OP2212. LA BOHEME, Live Performance, 3 Nov., 1961, w.Schick Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Victoria de los Angeles, Barry Morell, Lorenzo Testi, Heidi Krall, Fernando Corena, etc. (E.U.) 2-Myto 00288. - 0801439902886
“De los Angeles’ voice is entirely responsive to her commands. The first-act narrative holds a certain tonal opulence, especially when she accepts spring’s first kiss….How appropriate that de los Angeles should depart the broadcasts not with a resounding high note, but with an unobtrusive murmur. Restraint was always the watchword of her artistry.”
- Paul Jackson, SIGN-OFF FOR THE OLD MET, p.483
“For sheer loveliness of timbre, affecting sensitivity, elegance of line and utter ease in florid passagework, de los Angeles was hard to top. By the 1950s she was a mainstay of opera houses around the world and widely admired for her portrayals of leading lyric soprano roles, including Puccini's Mimi and Madama Butterfly, Verdi's Violetta, Massenet's Manon, Bizet's Carmen and Debussy's Mélisande. Though her sound was not enormous, she knew how to project her voice so that it carried effortlessly in the opera house. She even sang lighter Wagner roles with effectiveness and allure, including Elisabeth in TANNHÄUSER, the role of her 1961 Bayreuth Festival debut in Germany, and Eva in DIE MEISTERSINGER.
‘We are a people that sings naturally’, she said in a 1980 interview, adding, ‘When we have a sorrow, it is a wonderful sorrow; when we have a happiness, it is a wonderful happiness, it is a big happiness’."
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 16 Jan., 2005
"Born Victória Gómez Cima into a humble Catalan family in Barcelona, she studied at the Barcelona Conservatory, graduating in just three years in 1941 at age 18. That year, she made her operatic debut as Mimì at the Liceu, but then resumed her musical studies. In 1945, she returned to the Liceu to make her professional debut as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro. After winning first prize in the Geneva International Competition in 1947, she sang Salud in Falla's LA VIDA BREVE with the BBC in London in 1948. In 1949 she made her first appearance in the Paris Opéra as Marguerite. The following year, she debuted in Salzburg and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Mimi, and the United States with a recital at Carnegie Hall. In March, 1951, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York as Marguerite, singing with the company for ten years. She made noted recordings of LA VIDA BREVE, LA BOHEME, PAGLIACCI, and MADAMA BUTTERFLY. The last three paired her with renowned tenor Jussi Björling. She also sang at La Scala in Milan from 1950 to 1956. In 1957 she sang at the Vienna State Opera. After making her debut at the Bayreuth Festival as Elisabeth in 1961, she devoted herself principally to a concert career. However, for the next twenty years, she continued to make occasional appearances in one of her favourite operatic roles, Carmen. She was among the first Spanish-born operatic singers to record the complete opera in 1958, a recording conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham using the recitatives added by Ernest Guiraud after Bizet's death. Though Carmen lay comfortably in her range, she nevertheless sang major soprano roles, best known of which were Donna Anna, Manon, Nedda, Desdemona, Cio-Cio-San, Mimi, Violetta and Mélisande. Like Montserrat Caballé, she was a true exponent of bel canto singing. De los Ángeles performed regularly in song recitals with pianists Gerald Moore and Geoffrey Parsons, occasionally appearing with other eminent singers, such as Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. On January 15 2005, Victoria de los Ángeles died of heart failure in Barcelona at age 81."
- Zillah Dorset Akron
“Barry Morell, a tenor who sang leading roles for 21 years at the Metropolitan Opera as well as at other major international houses, sang 7 leading roles in 22 performances in his first year with the Metropolitan Opera, a record that, it was claimed at the time, was matched by only two other tenors, Enrico Caruso and Edward Johnson.
Jay S. Harrison, the music critic for THE NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE at the time of Mr. Morell's début, described his voice as 'a glorious instrument - true, vibrant, splashed with silver’.
At 17 he made his stage debut singing 'Ol' Man River' at a benefit for the New York City Actors' Fund, on Broadway. That song is generally taken by a deep voice, and Mr. Morell indeed believed he was a baritone for many years. Mr. Morell eventually met Giuseppe Danise, a noted pedagogue who had married his star pupil, the soprano Bidú Sayão. 'First of all, you are not a baritone; you are a tenor’, Danise is supposed to have said. 'Now we shall see whether you can become a singer’ [and] after six years of study, Mr. Morell made his début as Pinkerton in 1955 with what was then known as the New York City Center Opera Company. Two and a half years later the Met invited him to audition, and Rudolf Bing signed him up with the company, where his début, in the same role, was in 1958. He appeared at Covent Garden, the Vienna Staatsoper, Berlin, Barcelona, and many other international houses, including the Rome Opera, where his debut as Cavaradossi was received with a 15-minute ovation.
- Anne Midgette, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 8 Dec., 2003