OP2257. IL TROVATORE, recorded 1930, w.Molajoli Cond. La Scala Ensemble; Bianca Scacciati, Francesco Merli, Giuseppina Zinetti, Enrico Molinari, etc.; BIANCA SCACCIATI: Loreley – O forze recondite; Duets w.FRANCESCO MERLI from Ruy Blas, Il Guarany & Loreley; BIANCA SCACCIATI, FRANCESCO MERLI & NAZZARENO DE ANGELIS: I Lombardi – Qual voluttà trascorrerre. (E.U.) 2-Naxos 8.110162/63. Transfers by Ward Marston. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! – 636943116227
“All the artists here enjoyed considerable success in the international field and sang at most of the world’s leading opera houses….Scacciati’s searing top is certainly not for all tastes, but she was an interesting artist who, several, long-departed friends affirmed, could be thrilling in the opera house….Merli (a de Lucia pupil, believe it or not) is a fine if unsubtle Manrico….Molinari sings Di Luna with warm tone and a good line, and Zambelli’s Ferrando is another positive boon….the whole performance carries great conviction and is ably conducted by the ever reliable Molajoli. It has been excellently transferred. Hearing it again after a break of about 50 years is a potent proof of what has been lost in the operatic world.”
- Vivian A. Liff, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2011
“Two TROVATORES were recorded at La Scala in 1930. The first, reissued here, was recorded by Italian Columbia and released on 28 shellac sides. The second, recorded by HMV, was released on 30 sides. It is astonishing to think that the same opera house recorded the same work twice in the course of six months, but with a completely different cast of principals and a different conductor. The HMV recording has been reissued by Romophone (89003-2). It features a starrier cast (tenor Aureliano Pertile, baritone Apollo Granforte, and mezzo Irene Minghini-Cattaneo) and conductor Carlo Sabajno (with extensive deputizing by Gino Nastrucci), and is generally more satisfying. However, both recordings feature a style of Verdi performance which is dead today. In 1930, TROVATORE was less then 80 years old, but it already had been overrun by the ‘realistic’ verismo style that had prevailed in Italy in the early decades of the 20th century. Also, Verdi's score was not treated as a sacred document, as would be the case later in the century. The result is a daredevil performance in which the singers throw their voices around with abandon and give vent to every interpretive quirk in their armament. Singers and composer square off, and if it is hard to tell who has won when the dust clears, no one can say that they were bored.
Probably the most memorable singer here is Molinari. He wraps his beautiful voice around ‘Il balen del suo sorriso’ as a lesson in cantabile singing, and he avoids coarseness in a rôle that practically invites it. Zambelli is a solid, characterful Ferrando. While not as fine as HMV's hair-raising Minghini-Cattaneo, Zinetti is an intense Azucena with nary a hint of vocal frailty. The tenor and soprano are a little more problematic. Merli's ‘Ah, sì, ben mio’ is gorgeous, but his tone becomes dry when he pushes his voice, and he is not dramatically imaginative; this is a Manrico who plants his feet and sings. Scacciati, a respected soprano at the time, usually sounds too matronly to be an effective Leonora. On the other hand, she has some impressive tricks up her sleeve, including chains of imposing trills in ‘D'amor sull'ali rosee’.”
- Raymond Tuttle, classical.net
"The shadowy figure of Lorenzo Molajoli is a mystery in the annals of opera. Nothing seems to be known of his career other than that he conducted many recordings in the 1920's and 1930's, mostly for Columbia in Milan. From the evidence of those discs he was clearly a very competent musician, experienced at handling large orchestral and vocal forces - and yet where? What can be established is that he served with considerable distinction as the house conductor in Milan for Italian Columbia, recording complete operas and accompanying a large number of singers, in addition to making recordings of a number of operatic overtures. Molajoli conducted twenty complete or abridged operas for Columbia between 1928 and 1932.”
- Paul Campion