OP0077. MEDEA (Cherubini), Live Performance, 1953, w.Bernstein Cond. La Scala Ensemble; Maria Callas, Fedora Barbieri, Maria Luisa Nache, Gino Penno, Giuseppe Modesti, etc. 2-EMI 67909, w.Elaborate Libretto-Brochure. Final Sealed Copy! - 724356790926
"Fedora Barbieri, a dramatic mezzo-soprano celebrated for Verdi interpretations that were extensively preserved on records and film, was gifted with a large, opulent voice. Miss Barbieri was of the same generation as Cesare Siepi, Giuseppe di Stefano, Boris Christoff and Jussi Bjorling. A favorite with European audiences from the 1940s on, she later won acclaim in New York, particularly for her appearances as Azucena in IL TROVATORE, AMNERIS in AIDA, ADALGISA in BELLINI'S NORMA, and in the Verdi REQUIEM.
Her 1950 New York debut itself entered opera history, coming on the night Rudolf Bing first faced his audience as the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. He opened an era with a boldly ambitious revival of DON CARLO in which Miss Barbieri sang the role of Princess Eboli.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service had turned Bing's entire inaugural season into a cliffhanger days before the curtain rose on it. Acting under the 1950 Internal Security Act, it confined shiploads of arriving aliens on Ellis Island on the grounds that they could be threats to the United States; Miss Barbieri, Christoff and Zinka Milanov were among them.
Miss Barbieri's offense was attending school in Fascist wartime Italy, a circumstance that she stated in her visa application. She and the other soloists were freed just in time for the show to go on.
Miss Barbieri, Mr. Bjorling (in the title role) and Mr. Siepi, making his debut as Philip II, appeared in what Olin Downes of THE NEW YORK TIMES described as an occasion that revealed afresh 'the melodic opulence and dramatic power of Verdi's genius'. Miss Barbieri, he said, was a 'superb mezzo from Italy, with a kindling dramatic temperament'.
Fedora Barbieri made her professional debut in 1940 as Fidalma in Cimarosa's MATRIMONIO SEGRETO. She sang her first Azucena the next night and repeated Fidalma the night after that, a feat that quickly established her reputation in Europe as a masterly interpreter of the Italian repertory at its most demanding.
She sang in Rome, made her debut at La Scala in 1943, sang in South America and went to London with La Scala in 1950. She made an immediate impression at Covent Garden, singing Mistress Quickly in FALSTAFF, and giving one of her stirring performances in the REQUIEM.
She remained a regular at La Scala and sang at the Metropolitan primarily in the 1950s and 60s. Of her many Verdi roles, she favored Eboli in her earlier years, but later leaned toward the lower registers of Azucena and Amneris. She finally found Mistress Quickly best attuned to her voice. Her repertory included 109 roles."
- Wolfgang Saxon, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 7 March, 2003
“In the early 1950s, Gino Penno became known throughout Italy as a highly competent heldentenor singing Siegfried at the Verona Arena and Lohengrin in Rome. He also partnered Maria Callas in Norma, Macbeth, Il Trovatore, and Medea, in various theatres in Italy
In 1951, his career took an international turn. He appeared at the Paris Opéra, the Liceo in Barcelona, the Monte Carlo Opera, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the Royal Opera House in London.
He was very highly thought of both for his musicianship and his reportedly enormous voice, of magnificent quality.”
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
“Gino Penno, who sang at the Met between 1954 and 1956, seems better suited to the urgency and desperation of Gabriele Adorno’s scena from SIMON BOCCANEGRA, ‘Sento avvampar nell’anima’. Giuseppe Campora is revealing a voice at once sturdy and supple, always at the service of his high-level musicianship and dramatic sensitivity. In a Met career that spanned 1955 to 1965, he partnered both Lily Pons and Maria Callas in a run of 1956 LUCIAs and the following year sang performances of LA TRAVIATA with Tebaldi and Leonard Warren. In every aria, Campora’s beautiful legato allows plenty of play for rhythmic details, dotted notes and word accents, and his musical intelligence and dramatic instincts are superb.”
- Judith Malafronte, OPERA NEWS, June, 2015