Historical Reissue Classical CDs, LPs, 78s,
Related Books & Ephemera
Letter from Vienna . . .
Finally, merely days after Zinka Milanov’s birthday, we just received from one of our closest collector-friends this report of a NORMA from Vienna:
"Regret not one second that you were not here. Bartoli may have intentions about returning to the original 1831 Edition, but I would like to know how she explains setting the opera in Nazi occupied France, with Norma as a school teacher Anna Magnani, Pollione as a Gestapo agent and the Druids as resistance fighters. Imagine the final scene, Norma running around in a black dress, just like Magnani in OPEN CITY, now tied to a chair with Pollione, while the Druids pile up the furniture around them, and she gets her hair cut like collaborators were in wartime France, then the Druids leave and a massive fire breaks out all round, just like GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG. By the time they got to bows, the stage was so smokey you could barely see anyone.
As for singing, how would you like a Pollione à la Juan Diego Flórez, only with louder higher notes, plus an Adalgisa who could more or less sing, but was outroared by Norma, who was singing the lower voice in their duets; that's not what Bellini wrote, plus - are you ready for this one: an orchestra of pre-baroque instruments! Violins with gut strings, no vibrato - scrape, squawk. As for her singing, just all wrong. She gets the high notes by yelling, even if she manages a somewhat soft attack. She has less vibrato than Cigna, but sounds far far more disconnected. I do not quite know what is wrong with her legato but she sort of picks at the notes, yet is on one breath. For the big aria 'Teneri figli' - no kids. For 'in mio man', she stalked around him with a gun in one hand and a knife in the other.
She has publications in all the papers around - 9 euros for the bloody program, explaining her concepts, etc. I expect the recording will be a big seller as no one has any taste any more or knows how it should be done except for a few who bother to study the style. Dear Zinka is resting easy tonight. A belted out 'son io!' does nothing to erase memories of Zinka, but rather revives them. Also Bartoli sings the lower octave on the high notes. Did I tell you that the Adalgisa and Pollione scene in NORMA ended with Pollione stripping, Adalgisa on her back with her legs around Pollione's waist . . . just all wrong. She is a young girl, she has no experience, she should be led, not lead herself.
Is nothing safe from Eurotrash?
Your disgusted (and much saddened) friend, Helen”
Yves St Laurent never takes a day off!!!
Just as he is about to complete his Volume II of Ninon Vallin, here are his newest issues: Backhaus, Lipatti & Vol. XVII of Rodzinski
ARTUR RODZINSKI, Vol. XVII, Cond. NYPO: Symphony #5 in B-flat (Prokofiev); w.Arthur Rubinstein: Piano Concerto #1 in b-flat (Tschaikowsky). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-161, Broadcast Performance, 24 March, 1946, (from Rodzinski collection, albeit with technical flaws). Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1154) DINU LIPATTI, Vol.II: Chopin Recital (incl. Sonata #3 in b); w.Galliera Cond.Philharmonia Orch: Piano Concerto in a (Grieg). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-162, recorded 1947 & 1948. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (P1014) WILHELM BACKHAUS, Vol.IV: Beethoven Recital #1. (Canada) 2–St Laurent Studio YSL 33-157, recorded 1951-53 Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (P1015) WILHELM BACKHAUS, Vol.V: Beethoven Recital #2. (Canada) 2–St Laurent Studio YSL 33-158, recorded 1950-53, Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (P1016) WILHELM BACKHAUS, Vol.VI: Beethoven Recital #3. (Canada) 2–St Laurent Studio YSL 33-159, recorded 1950-54, Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (P1017) WILHELM BACKHAUS, Vol.VII: Beethoven Recital #4. (Canada) 2–St Laurent Studio YSL 33-160, recorded 1950-54, Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (P1018)
“…it seems for such an important release - possibly the first complete Beethoven sonata cycle of what you might call the ‘hi-fi’ age - Backhaus' only truly complete [Beethoven] cycle is one of them. The recordings were all made in Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland. They began in July 1950 (Nos. 12, 21, 30), with the first six recordings being issued both on 78s and LPs, before dropping the 78rpm releases for the third batch of recordings, made in April and May 1952. And what a marathon that proved to be - Backhaus set down 11 of the sonatas during those sessions….We know for sure that the majority, quite possibly all, were produced by Victor Olof, with either Arthur Haddy or Gil Went engineering, where this was noted. Went was at the controls for the final sessions, the most gruelling of the lot, in November 1953, when fourteen of the thirty-two were recorded, yielding some five LPs which were released during the course of 1954 . Perhaps by this stage Decca had got wind of Wilhelm Kempff's DG series and wanted to get to the end first....So what do we make of the earlier sonata recordings. Well I'm going to reserve comment on performances because (a) I've not heard them all, and (b) there are far better experts than myself who will no doubt pass judgment in due course. Contemporary reviewers' reactions in many way mirror those for the Schnabel series twenty years earlier - a mixture of rapturous approval and some quite pointed criticism. Whether the years since their recording have changed opinions generally or specifically remains to be seen. Backhaus certainly had heritage and was already a seasoned ‘veteran’ performer (to quote from a Gramophone reviewer) by the time he began the first cycle, at the age of 64.”
- Andrew Rose, 3 Feb., 2012
Still available from recent weeks past . . . and be alerted: St Laurent’s Vol. II of Vallin is now completed, due next week!NINON VALLIN, Vol. I, incl. by Ackermans, Waldteufel, Benatzky, Lauweryns, Broqua, Beydts, de Fontenailles, Chaminade, Holmès, Bemberg, Chabrier, Hahn, Chopin, Yradier & Freire; w. Marguerite Long: Les Berceaux (Fauré). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-156, recorded 1932-34 , Pathé, French Odéon Columbia. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. Great transfers from pristine 78rpm copies, the first in a YSL series of some of Vallin’s rarest records! (V2148) ANDREE ESPOSITO: Arias from Benvenuto Cellini, Louise, Carmen, Manon, Faust, Phryne & Les Pecheurs de Perles - recorded 1958-72; w. Robert Massard; Albert Wolff Cond.: Thais - Excerpts, recorded 27 Aug., 1959. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 33-152. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. Along with Mady Mesple, Esposito was one of the last exponents of exquisite French style and taste! (V2145) ARTHUR ENDREZE: The Complete Arthur Endrèze, incl. unpublished broadcast performances, plus an interview. 5-Marston 55001. Specially priced - 5-CDs for the price of 3. (V2162)
“On records, Endrèze projects a romanticism that supports his image. His voice is velvety and sensual. He articulates each phrase with a feeling for the particular color that helps illuminate its meaning. As a singing actor, Arthur Endrèze was the heir to Jean de Reszké's legendary magic; he also deserves recognition as one of the greatest American baritones.”
- Harold Bruder
VANNI-MARCOUX: The Complete Vanni-Marcoux, recorded 1924-55 (including the 1955 recital of Delmet songs accompanied by Irène Aïtoff). 6-Marston 56001. Transfers by Ward Marston. Booklet notes by Vincent Giroud. Specially priced - 6-CDs for the price of 4. (V1807)
“Vanni-Marcoux was one of the giants of what can fairly be described as the golden age of French singing. He enjoyed a huge career in opera and concerts, from 1894 when he made his debut in Turin, to 1938…. Almost the entire recorded oeuvre of Vanni-Marcoux dates from the period 1924-34. Bizarrely, the exception was an HMV LP entirely devoted to the songs of Paul Delmet. It was recorded in 1955, some 17 years after he ceased to perform in opera and concert. …. We mostly listen to recordings for pleasure, but we should always remember that they are a key part of our cultural legacy. Complete issues such as the Vanni-Marcoux keep that legacy alive – Ward Marston and all those who made this one possible deserve our commendation and support.”
- Stanley Henig, CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011
Wagner at the Met, Legendary Performances, 1936-54, from the Metropolitan Opera w.Bodanzky, Szell, Reiner, Stiedry & Leinsdorf Cond. Marjorie Lawrence, de los Angeles, Flagstad, Varnay, Branzell, Thorborg, Harshaw, Melchior, Svanholm, Hopf, Schorr, Hotter, Svéd, List, Greindl, Schöffler, Hines, George London, Sven Nilsson, etc. (E.U.) 25-Sony 88765 42717, Boxed Set Edition w.128pp. book. A truly spectacular boxed set of Live Performances which cannot be missed by any true Wagnerite. A glorious way to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Wagner’s birth! (OP2749)
“Wagner at The Met is the first authorized release of Richard Wagner’s operatic masterpieces, including the complete RING CYCLE, captured live in historic broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera. The recordings have been newly restored from the original sources and display the grandeur of these legendary, once-in-a-lifetime performances. The casts include such celebrated Wagnerians as Kirsten Flagstad, Lauritz Melchior and Hans Hotter, led by conductors including Artur Bodanzky, Fritz Reiner, George Szell, Fritz Stiedry and Erich Leinsdorf. The Boxed Set includes a 128-page book with synopses and essays on each opera.”
DAS RHEINGOLD, Live Performance, 22 May, 1962, Köln, w.Sawallisch Cond. Gürzenich Orch. Ensemble; George London, Zoltán Kelemen. Erwin Wolhfahrt, Gerd Nienstedt, Elisabeth Schärtel, Ingeborg Kjellgren, etc. (E.U.) 2-Archipel 0554. (OP2687) TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, Live Performance, 1962, w.Bohm Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Birgit Nilsson, Wolfgang Windgassen, Kerstin Meyer, Josef Greindl, Eberhard Waechter, etc. (E.U.) 3-Myto 00328. (OP2681) DAS RHEINGOLD, Live Performance, 28 July, 1962, w.Kempe Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Otto Wiener, Gerhard Stolze, Otakar Kraus, Marga Hoffgen, Grace Hoffman, etc. (E.U.) 2-Myto 00323. (OP2677) DIE WALKÜRE, Live Performance, 29 July, 1962, w.Kempe Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Astrid Varnay, Jutta Meyfarth, Fritz Uhl, Otto Wiener, Gerhard Stolze, Gottlob Frick, Grace Hoffman, etc. (E.U.) 3-Myto 00324. (OP2678) SIEGFRIED, Live Performance, 30 July, 1962, w.Kempe Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Birgit Nilsson, Hans Hopf, Otto Wiener, Otakar Kraus, Erich Klaus, Marga Hoffgen, etc. (E.U.) 3-Myto 00325. (OP2679) GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, Live Performance, 1 Aug., 1962, w.Kempe Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Birgit Nilsson, Hans Hopf, Gottlob Frick, Jutta Meyfarth, Margarete Bence, Grace Hoffman, Gundula Janowitz, etc. (E.U.) 4-Myto 00326. (OP2680)
Our remaining OPERA RARA elaborate boxed sets at 30% discount
, continue to be on ‘sale’ - all from the private collection of a major discriminating collector. These are single available copies, many unplayed – a few having been played only once.
In a world in which recording companies find it increasingly difficult to survive, let alone expand their activities, the achievement of OPERA RARA is a remarkable success story. The secret of this success is that the company has always been a highly specialised venture founded on the conviction that there is an inexhaustible mine of fascinating, yet undeservedly forgotten, 19th-century Italian and French operatic music.
Once again . . .
Welcome to our new bookshop & list of Original Cast LPs, www.norpete.com
where you will see a vast array of excellent, used out-of-print books. You're sure to find many books of interest which may have long eluded you, so now is your opportunity to fill in missing gaps. Our online bookshop includes composer and performer autobiographies and biographies. Soon we will include musical criticism, theory and history, plus histories of symphony orchestras, opera houses and festivals. In addition, we shall offer quite an array of vocal scores, many of which are most rare and unusual.
Take a look at our exciting array of Broadway & Off-Broadway Original Cast and London Original Cast LPs, all in superb condition.
Please note: we have now eliminated our old email address. Please adjust your email address book to:
We continue our special CD & DVD 'sale' . . .
Please click on the DVD image on the left, above, and you will see our entire inventory of DVDs. Our overstock listings of CDs follow the DVDs, beginning with the most recent additions. When these titles are gone, they will not be replaced since our inventory has become far too large!
From this time forward, all Walhall and Myto titles will be offered at 40% discount from their original prices.
We continue to offer FREE Shipping on all U.S. (including Puerto Rico), Mexican and Canadian orders over $49.00. If you would like to join our emailing list, please sign up at the top right.
We carry fine CD offerings from Marston, Immortal Performances(Canada), Malibran, VRCS, The Record Collector, Aquarius, Melodiya, Cheyne, Walhall, Bongiovanni, Bluebell, Clama and many other labels.
Now that our Auction #144
is completed, the Auction Catalogue remains on our current website. Most of the elusive and rare items of course are gone, but some titles remain available.
As always, please contact us with any special requests.
Please remember that we can take your order over the telephone from 10:00am to 6:00pm (EST), thereby providing you with the most current status of your order. Should you order by email or shopping cart and do not receive a timely acknowledgement of your order, please telephone.
Thank you again for your loyal support, and happy browsing our ever changing website and exciting offerings.