La Boheme  (di Stefano, Sayao, Valdengo, Siepi)   (2-Melodram 270108)
Item# OP0732
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Product Description

La Boheme  (di Stefano, Sayao, Valdengo, Siepi)   (2-Melodram 270108)
OP0732. LA BOHEME, Live Performance, 17 March, 1951, w.Cleva Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Giuseppe di Stefano, Bidú Sayão, Giuseppe Valdengo, Cesare Siepi, etc.; PAGLIACCI – Final Scene, 1957, Sanzogno Cond.La Scala Ensemble; Giuseppe di Stefano, Petrella & Alva. (Italy) 2-Melodram 270108. Very Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 761193410822


“Here is the wonderful Bidú Sayão as a fragile, gentle Mimi, and the stunning, youthful Giuseppe di Stefano as an ardent, passionate Rodolfo. This shows why they (and especially di Stefano) were so highly regarded! Di Stefano was in fabulous voice, offering about as fine a Rodolfo as there is on record. The tone is absolutely glorious, high notes ring out with impressive freedom, and the palette of vocal colors is impressive for its variety and beauty (his diminuendo in the Act III duet with Mimì is absolutely ravishing). In the March 1951 Met broadcast di Stefano’s marvelous performance is reproduced in fine, clear sound. Siepi is a rich Colline, and Valdengo and Hunt a fine ‘second couple’. Paul Jackson writes of this wonderful performance that ‘the interplay of the jesting bohemians is uncommonly vibrant and natural. [They] own not only high spirits and verbal virtuosity, but voices that melt the heart. Not since Pinza's Colline ... have audiences heard such imposing philosophic pronouncements as Siepi delivers [which] warm the ear. Valdengo has the ideal Marcello voice, distinctive of timbre [and] sizeable enough for potency. Lois Hunt is a Musetta outside the norm - her voice is pleasant and her manner does not offend. What a lyrical companion di Stefano is, bursting with self-confidence, spending his capital with generosity. On this afternoon, di Stefano simply has everything. His top voice is vibrant, the high C easily gained and long held. Di Stefano's musicianship is sound, and his theatrical craft astute. Sayão offers abundant tone [and is] adorable, exposing all of Mimi's heart-rending charm in splendid arcs of full, round tone. She is in splendid voice, her poised, plangent tones crystal clear [and her singing] is magical in its musical subtlety and theatrical craft. Many a prima donna professed to retire at the top of her form, but Sayão was among those who did’. This performance belongs in every collection.”

- Ned Ludd

“Giuseppe di Stefano possessed an especially beautiful voice. It was impossible not to be moved; he truly had the sound of tears in his voice, without being over sentimental. His wonderful piano – and his stirring voice – moved his audience almost beyond endurance.”

- Birgit Nilsson, LA NILSSON, p.116

“Sayão's technical mastery appeared not to include a well-knit trill, but superb phrasing, splendid diction, acting ability and a svelte figure made her a compelling artist both on stage and on the recital platform....What further eulogies can be written about this charming, mid-century songbird? A Jean de Reszké pupil and the worthy successor to the delicious Lucrezia Bori at the Met, she enjoyed a long career in the lighter French repertoire and is remembered with deep affection by all who had the good fortune to hear her in her prime.”

- Vivian A. Liff, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May / June, 2011

“One of the most important elements that made Bidú Sayão such a unique artist among other singers and frankly among most instrumentalists was that she was a musician first….In 1923, Teodorini introduced Bidú to her former professor, Jean de Reszke, who concentrated on teaching her the French opera repertoire. After de Reszke’s death in 1925 Sayão continued her studies with Cotogni’s own disciple, Luigi Ricci (1893-1981), who worked with great opera composers such as Giordano, Leoncavallo, Mascagni, and Respighi, as well as coaching celebrated singers such as Ezio Pinza, Tito Gobbi, Benjamino Gigli and Fyodor Chaliapin….What makes her so unique even among the greats is that she found a way to combine, in perfect harmony, two naturally contradicting qualities rarely found in one artist: technical perfection and passion in abundance.”

- Mordecai Shehori, CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY, Winter, 2010