Monday, 26 March 2012

Don Giovanni St Louis 1941

Pinza as Don Giovanni
American Radio often broadcast from regional opera houses such as San Francisco, Chicago and St Louis during the 1930s and 1940s. Not many operas were broadcast complete, and not many recordings survive. Ezio Pinza was the Met's reigning Don Giovanni during the 1930s and 1940s, featuring in many broadcasts, and so the management of the St Louis opera house had secured themselves a real star for their production of the opera. With him is the Italian tenor Tito Schipa, a light-voiced stylish singer who is approaching the end of this career here, but still very much worth hearing.

Mozart: Don Giovanni, Act II (part)

Anne Roselle: Donna Anna
Vivian della Chiesa: Donna Elvira
Margit Bokor: Zerlina
Tito Schipa: Don Ottavio
Ezio Pinza: Don Giovanni
Lorenzo Alvary: Leporello
Carlo Alexander: Masetto
St. Louis Opera, cond. Laszlo Halasz, April 16, 1941

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Forza RAI 1938

Gina Cigna
To commemorate the 125th anniversary of the birth of Verdi RAI in Rome broadcast La Forza del Destino throughout Europe. All that seems to survive from this earliest live broadcast of Forza is Act 2 Scene 2 recorded from a shortwave relay by NBC station WJZ New York.
The recording features the famous Italian soprano Gina Cigna (1900-2001) who was most noted for her interpretation of Verdi heroines. She made a number of important early studio operas including Turandot, and can be heard live on stage in Aida and Norma from the Met. So far as I know this is only live recording of her in Forza.

Verdi - La forza del destino - Act 2 Scene 2
RAI broadcast, 10 October 1938
c. Oliviero De Fabritiis
Orchestra & Chorus - EIAR Roma

Leonora di Vargas - Gina Cigna
Fra Melitone - Emilio Ghirardini
Padre Guardiano - Giacomo Vaghi