OP0082. CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, Live Performance, 7 Feb., 1970, w.Bernstein Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Franco Corelli, Grace Bumbry, Nedda Casei, Walter Cassel & Carlotta Ordassy; PAGLIACCI, Live Performance, 11 April, 1964, w.Santi Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Franco Corelli, Lucine Amara, Anselmo Colzani, Franco Ghitti & Calvin Marsh. (Italy) 2-Melodram CDM 27095. Very Long out-of-print, final copy! - 671193409529
“No one ever sees Turridu’s ‘Siciliana’ performed. It is sung from backstage, on this night even from a little underneath….When Strasfogel signaled the harpist to start the Siciliana’s dreamlike opening chords,[William H.] Honan noticed that ‘Corelli, looking rather like the winged victory of Samothrace with one foot forward, chest thrown out and arms more or less dangling behind, opened his mouth wide, almost as if he were yawning, and out swam a gargantuan and voluptuous wail….’ [New York Times, 8 Feb., 1970]. Corelli’s voice rose up to his first succession of A-flats with a silvery, bell-like tone. The second succession came out a little strident, and Honan saw that the tenor’s head was beginning to spin. He clutched the harmonium for support, ending the aria with a difficult pianissimo….after which he collapsed over the top of the instrument….There was an instant roar of applause from the house, yet the audience wasn’t able to witness what was surely the most dramatic spectacle of the entire performance – Corelli sprawled across the harmonium rolling his head from side to side and gasping for breath like a fainting marathon runner….What followed was one of the greatest triumphs in Corelli’s entire career. Honan thought his first cry of 'Mamma!’ had the solidarity of a church bell; his trick of changing tonal colors to suggest drunkeness was magnificent. Then he came to the section where he bade his mother farewell….'Corelli’s voice exploded in melodic sobs and gasps mingled with shimmering, golden A’s, A-flats, and B-flats. They were the cries of a stricken animal, not in the least ethereal but virile…the last of them – a ravishing A-flat – soared through the house like a great bird released from the stage’.”
- René Seghers, FRANCO CORELLI, PRINCE OF TENORS, pp.386-88
"This was of course a unique situation, with Bernstein conducting CAV of all things. Those who complained that he was out of his element here had better check the score. By dusting off many traditional cobwebs, he brought this to life as if it were a new work he was trying to promote. Domingo had previously been scheduled for this production, but the labor problems which so delayed the '69/'70 [MET] season produced various temporary defections, including the young Spaniard's. Corelli took over, and did he take over! At that time, young Domingo could never have approached Corelli in this one, particularly in this form and cooperating fully with Bernstein. There's no doubt who's in charge, but Corelli much more than makes up [the difference]. This time, he delivers the best Turiddu I have ever heard."
- Greg Stanford, The Operatic Ear, anotheramerica.org
“In 1955 Grace Bumbry entered Northwestern University, where she studied voice with Lotte Lehman, and transferred with her to the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. In 1958 she was joint winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, sharing first place with Martina Arroyo. She won some other prizes, and made her professional début in a recital in London in 1959. Her first operatic appearance was at the Paris Opéra, as Amneris in Verdi's AÏDA. It was one of the most spectacular operatic débuts in history; Bumbry became an instant star and was invited to join the roster of the Basle Opera. She made operatic history in 1961 when she was engaged by Wieland Wagner to sing at the Bayreuth Festival and became the first black singer to perform in that shrine of Wagnerian opera. Furthermore, musical historian Nicolas Slomimsky has pointed out that she was the first African American to make a professional operatic as a goddess, for her début at Bayreuth was as Venus in TANNHÄUSER, 23 July, 1961. Bumbry embarked on a concert tour of the United States and was invited by Jacqueline Kennedy to sing at the White House, on 20 February, 1962. She also followed up her success at Bayreuth with appearances as Venus at the Chicago Lyric Opera and at Lyons, France. Bumbry's 1963 London début came in the role of Princess Eboli in Verdi's DON CARLOS, and she gave her first Metropolitan Opera performance in the same role in 1965. During the 1960s Bumbry worked on extending her vocal range. In 1970 at the Vienna Staatsoper, she sang the part of Santuzza, making her début as a soprano. She sang Richard Strauss' SALOME at Covent Garden the same year, and her first appearance in Puccini's TOSCA at the Metropolitan Opera came in 1971. She has a very warm voice with rich tone quality throughout the mezzo range, although it loses some of its distinctiveness in the very upper part of her soprano register. She is among the few sopranos who have sung both the roles of Aïda and Amneris in AÏDA and both Venus and Elisabeth in Wagner's TANNHÄUSER.”
- Ned Ludd