OP1900. MARINA (Arrieta) – Excerpts (Complete, as recorded), recorded 1929, w.Montorio Cond. Mercedes Capsir, Hipólito Lázaro, José Mardones & Marcos Redondo. (England) Symposium 1382. - 760411382026
“One of the great black holes in Western opera, at least as far as the average opera fan goes, is the world of Spanish zarzuela. Usually comic and comparable to Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, zarzuelas last about an hour and -- back in the form's ‘golden age’, which lasted from about 1870 until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 - three to four would have been seen in the course of an evening. Recordings of zarzuela may be difficult to find outside of Spanish-speaking lands, but they are reasonably common and were so even in the historical, pre-Civil War period. MARINA (1855) by Emilio Arrieta y Corera is one of the few zarzuelas preceding the Golden Age that remains in the active zarzuela repertoire, and it maintains a strong hold therein; it remains one of the most popular works of the Spanish theater. Musically, it is almost indistinguishable from Italian opera in the manner of Bellini or Donizetti, and it requires strong singers to carry the lead roles. This recording, made in 1929, followed a spectacular revival of the work at the Teatro Liceu in Barcelona. It has four of the great golden-age zarzuela singers who fortunately were captured in the electric 78rpm process."
- Richard Traubner, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, July/Aug., 2010
“This transfer of a pristine set of records is as good as it gets. Full details of the original discs, an account of the background to the opera and biographies of the singers are provided. This is a self-recommending reissue of a fascinating and historical important recording….Some sensuous Spanish songs from Redondo [are featured]….”
- Robert Bunyard, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2009
“Lázaro’s upper register was remarkable not only for the power and ringing quality of its high B naturals, and, at the outset of his career, its high Cs, but also for its capacity to sustain with ease long phrases on high F and high G in the manner dear to the ‘verismo’ composers, and to Mascagni in particular.”
- Rodolfo Celletti, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 1964
"In 1891 José Mardones appeared for the first time at the Teatro de la Opera in Buenos Aires and at the Opera de Rio de Janeiro. Until the end of the century he mostly sang in Spanish opera houses and Zarzuela theatres. From 1909-1010 and 1913-16 he was engaged at the Boston Opera. In 1913 he was invited by Arturo Toscanini to sing the bass solo in Verdi’s REQUIEM. In 1917 he changed to the Met and appeared there until 1926 where he outshone Adamo Didur, Andrés de Segurola and Léon Rothier by the splendour of his voice. He sang in Spontini’s LA VESTALE opposite Rosa Ponselle who was deeply impressed by his voice. In 1926 he returned to his native country where he was active until the time of his death.
His voice is a sonorous basso profondo, its range extending more than two octaves to a phenomenal easy top (he was able to sing ‘Celeste Aïda’ in the original key!). You will notice a narrow vibrato which gives his voice a vibrant quality. He is at his best in Silva’s aria ‘Infelice e tuo credevi’ and in Zaccaria’s ‘Del futuro nel buio discerno’.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile