OP0091. RIGOLETTO, Live Performance, 29 Dec., 1945, w.Sodero Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Leonard Warren, Jussi Björling, Bidú Sayão, Norman Cordon, etc. 2-Music & Arts 636. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy!
“One of the greatest singers of the twentieth century, [Björling’s] career is well documented in his legacy of recordings and in music literature….His voice serves as a model for singers all over the world."
- Richard T. Soper, NORDIC VOICES
“In the mid years of the twentieth century Jussi Björling could lay fair claim to be the world’s finest lyric tenor. His is what may be described as a central voice – instantly recognisable and, to use a perhaps overworked description, unique.”
- Stanley Henig, CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY, Spring, 2011
"This performance marked the return of Björling to the Met after a wartime break of four years spent mostly in his native Sweden. And what a return: at 34 he was at the absolute peak of his powers and sings a Duke of Mantua imbued with supreme confidence and tremendous brio - try the start of the Quartet to hear what I mean. He and the house revel in his display of tenor strength, yet that power is always tempered by innate artistry. If not a subtle interpreter, he is always a thoughtful one, and never indulges himself or his audience. Similarly, Warren was at the time at the zenith of his career. Vocally he is in total command of the role and the house. His reading, though slightly extroverted, evinces a firm tone, a secure line and many shades of colour.
“Sayão’s ‘lovely, pliant, fully rounded tones are immediately affecting. In these intimate moments one prizes the command which both Sayão and Warren have over gradations of volume at the quiet end of the spectrum.”
- Paul Jackson, SATURDAY AFERNOONS AT THE OLD MET, p.387
"Leonard Warren emerged as the principal baritone of the Met’s Italian wing in the early 1940s and remained so until his untimely death on the Met’s stage, 4 March, 1960, at the peak of his career. His smooth, velvety, and beautiful voice was powerful and had an unusually large range in its high register. It was easily and evenly produced, whether he sang softly or roared like a lion….Warren acted his roles primarily by vocal coloring, expressivity, and his excellent diction….his singing was unusually consistent….Warren’s legacy should be of interest to all lovers of great singing."
- Kurt Moses, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2006
"[Warren's] remarkable voice had a dramatic intensity which did not come naturally to him. As with everything else in his life, he worked at that until he got it right. Fortunately, his incomparable voice and dramatic power are still available to us on recordings of some of his most famous roles....[He] became one of the most famous and beloved operatic baritones in the world....Warren's flawless technique, seamless flow of sound, and brilliant top voice were his vocal trademarks and these qualities became the standard by which others would be measured, including me."
- Sherrill Milnes, AMERICAN ARIA, pp.76-77