OP1363. IL TROVATORE, Live Performance, 4 Feb., 1961, w.Cleva Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli, Irene Dalis, Mario Sereni, Teresa Stratas, etc.; PAGLIACCI – Excerpts, 11 April, 1964, w.Santi Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Franco Corelli, Lucine Amara, Anselmo Colzani, Franco Ghitti & Calvin Marsh. (Italy) 2–Myto 917.51, w.Libretto-Brochure. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy. - 8014399000512
“Price and Corelli are two of the greats. To hear Leonora’s great moments sung with such beauty and Manrico’s big moments sung with such passion (and, believe it or not, Corelli can sing softly and with sensitivity when he wants to) is truly something.”
- Michael Mark, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Jan./Feb., 2012
“With Manrico’s offstage serenade, Corelli presents a representative calling card. Vocal size and rugged style mark him as an open-air tenor….The vibrancy of his timbre is unequalled among tenors, and often it holds a commendable warmth as well….For all Corelli’s élan, the afternoon belongs to Price….Price’s voice is in immaculate condition from the moment of her entrance. Most satisfying is the evenness of timbre throughout the range….one can only marvel at the incredible beauty of her voice, the surety of her technique, and the authority of her performance. What a pleasure it is to hear all the intricate tracery of Verdi’s arias, including some quite scrupulous trills and, in the cadenzas, a pair of neat D-flats….Price confirms her greatness in the fourth act.”
- Paul Jackson, SIGN-OFF FOR THE OLD MET, pp.374-75
“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