OP0257. OTELLO, Live Performance, 18 Jan., 1941, w.Panizza Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Giovanni Martinelli, Stella Roman, Lawrence Tibbett, Nicola Moscona, etc (Italy) 2-Arkadia 2027. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 8011571020276
“There have been Otellos more dulcet or clarion, but Martinelli’s is the complete portrayal: as lover, as madman, as penitent murderer. Each component of his characterization authenticates the impact of the others. So realistic is his choked and debilitated projection of grief at the opera’s close that his ability actually to sing ‘Desdemona!’ is little short of miraculous. The Iago to Martinelli’s Otello…is Lawrence Tibbett….a consummate singing actor…Here his swarthy baritone is prodigious in scale and implausibly pliable. Elisabeth Rethberg’s Desdemona is both opulent and strong. No studio recordings of these three famous Verdians convey the high voltage of this stage performance. Martinelli’s Otello and Tibbett’s Iago are so celebrated that their excellence is astonishing without being surprising. The surprise lies elsewhere: in the pit. What clinches this great performance is the incandescence of [the conducting of] Ettore Panizza.”
- Joseph Horowitz, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 9 March, 2003
"…almost every phrase comes to take the impress of [Martinelli’s] voice and style. The taut concentration of tone matches the intensity; at every point a close and receptive study of the score has yielded its reward….Walter Legge reported of his singing the role at Covent Garden in 1937 that ‘a thread of pure gold runs through his voice’, and he added that it was ‘unlike any other tenor in the world today’ save possibly the young Jussi Björling, 23 years Martinelli’s junior. At its best, as in the monologue, Martinelli’s Otello remains finest of all….Tibbett’s Iago is superbly caught, the best account of the role on records, not forgetting Gobbi….Like Martinelli, his response to every phrase is specific and vivid; and his voice resonates richly."
- John Steane, GRAMOPHONE, Feb., 2006
“Lawrence Tibbett, to my taste the greatest operatic baritone America has ever produced. His enormous charm is complemented by fabulous diction - he's one of the very few ‘classical’ singers whose every word is clearly understandable.”
- Jeffrey Lipscomb