Saturday, 16 July 2011

Tosca Metropolitan 1947

The half hour of extracts from Tosca posted here provide a very rare opportunity to hear the Greek soprano Elen Dosia (1915-2002). Dosia made a name for herself singing French opera in Europe, particularly Massenet, but her career at the Met cannot be described as a success. She sang two performances of Tosca (including this one), one performance of Manon (also in 1947), and two performances of Pelleas et Melisande in 1949. She retired in 1952, while still in her 30s, and her recorded legacy is small. She made a few commercial recordings in the 1930s and early 1940s, and there is a radio recording of Thais from Paris in 1944. These extracts from Tosca appear to be the only example of her live on stage and give us the two duets with Cavaradossi in Acts 1 and 3, but no Vissi D'arte in act 2.

Dosia as Tosca
Metropolitan Opera House
November 15, 1947 Matinee Broadcast


Tosca...................Elen Dosia [Debut]
Cavaradossi.............Jan Peerce
Scarpia.................Frank Valentino
Sacristan...............Melchiorre Luise
Spoletta................Alessio De Paolis
Angelotti...............Lorenzo Alvary
Sciarrone...............George Cehanovsky
Shepherd................Irene Jordan
Jailer..................Lawrence Davidson [Debut]

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Die Frau ohne Schatten San Francisco 1960

The American premiere of Strauss's Die Frau Ohne Schatten occured in San Francisco in 1959 with a fairly unknown cast. The following year the opera was performed again but this time with a high quality international cast, led by Leonie Rysanek who had already recorded the role for Decca, and who would 'own' the role of the Empress in Vienna and later the Met for the next twenty years.  Danish tenor, Ticho Parly, made a name for himself in taxing roles during the 1960s including Tristan and Siegfried, and this is the only recording I know of him in this role. The performance was not broadcast but extracts were recorded in house, amounting to about 35 minutes each from acts 1 and 2, and a nearly complete act 3.

Ticho Parly



San Francisco Opera
24 September 1960

Kaiser Ticho Parly
Kaiserin Leonie Rysanek
Barak Paul Schoeffler
Farberin Marianne Schech
Nurse Irene Dalis
Spirit Messenger Robert Anderson
One Eyed Brother Richard Wentworth
One Armed Brother Lorenzo Alvary
Hunchbacked Brother Raymond Manton
Falcon's voice Frances McCann
Apparition of a youth Gilbert Russell
Voice from above Virginia Starr
Guardian of the hearth Mary Costa
Voices of the unborn Mary Costa
France McCann
Janis Martin
Margot Blum
Katherine Hilgenberg
Servants Virginia Starr
Frances McCann
Margo Blum
Nightwatchmen Donald Drain
James Standard
Ned Romero

Conductor Leopold Ludwig

Friday, 1 July 2011

Der Rosenkavalier Covent Garden 1952

Here is most of Act 3 of Der Rosenkavalier performed in English at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1952. It features the great Australian soprano Sylvia Fisher who was an important part of the Covent Garden roster in the 1950s and 1960s but whose recorded legacy is rather thin. She sang many of the lighter Wagnerian soprano roles, including Elsa and Sieglinde, only occasionally appearing as Isolde and Brunnhilde. The Marshallin was a mainstay of her repertoire, and in this BBC broadcast we can hear why she was so famous in the role. The British Library retain a copy of the entire broadcast but I have not heard it.

Sylvia Fisher

Richard Strauss
Der Rosenkavalier
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, January 3, 1952

Marschallin - Sylvia Fisher
Octavian - Constance Shacklock
Sophie - Ruth Guldbaek
Baron Ochs - Howell Glynne
Valzacchi - Parry Jones
Annina - Jean Watson
Faninal - Ronald Lewis
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
c. Erich Kleiber