Fidelio  (Toscanini;  Bampton, Peerce, Steber, Janssen)   (2-Immortal Performances IPCD 1007)
Item# OP1985
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Product Description

Fidelio  (Toscanini;  Bampton, Peerce, Steber, Janssen)   (2-Immortal Performances IPCD 1007)
OP1985. FIDELIO, Broadcast Performance, 10 & 17 Dec., 1944, w.Toscanini Cond. NBC S.O.; Rose Bampton, Jan Peerce, Herbert Janssen, Nicola Moscona, Eleanor Steber, etc., including the previously omitted dialogue, the broadcast commentary and ovations and the original ‘Abscheulicher’ never heretofore included; TOSCANINI Cond. NBC S.O.: Leonore Overture, II, Broadcast Performance, 25 Sept., 1945, Carnegie Hall. The bonus adds an electrifying performance of the ‘Leonore Overture #2’, and Ben Grauer interviews Rose Bampton about her singing the role of Leonore, both never before on disc. (Canada) 2–Immortal Performances IPCD 1007. Transfers by Richard Caniell. - 625989620522


"Rose Bampton, an American opera singer who switched from mezzo-soprano to soprano and sang leading roles in both ranges at the Metropolitan Opera….in January, 1940, she appeared at the Met as Aïda one Saturday and as Amneris a week later….By the time she married Wilfrid Pelletier, a conductor at the Met, in 1937 (he died in 1982)…[she] decided to return to the soprano repertory."

- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 23 Aug., 2007

"Rose had one of the finest mezzo-soprano voices I ever heard - and I say that without any hesitation. Stately and beautiful, she was a gifted actress and was never less than total in her study of a new role....Rose's ruby-like mezzo was a phenomenon...."

- Rosa Ponselle, A SINGER'S LIFE, p.13

"The basic tonal quality [of Peerce’s voice] is bright, ringing, and firmly focused on the note….The superior diction that Toscanini so admired is abundantly audible, as is the elegant musicianship and fervent declamation. Most striking of all [Peerce] exudes an infectious self-confidence and absolute security in his vocal personality, virtues that cannot be taught."

- Peter G. Davis, THE AMERICAN OPERA SINGER, p.421

“Jan Peerce was known as ‘Toscanini's tenor’, with his clean, incisive singing, exceptional breath support, and immediately distinctive timbre. After his New York song recital in 1964, Theodore Strongin wrote in The New York Times: ‘He is a phenomenon, a master professional, a tenor of impeccable poise and control. His enunciation is completely clear, no matter what the language. His fortissimos fill the hall. His pianissimos, though remarkably soft, come through as clearly as many singers' fortissimos, so solid is the basic quality of his voice’. Mr. Peerce participated in Toscanini's broadcasts of LA BOHEME, LA TRAVIATA, FIDELIO, UN BALLO IN MASCHERA and the last act of RIGOLETTO. Many of these were released by Victor as commercial recordings. On 14 May, 1941, Mr. Peerce made his stage début as the Duke in RIGOLETTO in Philadelphia. He made his Metropolitan Opera début on 29 Nov., 1941, as Alfredo in LA TRAVIATA. In his Metropolitan Opera years, Mr. Peerce concentrated on the Italian repertory. From 1941 to 1968 at the Met, Mr. Peerce sang 205 performances in 11 operas, plus 119 performances on tour. His last complete stage performance at the Metropolitan Opera took place on 21 Feb, 1966, in DON GIOVANNI. On 16 April, 1966, he was one of the participants in the Metropolitan's farewell gala, the last performance in the old opera house.

‘Basically’, Robert Merrill said, ‘Jan was a lyric tenor with a heavier voice than most lyrics’. Mr. Merrill, the baritone who sang many times with Mr. Peerce, said that the tenor kept his voice to the very end because he never forced. ‘He never went out of his repertory’, Mr. Merrill said. ‘The Met offered him many roles that he refused to accept because he thought they were too heavy for him. Jan stuck to what he knew he could do. He produced a beautiful sound and had a perfect legato. He also had high notes, and who can forget the C he used to take at the end of the first act of BOHEME? Everybody at the Met loved Jan. He had temperament, sure, but never a bothersome ego’.

James Levine, who first heard Mr. Peerce in Cincinnati many years ago and later worked with him professionally, described Mr. Peerce as ‘one of the most extraordinary singers and human beings I have ever known’. He paid tribute to the tenor's ‘stylistic versatility, rhythmic élan, communicative ability and wide repertory’.

When he was not singing at the Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Peerce was giving concerts. He never could stand still. But the basic condition of his voice never changed, and he thrived on a schedule that would have killed most other singers. He also appeared in European opera houses, and in 1956 was the first American ever to sing at the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow since the war.

His films included appearances in CARNEGIE HALL, TONIGHT WE SING and GOODBYE, COLUMBUS. He recorded for many companies. For many years Mr. Peerce was one of the steadiest, most reliable singers before the public. He attributed his vocal longevity to a secure technique.”

- Harold C. Schonberg, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 17 Dec., 1984