and by many she is still considered as most beautiful singer ever. In conclusion it’s worth to notice four stars is maximum for compilation album. Not only this album, also complete works she recorded are operatic must have.

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