Samson et Dalila   (Cleva;  Stevens, Vinay, Sigurd Bjorling, Norman Scott, Luben Vichey)   (2-Walhall 0292)
Item# OP2009
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Samson et Dalila   (Cleva;  Stevens, Vinay, Sigurd Bjorling, Norman Scott, Luben Vichey)   (2-Walhall 0292)
OP2009. SAMSON ET DALILA, Live Performance, 14 March, 1953, w.Cleva Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Rise Stevens, Ramon Vinay, Sigurd Bjorling, Norman Scott, Luben Vichey, etc. (E.U.) 2-Walhall 0292. - 4035122652925

CRITIC REVIEWS:

"The March 1953 Met relay of SAMSON ET DALILA brought two of the house's most highly paid singers of the time as the eponymous opponents. Often, Met broadcasts present soloists who have recorded relevant roles commercially. The Samson here, Ramon Vinay, did not. He is always associated with Otello but had a much wider repertoire, whereas the Dalila, Rise Stevens, who twice recorded excerpts from this opera, had far fewer roles. She is vocally steady, tonally rounded but not particularly sensual. Vinay, though not a paragon of subtlety, is interesting partly because of his dark timbre and his ardency. For him alone this set is worth acquiring. Sigurd Bjorling, forsaking Wagner, sings the High Priest, with slightly grizzled tone. Norman Scott takes a good line in Abimilech's aria, while Luben Vichey brings an even more bass sound to the Old Hebrew. Fausto Cleva conducts in a clear recording."

- John T. Hughes, CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY, Winter, 2010





�By the time Ris� Stevens was 18, she was appearing regularly, sometimes in leading roles, with the Little Theater Opera Company, a Brooklyn troupe. (The company was later known as the New York Op�ra-Comique). In the audience one night was Anna Sch�n-Ren�, a well-known voice teacher on the faculty of the Juilliard School. She began teaching Ms. Stevens privately, and arranged for her to attend Juilliard on a scholarship, starting in the fall of 1933. Ms. Stevens spent two and a half years at Juilliard, where she continued her studies with Sch�n-Ren�. Though Ms. Stevens had been considered a contralto, Sch�n-Ren� discerned her true vocal register and helped lighten her voice for mezzo roles. In 1935, financed by Sch�n-Ren�, Ms. Stevens spent the summer at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, where her teachers included the distinguished soprano Marie Gutheil-Sch�der.

Ms. Stevens returned to Europe, making her formal operatic d�but in Prague, as Mignon, in 1936. Joining the Met in 1938, she made her first appearance with the company on 22 Nov., singing Octavian out of town in Philadelphia. On 17 Dec., she performed for the first time on the Metropolitan Opera stage in New York, singing Mignon.

In Ms. Stevens� 351 regular appearances at the Met, her professionalism was perhaps never more apparent than it was in one of her many productions of SAMSON ET DALILA. Playing the temptress Dalila, Ms. Stevens reclined on a chaise longue to sing the aria �Mon coeur s�ouvre � ta voix�, among the most famous seductions in opera. One night, overcome with theatrical passion, Samson flung himself onto her mid-aria. Samson did not know his own strength. Under his considerable force, the chaise longue, on casters, began to move. Ms. Stevens sailed offstage and into the wings, still singing."

- Margalit Fox, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 21 March, 2013





Chilean tenor Ramn Vinay began his career as a baritone, later reworking his voice to the tenor range. For a decade or so, Vinay was a force to be reckoned with, a wonderful singing actor who excelled in such roles as Don Jos, Samson, Canio, and Otello. In the mid-late 1950s, the top notes became ever more precarious for Vinay, and he eventually returned to the baritone repertoire, and even some bass roles. Though Vinay was born in Chile, his father was French, and he studied in France. Its not surprising then, that Vinays French pronunciation and grasp of the Gallic opera style are expert. And what sets Vinays Jos apart from other great exponents of [French repertoire], even legendary French artists, is the Chilean tenors arresting combination of a rich, vibrant, baritonal middle register with ringing high notes. It is true that, like many tenors who began as baritones, Vinay has some difficulty in scaling back his voice, particularly in the upper register.

- Ken Meltzer, FANFARE, March / April, 2018