OP1927. LA TRAVIATA, Live Performance, 6 April, 1957, w.Cleva Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Renata Tebaldi, Giuseppe Campora, Leonard Warren, etc.; Serafin Cond. Maggio Fiorentino Ensemble, w.Renata Tebaldi, Nicola Filacuridi & Ugo Savarese: LA TRAVIATA – Excerpts, 6 May, 1956. (E.U.) 2-Walhall 0266. - 4035122652666
“I heard Tebaldi many times, as a standee at the old Metropolitan Opera House from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s, and I never stopped marveling at the sheer beauty of the voice, her ability to project a pianissimo throughout the auditorium so that even though the note was extraordinarily soft, it sounded as if she were standing right next to you. The plushness of tone was probably the most unique feature of her singing, and along with that an innate sense of the appropriate shape of the phrase she was singing. She was not a subtle actress, never inflecting every phrase with subtexts of meaning the way Callas could, but nor was she a disengaged singer just pouring out lovely sounds. Her acting, both physical and vocal, was sincere and convincing, and at times very powerful. Her Butterfly broke your heart every time, through the moving way she shaped the ebb and flow of the music. There was no way you could see her as a 15 year old geisha, but by the wedding scene of the first act you were a complete believer.
Above all, there was that voice. It was immediately recognizable, distinctive, unlike any other. If you tuned in to a radio broadcast without hearing an announcement, two notes would be enough to identify the richly colored, luxurious sonority of the Tebaldi sound, a sound that caressed the ear and at the same time enveloped you. For many of us it was the sound that defined what an Italian soprano should be.”
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
“Warren has another glorious afternoon. Singing most often at the quieter dynamics, he pours forth a stream of impeccable tone in faultless legato….Tebaldi is the healthiest rose that ever bloomed….her healthy tone can be relished.”
- Paul Jackson, SIGN-OFF FOR THE OLD MET, pp.183-84
“[Campora] had a true lyric spinto voice, a fine stage presence, and excellent technique, so it is surprising that he was never really ranked with the top tenors of his time….he sings with some sensitivity and a varied dynamic range.”
- Vivian A. Liff, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2007
"Born in Tortona, Italy, on 30 September 1923, tenor Giuseppe Campora made his professional operatic début when stepping in on short notice for Galiano Masini in 1949 at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari as Rodolfo in Puccini's LA BOHEME. Shortly after, in 1951, he was wanted by Toscanini for La Scala in a performance of Cilea's ADRIANA LECOUVREUR, opposite star soprano Renata Tebaldi. The performance set the pace for his rapidly ascending international reputation, marked by his efforts in the filmatization of AïDA in 1951 with Sophia Loren in the title rôle, where Campora sang the tenor voice and Renata Tebaldi the soprano parts.
The following year he visited the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro as well as taking part in the La Scala premiere of Lodovico Roccas L'URAGANO in 1952 and the 1954 première at the Teatro San Carlo of Napoli in I PESCATORI by Jacopo Napoli. He débuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Rodolfo in LA BOHEME, where he came to be one of Rudolf Bing's favourite tenors, and enjoyed popularity with the house during the '50s. He was the featured tenor for Maria Callas' Met début in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR."
"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