OP0740. DON CARLOS, Live Performance, 7 March, 1964, w.Kurt Adler Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Franco Corelli, Leonie Rysanek, Nicolai Herlea, Giorgio Tozzi, Hermann Uhde, Justino Diaz, Irene Dalis, etc. (Slovenia) 3-Living Stage 4035171. Very Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 3830025741780
“Throughout the afternoon, [Corelli] has been in remarkably fine voice. He will tear the opening aria to tatters, but few tenors can project a transport of anxiety as convincingly as he, and few can negotiate the several exposed top notes (which many a Carlo fails to reach) with comparable security. With Herlea and Corelli trumpeting the friendship duet, decibel rivalry rather than amity is the result; the tenor determines to emerge the victor, and adds a high C at the close – if Verdi has denied Carlo his place in the Spanish sun, Corelli will provide his own….the broadcast hosts a house début. Romanian baritone Nicolae Herlea, veteran of a decade and a half on the stages of European capitals…is in the Bastianini line [although] his instrument more resembles that of Alexander Svéd, a timber-shaking baritone of the Johnson era….what a wonderful noise he makes….When Rysanek grandly limns the arched phrase which concludes the first duet with Carlo, the superior quality of her musical-dramatic instincts registers strongly. And her Elisabetta is clearly a woman with feelings – one must be ever grateful for that…Even in the grand aria of the final act, Rysanek’s vocalism is apt to burst the bonds of self-possession which sustain this queen….and when she can soar in the concluding phrases of the aria, the elevated spirit of Verdi’s conception is realized.”
- Paul Jackson, SIGN-OFF FOR THE OLD MET, pp.457-59
“Corelli was more often than not merely a tall man with a loud voice, buying audience favor with such childish coin as long-held top notes and, for variety, longer-held top notes. Given his physical advantages and the power of sound he commands, Corelli could make himself a painter - hero of the first rank, but this would take an alteration of attitude for which there is no reasonable hope.”
- Irving Kolodin Review
“Nicolae Herlea is a Romanian operatic baritone, particularly associated with the Italian repertory, especially the role of Rossini's Figaro, which he sang around 550 times during his career. He studied at the Bucharest Music Conservatory with Aurelius Costescu-Duca, and later at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome with Giorgio Favaretto. In 1951, he won first prizes in international singing contests in Geneva, Prague, and Brussels. He made his stage début that same year at the National Opera of Bucharest as Silvio in PAGLIACCI, quickly establishing himself as the principal baritone there.
In 1958, he began appearing abroad, particularly at the Bolshoi in Moscow, to where he regularly returned. He also made guest appearances at London's Royal Opera House (1961), La Scala in Milan (1963) and the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1964–67), and also performed at the Liceo in Barcelona, the Berlin Staatsoper, the Vienna State Opera, the Salzburg Festival, La Monnaie in Brussels, and in the opera houses of Prague and Budapest. Herlea also had a successful career in the concert-hall. Now retired, he gives masterclasses at the Bucharest Conservatory.”
“Irene Dalis, a versatile and fiery mezzo-soprano who starred at the Metropolitan Opera for two decades before building a second career as the director of Opera San José, an innovative company she founded in her California hometown, did not set out to be a singer or an impresario. She studied piano and music education at what was then San Jose State College before earning a master’s degree at Columbia’s Teachers College in Manhattan in the late 1940s. The plan was to go back home and teach. Yet her instructors in New York were struck by her voice and encouraged her to develop it. She began taking lessons with the mezzo-soprano Edyth Walker. Instead of returning to San Jose, she went to Italy to study voice on a Fulbright scholarship in 1951. Just two years later she made her operatic début as Princess Eboli in Verdi’s DON CARLO in Oldenburg, Germany. Four years after that, she performed the same role at the Met. Her début at the Met, on 16 March, 1957, was ‘one of the most exciting of the season’, Howard Taubman wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES. ‘By the time she reached the second-act trio she showed she could sing with temperament’, Mr. Taubman said. ‘And in the third-act, ‘O don fatale’, one of Verdi’s greatest dramatic arias, she was like a veteran. Her voice, which has range, security and brilliant top notes, was now under full control. She sang and moved with a total absorption in the emotion of the character. ‘Her singing had color and fire. In terms of sheer quality there may be more sumptuous voices at the Met in the mezzo-soprano division; Miss Dalis uses hers like an artist’.
For the next two decades, Ms. Dalis was among the Met’s most admired performers, appearing more than 270 times and singing virtually every major mezzo-soprano part written by Verdi, Wagner, Richard Strauss and others. She was nurtured by Rudolf Bing, the Met’s formidable general manager, and performed with Birgit Nilsson, Jussi Bjorling, Robert Merrill, Leontyne Price, Plácido Domingo and Leonie Rysanek.
She sang on many other stages, including at the San Francisco Opera and at Covent Garden. One of her most acclaimed performances was in 1962, when she sang the role of Kundry in PARSIFAL at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. She said later that, under stress from a grueling schedule, she had a revelation while she was there. ‘I asked myself if my talent, which I had always thought so sacred, was so special after all’, she recalled in 1964. ‘I decided it wasn’t. I realized that this was just my way of making a living. I began to see that I couldn’t deliver my best all the time, nobody can, and that I shouldn’t punish myself for my mistakes. ‘I have now approached the time of life where I want to enjoy what I’m doing. Does it seem silly? It seems to me a great discovery’.
She would perform for another decade, but in the mid-1970s she finally went home to California to teach voice, finding a position at San Jose State. Her work with students there led to her founding of Opera San José in 1984. It was modeled on a program in Oldenburg, which gave young performers like Ms. Dalis the chance to sing big roles early in their careers. ‘In the old days, singers started singing major roles at a young age, and it didn’t ruin their voices, did it?’ she said in an interview with OPERA NEWS in 2007. The company, which performs at the California Theater, a restored 1927 movie palace, has its own costume and set shops, owns administrative buildings and provides apartments to some performers. Ms. Dalis ran it until this June. OPERA NEWS called Opera San José ‘the only opera company in the U.S. entirely dedicated to developing the careers of emerging young artists’.”
- William Yardley, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 18 Dec., 2014
“Hermann Uhde’s American mother was a student of the famous baritone Karl Scheidemantel. He was trained as a bass, by Philipp Kraus at the Opera School in Bremen, where he made his début as Titurel (1936). After engagements in Freiburg and Munich he appeared for the first time in baritone rôles at the Deutsches Theater im Haag in 1942. A prisoner-of-war from April 1945 to February 1946, he did not return to the stage until 1947. He subsequently appeared at the opera houses of Hamburg, Vienna and Munich where he became a member of the ensemble. He gained great success in rôles such as Mandryka, Gunther and Telramund, in which he was particularly admired. The artist was regularly invited to the Bayreuth Festival from 1951 to 1960 where he became one of its most important members, appearing as Holländer, Klingsor, Gunther, Donner, Wotan in RHEINGOLD, Telramund and Melot. He was also a guest at the Salzburg Festival and performed a superb Wozzeck at the Met (sung in English!) where he regularly appeared from 1955 to 1961 and again in 1964. He sang at the Grand Opéra Paris as well as at other European opera houses. He created several rôles, including Creon in Orff’s ANTIGONAE, the baritone rôles in Britten’s THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA and Wagner-Régeny’s DAS BERGWERK ZU FALUN. He died of a heart attack during a performance of Niels Viggo Bentzon’s FAUST III, at Copenhagen in 1965.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile