OP0263. NORMA, Live Performance, Berlin, 1968, w.Gavazzeni Cond. Teatro la Fenice Ensemble; Elinor Ross, Fiorenza Cossotto, Mario Del Monaco, Ivo Vinco, etc. (Portugal) 2-Bella Voce BLV 107.214. Long out-of-print, Final ever-so-slightly used copy! - 8712177023776
“Elinor Ross consistently sang with beautiful, warm, unforced tone, and a keen understanding of what she was singing. Her voice was sizeable and plush, but it also moved beautifully….Ar her peak, competition for the leading soprano roles in the Italian repertoire was fierce….She didn’t benefit from a major recording contract, so the opera lover curious about what she did and how she did it must seek out pirate recordings….Her ‘Casta Diva’ is one of the best performances of this aria I ever heard.”
- Brian Kellow, OPERA NEWS
"Elinor Ross is a dramatic soprano particularly associated with the Italian repertory. She made her debut with the Cincinnati Opera in 1958, as Leonora in IL TROVATORE, opposite Jussi Bjorling, Giulietta Simionato and Ettore Bastianini. She went on singing at the opera houses of Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans, Houston, Hartford, etc. In 1968, she appeared at Carnegie Hall in the American premiere of Verdi's ALZIRA, and made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1970, in the title role of Puccini's TURANDOT. Ross also enjoyed a successful international career, appearing at La Scala in Milan, La Fenice in Venice, the opera houses of Bologna, Palermo, Florence, Verona, the Vienna State Opera, the Berlin State Opera, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, etc. Her repertoire included roles such as Abigaille, Lady Macbeth, Amelia, Leonora, Elisabetta, Aida, Gioconda, Santuzza, Maddalena, Tosca, Donna Anna, Medea, Norma, etc. Ross was forced into retirement in 1979 due to illness."
"While best known for the fiery, scenery-chewing Verdi roles such as Azucena, Amneris, Lady Macbeth, and Eboli, Fiorenza Cossotto was also a prominent performer of bel canto parts such as Rosina in Rossini's BARBIERE, Leonora in LA FAVORITA, and Adalgisa in NORMA. Such large and powerful mezzo voices, particularly with a secure top, are rare compared to the lyric mezzo, and from the late 1960s through the early 1980s, she was THE Verdi mezzo, the successor to Simionato and the predecessor to Zajick."
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com
"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)ï¿½.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 AIDA 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 debut 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 debut. 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