OP0100. RIGOLETTO, recorded 1927-28, w.Sabajno Cond. La Scala Ensemble; Tino Folgar, Lina Pagliughi, Luigi Piazza, Salvatore Baccaloni, etc. 2-VAIA 1097. Transfers by David Lennick. Final Sealed Copy! - 089948109723
"LINA PAGLIUGHI was born in New York in 1907 and died at Rubicone, Italy, in 1980. She was one of the great lyric coloraturas of her day. After studying in San Francisco and Milan, her career blossomed in 1927 with performances of Gilda (RIGOLETTO) in Milan. She sang throughout Italy and in the Netherlands, the Americas, Australia and at Covent Garden (Gilda again, in 1938). Excelling in the operas of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, Pagliughi also sang those roles by Mozart, Richard Strauss, Leoncavallo - even Wagner - to which her elegant technique and sweet voice were ideally suited. In retirement she taught in Milan."
- Paul Campion
"Born Juventino Folgar Ascaso in Barcelona, on 25 January 1892, Folgar studied in his native city with Esteban Pasqual and made his stage début at the Liceu as Rodolfo in LA BOHÈME, in 1922. He made his début in Italy in Acqui Terme, as Almaviva in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, in 1925. He went on appearing in Genoa, Turin, Cremona, and scored a triumph at the Teatro Adriano in Rome, as Lindoro in L'ITALIANA IN ALGERI, opposite Conchita Supervia, in 1926. He is partly responsible for the Rossini renaissance, alongside Supervia. From 1929, he appeared mainly in Spain, singing in zarzuela and operetta. In 1932, he went to London, on tour with a zarzuela-ensemble. He then sang mostly in concert and on radio, he also appeared in a feature film LA CANCIÓN DEL DIA. In 1945, he went to Mexico City where he worked as a teacher, later moving to Buenos Aires, where he remained until his death in January 1983. A stylish and refined artist, Folgar possessed a rather small but attractive voice, which he passed to posterity through his 1927 recording of the Duke of Mantua in a complete RIGOLETTO, opposite Luigi Piazza, Lina Pagliughi and Salvatore Baccaloni."
- Ashot Arakelyan, Forgotten Opera Singers
"One of the finest lyric tenors of the Barcelona school, Folgar created leading roles in LOS CLAVELES, Guerrero’s MARTIERRA and many other works, and enjoyed major successes in LUISA FERNANDA, DOÑA FRANCISQUITA, and a host of similar opera and zarzuela revivals….His reputation as a recording artist centers on the first electric recording of any opera…RIGOLETTO from 1927; but his delectable sweet lightness and ear for interpretive detail are at least as well served by his many zarzuela records."
- Christopher Webber, THE ZARZUELA COMPANION, p.304
"Luigi Piazza was an Italian operatic baritone, particularly associated with the Italian repertory, especially the role of Rigoletto. Piazza was born in Bologna, where he studied at the Music Conservatory with Alberoni. He made his stage début there in 1908, as Enrico in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR.
His main career spanned from 1910 until 1930, during which time he sang at most of the major opera houses in Italy, with the Teatro Communale in Bologna remaining his anchor. Outside Italy, he appeared in France and Spain, and in 1916 at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In 1924, he went on a guest-tour of Australia. Although he was invited twice to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, he never appeared there. He retired from the stage in 1935, and died in his native city of Bologna over thirty years later.
While active, such was the great depth of baritone talent, he was appreciated as a fine 'provincial' baritone; but he nonetheless achieved a degree of international fame through his only recording, a complete RIGOLETTO from 1927 [above], opposite Lina Pagliughi, Tino Folgar and Salvatore Baccaloni, which reveals a voice of considerable beauty and power, backed by a strong theatrical sense."
“In 1904 Sabajno was engaged by Fred Gaisberg as The Gramophone Company’s Italian house conductor (an appointment which was in effect the equivalent of the ‘Artists and Repertoire’ manager of later years) with responsibility for all aspects of production, such as the selection of repertoire and the engagement of artists, in addition to actually conducting in the studio: in France the conductor Piero Coppola held a similar position. Sabajno devoted himself to the nascent recording industry and seems subsequently to have conducted little if at all in the concert hall or opera house. He did however compose a little, writing songs especially for the gramophone.
For The Gramophone Company Sabajno conducted numerous complete recordings of operas, starting with Verdi’s ERNANI in 1904 and Leoncavallo’s PAGLIACCI in 1907 (although the latter may in fact have been conducted by its composer) and concluding with Verdi’s OTELLO in 1932. He recorded RIGOLETTO twice, in 1917 and 1927, and also left notable accounts of Donizetti’s DON PASQUALE with Tito Schipa, and of Verdi’s AÏDA with Toscanini’s favourite tenor Aureliano Pertile. He was also credited with conducting the complete recording of IL TROVATORE with Pertile, (although much of this was actually conducted by Gino Nastrucci). In addition to these and many other complete opera recordings Sabajno accompanied the leading singers of the day, such as Beniamino Gigli, in numerous operatic arias, and conducted several short operatic and orchestral works. The latter included several overtures and orchestral excerpts from Wagner’s operas, including the Liebestod from TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, as well as the prelude to Catalani’s opera EDMEA, Chabrier’s ‘España’, Mascagni’s ‘Danza esotica’, the overture to Massenet’s LE ROI DE LAHORE, the Nocturne and Wedding March from Mendelssohn’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, and the overture to Mozart’s DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE.
Evidently not an easy man to get on with, Sabajno had a reputation for a fiery temper; but Gaisberg, who knew him well, described him as ‘…gifted with sharp intelligence, and when one worked with him one understood that every single gesture had a reason’. Certainly several of his recordings, most of which were made with the Orchestra of La Scala, Milan at a time when Toscanini was musical director there, have stood the test of time. Gaisberg considered Sabajno’s account of AÏDA to be the pinnacle of his recording work, and it continues to feature in the catalogue.”
- David Patmore, Naxos' A–Z of Conductors