Simon Boccanegra (Molinari-Pradelli;  Silveri, Bergonzi, Petri, Monachesi, Giorgetti, Stella)  (2-Warner Cetra 661430)
Item# OP2684
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Product Description

Simon Boccanegra (Molinari-Pradelli;  Silveri, Bergonzi, Petri, Monachesi, Giorgetti, Stella)  (2-Warner Cetra 661430)
OP2684. SIMON BOCCANEGRA, recorded 1951, w.Molinari-Pradelli Cond. RAI Ensemble, Roma; Paolo Silveri, Mario Petri, Walter Monachesi, Giorgio Giorgetti, Carlo Bergonzi, Antonietta Stella, etc. (E.U.) 2-Warner Cetra 2564 661430. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 0825646614301

CRITIC REVIEWS:

"Featured in the title role is one of the finest Verdi baritones of all time, Paolo Silveri as well as highly acclaimed dramatic coloratura Caterina Mancini. Warner Classics is proud to present 18 Verdi opera recordings from the legendary Cetra (Fonit-Cetra) archive of historic mono recordings made in the ‘50s.

Paolo Silveri was an Italian baritone, particularly associated with the Italian repertory, one of the finest Verdi baritones of his time. Silveri studied first in Capestrano (L'Aquila) then in Rome with Perugini and later with Riccardo Stracciari and the bass Giulio Cirino (father of Silveri's wife Delia), making his début there as a bass in 1939. After further studies, he made new début as a baritone in 1944, as Germont in Rome. Thereafter, he rapidly sang throughout Italy, notably at the San Carlo in Naples, and La Scala in Milan, début as de Luna in 1949. He also appeared at the Royal Opera House in London, in 1946, and at the Paris Opéra, début in 1951, as Renato. He made his Metropolitan Opera début in 1950, as Don Giovanni with Fritz Reiner conductor; he also sang Rigoletto and Posa there.

He attempted the role of Otello in 1959, but quickly reverted to baritone roles. He was especially noted for his great interpretations of Verdi operas and some other roles as Scarpia , Figaro, Guglielmo Tell and Don Govanni. He can be heard on complete recordings of NABUCCO, LA TRAVIATA, SIMON BOCCANEGRA, DON CARLO, LA GIOCONDA and TOSCA.

Silveri retired from the stage in 1968 after a last performance of RIGOLETTO in Budapest with his daughter Silvia in the role of Gilda, and taught in Rome, where he died at age 87 in the summer of 2001.”



“Considered the foremost Verdi tenor of his age, Mr. Bergonzi sang more than 300 times with the Metropolitan Opera of New York from the 1950s to the ’80s, appearing opposite a roster of celebrated divas that included Maria Callas, Zinka Milanov, Renata Tebaldi, Risë Stevens, Victoria de los Angeles and Leontyne Price.

A lyric tenor of some vocal heft, Mr. Bergonzi lacked the sonic weight and brilliance of tenors in the Wagnerian mold. But what he did possess was an instrument of velvety beauty and nearly unrivaled subtlety.

‘More than the sound of the voice, it is Mr. Bergonzi’s way of using it that is so special’, Peter G. Davis, reviewing a 1978 Carnegie Hall recital by Mr. Bergonzi, wrote in The New York Times. ‘He is a natural singer in that everything he does seems right and inevitable — the artful phrasing, the coloristic variety, the perfectly positioned accents, the theatrical sense of well-proportioned climaxes, the honest emotional fervor. Best of all, Mr. Bergonzi obviously uses these effects artistically because he feels them rather than intellectualizes them — a rare instinctual gift, possibly the most precious one any musician can possess’. In the view of his many fans, this vocal elegance amply compensated for the fact that Mr. Bergonzi was no actor and, by his own ready admission, no matinee idol. ‘I know I don’t look like Rudolph Valentino’, he told The Times in 1981. ‘I know what a proper physique should be for the parts I sing, but I have tried to learn to act through the voice. The proper, pure expression of the line is the most important thing’.

Mr. Bergonzi began his career as a baritone, and after becoming a tenor a few years later was careful not to push his voice past its natural confines. As a result, he largely escaped the vocal wear that can force singers to retire by the time they reach their early 50s; Mr. Bergonzi, by contrast, continued to sing on prominent stages — and, as critical opinion had it, sing well — into his late 60s.

During World War II, Mr. Bergonzi spent three years in a German concentration camp for his anti-Nazi activities. He returned home after the war, weighing 80 pounds, and resumed singing.

Mr. Bergonzi made his operatic début in 1948 as a baritone, singing the title part in Rossini’s BARBER OF SEVILLE in Lecce, in southern Italy. After coming to realize that tenor parts were better situated for his voice, he made a second début, as a tenor, in the title role in Umberto Giordano’s ANDREA CHÉNIER in Bari in 1951.

In 1955, Mr. Bergonzi made his United States début with the Lyric Theater of Chicago (now the Lyric Opera of Chicago) as Luigi in Puccini’s IL TABARRO. The next year, on 13 November, he made his Met début as Radames opposite Antonietta Stella, also making her début that night. Mr. Bergonzi also appeared at La Scala in Milan — where in 1953 he created the title role in Jacopo Napoli’s opera MAS’ANIELLO, based on the life of Tommaso Aniello, the 17th-century Italian fisherman-turned-revolutionary — and at Covent Garden, where he made his début in 1962 as Don Alvaro in Verdi’s FORZA DEL DESTINO. At the Met, in March 1964, Mr. Bergonzi was a soloist (with Ms. Price, Rosalind Elias and Cesare Siepi) in an acclaimed performance of Verdi’s REQUIEM in memory of President John F. Kennedy, under the baton of Georg Solti.

In 1994, Mr. Bergonzi, then 70, took the stage at Carnegie Hall for what was billed as his American farewell recital. The concert, a program of Italian art songs and arias, concluded with a 50-minute ovation and was warmly reviewed by critics. But as it transpired, that concert was no farewell. In 2000, two months shy of his 76th birthday, Mr. Bergonzi sang the one Verdi role he had never attempted: the title part in OTELLO, one of the most fiendishly demanding tenor roles in opera, in a concert performance with the Opera Orchestra of New York under Eve Queler. His performance — a high-wattage Carnegie Hall affair whose audience included Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Sherrill Milnes, Licia Albanese and Anna Moffo — was, by wide critical consensus, an unreconstructed disaster. ‘It was immediately apparent that there was something wrong’, THE GUARDIAN, the British newspaper, wrote shortly afterward. ‘A grainy tone in the voice inhibited everything. Bergonzi strained audibly in an unsuccessful attempt to reach the high A that caps the triumphant entry phrase’. Mr. Bergonzi withdrew from the performance after two acts, leaving his role in Acts III and IV to be sung by an understudy, Antonio Barasorda. But the younger, supple-voiced Mr. Bergonzi endures on his many recordings, including several of AÏDA (opposite Leontyne Price, Martina Arroyo and Montserrat Caballé); a BOHÈME and a BUTTERFLY opposite Renata Tebaldi; Donizetti’s LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR with Beverly Sills; and a three-record set for Philips on which he sings all of Verdi’s tenor arias.”

- Margalit Fox, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 26 July, 2014