Adriana Lecouvreur  (Rossi;   Olivero, Simionato, Corelli, Bastianini)  (2-Melodram 27009)
Item# OP0039
Regular price: $39.90
Sale price: $19.95
Availability: Usually ships the same business day

Product Description

Adriana Lecouvreur  (Rossi;   Olivero, Simionato, Corelli, Bastianini)  (2-Melodram 27009)
OP0039. ADRIANA LECOUVREUR, Live Performance, 28 Nov., 1959, Napoli, w. Rossi Cond. San Carlo Opera Ensemble; w. Magda Olivero, Giulietta Simionato, Franco Corelli, Bastianini, etc. (Italy) 2-Melodram 27009. Very long out-of-print, final ever-so-slightly used copy!


“A very, very ’hot’ night was had in Naples in 1959 when Magda Olivero, Giulietta Simionato, Franco Corelli and Ettore Bastianini put their all into the juicy lead roles of ADRIANA LECOUVREUR”

- Will Crutchfield, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 15 July, 1990

�Often referred to as �the last verismo soprano�, Magda Olivero was an artist whose total immersion in her roles combined with astounding vocal longevity to earn her legendary status among lovers of expressive singing. Young Magda studied piano, harmony, counterpoint and then voice, auditioning at Turin�s EIAR radio for conductor Ugo Tansini, whose appraisal has become part of the Olivero legend: �She possesses neither voice, musicality nor personality!... She should look for another profession�. A second audition produced the same response, but also aroused the interest of voice teacher Luigi Gerussi, who offered to train her. After a period of arduous vocal study, Olivero made her major-role stage d�but in Turin as Lauretta in GIANNI SCHICCHI in 1933, the same year bowing at La Scala as Anna in NABUCCO. Her easy high notes and impeccable coloratura led to roles such as Gilda, Manon and Sophie, and she was encouraged by Tullio Serafin to specialize in bel canto repertoire. But Olivero�s heart was in verismo, and she had the opportunity to work closely with a number of composers, including Giordano, Alfano, Mascagni and Cil�a, sometimes creating roles for them, always gaining their admiration. (Thirty-one of the forty-four composers whose operas Olivero sang during her career were still alive when she began to study.) In 1938, Olivero sang Li� in the world-premiere recording of TURANDOT, one of her few commercial recordings, and in 1939 she sang her first Adriana Lecouvreur, the role with which she became most identified. Olivero married industrialist Aldo Busch in 1941, abandoning her career for a decade, singing only occasional concerts to aid charities during the war.

Francesco Cil�a, who considered Olivero the greatest interpreter of his Adriana, finally persuaded the soprano to return to the stage. Writing to her, Cil�a insisted it was Olivero�s duty �toward her public and her art�. The elderly composer was dying and wanted to hear Olivero as Adriana one last time. When she worked on the role with him, Cil�a declared Olivero had �gone beyond the notes� to what he felt when he created Adriana. Two weeks after returning to the stage as Mim�, on 20 January, 1951, Olivero sang Adriana; sadly, Cil�a had died months earlier, but he was the catalyst for an astounding second Olivero career phase, lasting four more decades.

Although Olivero kept singing Manon and Violetta, this second career focused mainly on verismo heroines � Suor Angelica, Butterfly, Fedora, Manon Lescaut, Margherita (MEFISTOFELE), Iris, Minnie, Giorgetta (IL TABARRO) and Tosca. She also continued to participate in premieres of new works, by Renzo Rossellini, Ottorino Gentilucci, Flavio Testi and Gian Francesco Malipiero. Olivero won acclaim in Menotti�s MEDIUM and Poulenc�s DIALOGUES DES CARM�LITES (Mother Marie) and LA VOIX HUMAINE, and as a hair-raising Kostelnicka in JENUFA at La Scala.

Her career expanded beyond Italy, and a U.S. d�but took place in Dallas in 1967, where, she was persuaded, after some hesitation, to sing Cherubini�s Medea. Her reticence, based on the success of Maria Callas in the role in that city, proved unfounded; the performances were a sensation. New York area performances began in 1969, in Hartford Connecticut, with her legendary Adriana. The enterprising Maestro Alfredo Silipigni then brought Olivero to his New Jersey State Opera; local opera lovers journeyed to Newark for unforgettable Olivero evenings of TOSCA, FEDORA and MEFISTOFELE. In the meanwhile, a Philharmonic Hall d�but in 1971 featured the soprano in a recital coupled with LA VOIX HUMAINE in the same evening. But it was not until 1975, at the instigation of her great admirer Marilyn Horne, that the Met finally invited Magda Olivero for three performances as Tosca. She made her d�but soon after her sixty-fifth birthday. Although the audience was wildly demonstrative, this was no mere nostalgia event. After a few minutes to warm up and conquer nerves, Olivero�s voice was astonishingly fresh, shedding decades by Act II. At the second performance, this listener was treated to the most touching, spectacularly sung �Vissi d�arte� of his experience. During Act III, Olivero�s ascent to a spectacular, lengthy high C and plunge down two octaves into chest voice on the line �Io quella lama� earned her a spontaneous ovation. This old-school audience response was inspired by the artist�s old-school stage deportment; it was an evening that, in the best sense, turned back the clock whenever she was onstage. Olivero�s total belief in the reality of the drama prevented her performances from ever being reduced to shtick. And her prodigious technique and breath control spoke of a bygone era, but one in which she was unique among veristas, none of whom matched her vocal capabilities.

Olivero continued to sing, albeit with less frequency, until 1983, when the death of her husband caused her to retire with no fanfare or farewells. However, in 1993, at eighty-three, Olivero recorded excerpts from her beloved ADRIANA LECOUVREUR, making a final artistic statement on the role, still able to offer passages of ethereal beauty and expression. Her art is extensively documented in live-performance audio recordings and a handful of video documents � every one a lesson.�

Ira Siff, OPERA NEWS, 8 Sept., 2014

“Franco Corelli had been singing for well over a decade when he made his Met debut in 1961 at the age of 40. The first attraction in any Corelli performance is the voice itself. Solid and evenly produced from bottom to top, with no audible seams between registers. The middle and lower parts of the voice are dark and richly colored. The top is stunningly brilliant, and never thins out or turns hard. It is a once-in-a-generation kind of voice if your generation is lucky, and in the four decades since his retirement in 1976 we have had nothing like it for visceral power. Some critics complained because Corelli would hold high notes well beyond their value in the score. But if we listen to singers from the past whose careers overlapped with the great Italian opera composers, and who often worked with them, we can easily conclude that the composers expected it. (A recording of an aria from Francesco Cilea’s ADRIANA LECOUVREUR by tenor Fernando de Lucia, with the composer accompanying at the piano, exposes liberties that go far beyond anything Corelli ever did, and Cilea echoes those ‘distortions’ at the keyboard.)”

- Henry Fogel, FANFARE