OP0749. Faust, Live Performance, 31 Dec., 1949, w.Pelletier Cond. Giuseppe di Stefano, Dorothy Kirsten, Italo Tajo, Leonard Warren, etc. (Croatia) 2–Myto 001.H037. - 8014399500371
"Dorothy Kirsten made her professional concert début in a stage show at the New York World's Fair. She was also reunited with Miss Moore, who recommended her to the Chicago Grand Opera, where Miss Kirsten made her operatic début as Pousette in Massenet's MANON in 1940. Miss Kirsten sang 15 minor rôles during her first season, and the following year shared the stage with Miss Moore in a Chicago performance of LA BOHEME, singing Musetta to Miss Moore's Mimi. In 1942, Miss Kirsten began to sing leading rôles with the San Carlo Opera Company, in Washington and New York City. She made her New York City Opera début in 1943, and by 1945 had performed with the San Francisco Opera, the New York Philharmonic and other major orchestras. Starting in September 1943, she had her own radio program, 'Keepsakes’, which ran for a year. Miss Kirsten's Metropolitan Opera début, as Mimi in LA BOHEME on 1 Dec., 1945, was a critical success, and was the start of a 30-year association with that house. In 1971, when she celebrated her 25th anniversary with the company, she reminisced about that début, and recalled that Miss Moore sat in the first box, at the side of the stage, and threw roses to her. When Miss Moore died in a plane crash in Denmark in 1947, Miss Kirsten sang Schubert's 'Ave Maria' at her funeral. Miss Kirsten's career was centered in the United States, but she did tour Europe and, in 1962, the Soviet Union. There, besides giving recitals, she sang Violetta in a Bolshoi Opera performance of LA TRAVIATA, to considerable acclaim, even though, as she said later, she had to go on without the benefit of a stage rehearsal. During her years at the Met, Miss Kirsten sang most of the important Puccini rôles, including the title rôles in MANON LESCAUT, TOSCA and MADAMA BUTTERFLY, and she starred as Minnie in a revival of LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST that helped restore the work to the repertory. She prepared for the title rôle in LOUISE by going to France to study it with the composer. She also worked with the composer Italo Montemezzi on L'AMORE DEI TRE RE before she performed it in San Francisco and at the Met. In addition to the Puccini heroines, her repertory included the female leads in Gounod's ROMEO ET JULIETTE and FAUST, Leoncavallo's PAGLIACCI and Verdi's LA TRAVIATA. She sang in the American premières of Walton's TROILUS AND CRESSIDA and Poulenc's DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES, both in San Francisco. Miss Kirsten's voice was not huge, but she used it gracefully throughout her long career. When she gave her farewell performance at the Met, on 31 Dec., 1976, Allen Hughes wrote in The New York Times that 'she sang and acted the part of Tosca with the vocal control and dramatic acuity of a prima donna in mid-career’."
"Giuseppe di Stefano, a flamboyant, sometimes erratic opera star who in his prime after World War II was lauded as the most thrilling Italian tenor in a generation, died [3 March, 2008] at his home in Santa Maria Hoe, north of Milan. He was 86….Rudolf Bing, the longtime general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, asserted that di Stefano could have been as great as Enrico Caruso if he had demonstrated more restraint in his personal and professional conduct….Mr Bing wrote in his 1972 memoir that ‘The most spectacular single moment was when I heard his diminuendo on the high C in ‘Salut! demeure’ in FAUST. I shall never as long as I live forget the beauty of that sound'."
- Jonathan Kandell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 4 March, 2008
"There is a magnificent grandeur about Tajo’s singing, whether comic or serious….Tajo’s working with the text, coupled with a firmness of tone and a commanding presence add up to an impressive display of operatic art."
- Charles H. Parsons, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May/June, 2006
"Leonard Warren emerged as the principal baritone of the Met’s Italian wing in the early 1940s and remained so until his untimely death on the Met’s stage, 4 March, 1960, at the peak of his career. His smooth, velvety, and beautiful voice was powerful and had an unusually large range in its high register. It was easily and evenly produced, whether he sang softly or roared like a lion….Warren acted his roles primarily by vocal coloring, expressivity, and his excellent diction….his singing was unusually consistent….Warren’s legacy should be of interest to all lovers of great singing."
- Kurt Moses, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2006
"[Warren's] remarkable voice had a dramatic intensity which did not come naturally to him. As with everything else in his life, he worked at that until he got it right. Fortunately, his incomparable voice and dramatic power are still available to us on recordings of some of his most famous roles....[He] became one of the most famous and beloved operatic baritones in the world....Warren's flawless technique, seamless flow of sound, and brilliant top voice were his vocal trademarks and these qualities became the standard by which others would be measured, including me."
- Sherrill Milnes, AMERICAN ARIA, pp.76-77