OP1706. IL TROVATORE, Live Performance, 27 Dec., 1947, w.Cooper Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Stella Roman, Jussi Björling, Leonard Warren, Margaret Harshaw, Giacomo Vaghi, etc. (E.U.) 2-West Hill Radio Archives WHRA 6010. Transfers by Ward Marston. Temporarily out-of-stock. - 4015023160101
“Stella Roman, née Florica Vierica Alma Stela Blasu, was born in Cluj, Romania. She studied in Rome with Giuseppina Baldassare-Tedeschi and made her Italian début at Piacenza in 1932. After appearing successfully at the Rome Opera, she sang the rôle of the Empress in the La Scala première of DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN in 1940. She made her Metropolitan début as Aïda in 1941. During the 1940s she alternated with Zinka Milanov in big Italian rôles. She appeared at San Francisco during the same period, where her rôles included Donna Anna, Mimi and the Marschallin, a rôle she repeated at the San Carlo in Naples in 1951.
According to one commentator, ‘An unorthodox and sometimes hectic technique prevented the singer and her warm, beautiful lirico-dramatic voice from achieving greatness, but she was a fascinating artist capable of effortless, high pianissimos and vibrant climaxes, as can be heard in off-the-air performances from the Metropolitan, notably her Amelia (UN BALLO IN MASCHERA) and Desdemona'.”
- Z. D. Akron
"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
“Margaret Harshaw (made her professional début in the dramatic mezzo-soprano rôle of Azucena in IL TROVATORE with The Philadelphia Operatic Society in 1934. She entered the graduate program at The Juilliard School in 1936, where she studied with Anna E. Schoen-René, who had been a student of Pauline Viardot-García and her brother Manuel García. It was at Juilliard where Harshaw, after singing the rôle of Dido in Purcell’s DIDO AND AEANEAS, met Walter Damrosch who prophesied: ‘My child, one day you will be Brünnhilde!’. She won the Metropolitan Opera’s ‘Auditions on the Air’ in 1942, and made her Met début as the second Norn in Wagner’s GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG. Gifted with an extended range, Harshaw sang many mezzo-soprano rôles for the next nine seasons before she entered soprano territory in 1951 when she sang the rôle of Senta in THE FLYING DUTCHMAN. By 1954 she had inherited the mantel of Kirsten Flagstad and Helen Traubel, and sang all the leading Wagnerian soprano rôles, including Isolde, Brünnhilde, Elisabeth, Kundry and Sieglinde. Harshaw retired in 1964 from the Metropolitan Opera after having sung 375 performances of 38 rôles in 25 works over 22 consecutive seasons. She then became a professor of voice at Indiana University in 1962, where she taught until 1993. She also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music and Westminster Choir College. Among her many students are Benita Valente, Vinson Cole, Matthew Polenzani, etc."
- Daniel James Shigo