OP0200. OTELLO, Live Performance, 6 Sept., 1954, w.Serafin Cond. RAI Ensemble, Torino; Mario del Monaco, Renato Capecchi, Onelia Fineschi, etc. (Croatia) 2-Myto 003.223, [Numbered Copy #00549 of an edition limited to 700 copies]. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 608974502232
“It was always a given that del Monaco possessed a remarkably powerful, steady voice with unsurpassed brilliance and power. He was, however, often criticized for singing with little finesse, for using his power unrelentingly. That was never true (his many live broadcast recordings give even stronger evidence of his ability to sing with light and shade)�.I found myself thrilling to the sheer sound of the voice and to the commitment and passion with which he sang. What will surprise many is the variety of dynamics and color that the tenor did bring to his singing�.It is easy for critics to comment on the method of a singer and to forget the most important element—the sound of the voice....His diction was a model of clarity and crispness, his intonation was almost always centered, and his rhythmic pulse was extremely strong. In many cases one listens to this kind of singing and longs for the days gone by when there were singers like this....old-timers...reminisce over one of the great operatic tenor voices to be heard in the 1950s and �60s, and younger listeners discover what a great ‘tenore di forza� sounds like. We have nothing like him today.�
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
“Mario del Monaco was one of the most widely recorded singers of the 1950's and 60's and divided his busy operatic career between Europe and America during those years. Sir Rudolf Bing, then manager of the Metropolitan Opera, heard Mr. del Monaco's debut as Radames in Verdi's AÏDA at the San Francisco Opera in 1950 and asked the tenor to stop in New York for a guest appearance at the Met in Puccini's MANON LESCAUT on his way back to Europe. Mr. del Monaco's singing made a distinct impression and won him a long and prosperous relationship with the Met beginning the next year. At the New York company from 1951 to 1959, he sang 102 times, in 16 roles. He appeared on the Met's tour 38 times. His last performance at the Met was as Canio in Leoncavallo's PAGLIACCI in 1959. But he returned three years later to Carnegie Hall in a concert of arias and duets with Gabriella Tucci.
Indeed, when Mr. del Monaco was loved, it was for the brilliant, stentorian quality of his voice rather than for his subtlety of phrase or ability to act. And in a profession often peopled by overweight tenors, Mr. Del Monaco offered a classic profile and dark good looks that made him an attractive presence on stage.
Mario del Monaco was born in Florence in 1915 and grew up in nearby Pesaro where his father was employed in city government. His parents were both musically inclined and encouraged his singing. Although he had some lessons, he was largely self-taught. Mr. del Monaco made his professional début in Puccini's MADAMA BUTTERFLY in Milan in 1941. He spent the war years in the Italian Army. After the war, Mr. del Monaco's career blossomed and spread to Milan's La Scala and London's Covent Garden as well as opera houses in Rome, Naples, Barcelona, Lisbon and Stockholm. In 1946, he sang in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, moved northward to Mexico City and then on to San Francisco for his American début. Mr. del Monaco's relationship with the Metropolitan Opera ended in 1959, reportedly by mutual consent, but he was recording until the end of the 1960's. In 1973, he joined a gathering of prominent tenors in Naples to honor Caruso's centenary and pres reports spoke of his ‘personal glamour and still thrilling dynamism�.
Mr. del Monaco retired to his villa near Venice later in 1973 and turned to teaching. Mr. del Monaco and his wife, Rina Fedora, a former singer, had two sons. One of them, Giancarlo, is now a stage director in Europe's opera world.�
- Bernard Holland, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 19 Oct., 1982
“Though not possessing the vocal opulence associated with other star baritones of his era, Renato Capecchi was no vocal underachiever, and his feel for the Italian language and searching musical intellect made him one of the most valued singers of his time. His recorded performance of RIGOLETTO�stands with the best for its mastery of the re's subtleties and dramatic truth. Likewise, as Rossini's Figaro, he captured both the quicksilver and pragmatic sides of that buoyant character. Capecchi's repertory was huge, encompassing hundreds of res; as the years passed, he increasingly concentrated on the buffo parts, and eventually undertook directorial assignments, allowing him to share his theatrical fluency with other singers.�
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com