OP2336. SIMON BOCCANEGRA, Live Performance, 18 Feb., 1961, w.Verchi Cond. Renata Tebaldi, Frank Guarrera, Richard Tucker, Giorgio Tozzi, Ezio Flagello, Norman Scott, etc.
(E.U.) 2-Walhall 0359. Specially priced. - 4035122653595
“Again Tebaldi convinces us that she is indeed a heroic Verdi soprano – she can throw a grand phrase out into the house in commanding fashion….Tebaldi’s top voice gives her no trouble this afternoon….The rôle of Maria/Amelia is admirably tailored to Tebaldi’s gifts….there is comfort in the more imposing creation which Guarrera achieves in his second broadcast. The baritone had been granted the season première and additional performances as well, and experience and further study show themselves in his meaningful reading of every line of text and each musical phrase. He is in firm vocal form….”
- Paul Jackson, SIGN-OFF FOR THE OLD MET, pp.258-60
“Renata Tebaldi faced great physical difficulties when she contracted polio at the age of three. Overcoming her disability, she later studied voice at the Arrigo Boito Conservatory in Parma with the great soprano Carmen Melis. Her first public appearance came in 1944 as Elena in Boito's MEFISTOFELE at the Teatro Municipale in Rovigo. That same year she repeated the role in Parma and Venice. Arturo Toscanini heard her and asked her to participate in the reopening of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 1946. She also sang the Verdi REQUIEM there that year, as well as Mimì in LA BOHEME and Eva in DIE MEISTERSINGER (in Italian). From 1949 to 1954, she sang frequently at La Scala, but she left over bitter feelings regarding Maria Callas, her only real rival as prima donna of the company. During this time, she also sang regularly in many of the important opera houses in Italy. She was also heard in South America and was a favorite in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. In 1950, she débuted at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden as Desdemona in OTELLO and at the San Francisco Opera as Aïda. She was a regular guest at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 1955, she made her Metropolitan Opera début as Desdemona and remained a favorite of the New York public for the next 20 years. She sang most her important roles in New York. These are the same roles that she sang at opera houses in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. Besides her work in opera, Tebaldi appeared in recital and in concerts. Her recital programs consisted primarily of Italian songs and operatic arias.
Tebaldi's voice was a very powerful spinto soprano of great beauty. She was able to sustain a long lyric line with little trouble and in the early years of her career she exhibited good control of florid passages. The extreme top of the range was lovely when singing softly, but tended to lose pitch when sung at full volume. Toscanini considered her voice one of the most beautiful in the twentieth century, and early in her career some critics felt that she was slighting the drama. She went through a vocal crisis in the early 1960s, but returned having restudied her voice and added more dramatic roles such as Gioconda and Minnie in LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST to her repertoire and at the same time becoming a more intense actress. She was very careful about the roles she sang and how often she would sing. Rudolf Bing is quoted saying that ‘Tebaldi has dimples of steel’, a sentiment echoed by many other managers. Her many recordings document the range of repertoire she sang and the great artistry she displayed.”
- Richard LeSueur, allmusic.com
"...for some thirty years, until his sudden death in 1975, Tucker's vocal security, boundless energy, unceasing enthusiasm, and thorough professionalism ensured a level of popularity that necessitated comparisons to some of his greatest predecessors....Tucker sang thrillingly and delivered the goods, communicating his own joy in singing to all who would listen...."
- Marc Mandel, FANFARE, May/June, 1997