OP2917. LA BOHEME, recorded 1929, w.Molajoli Cond. La Scala Ensemble; Rosetta Pampanini, Luigi Marini, Gino Vanelli, Tancredi Pasero, etc. (Italy) 2-Bongiovanni 1125/26. - 8007068112524
“Rosetta Pampanini was taught by the couple Emma and Lorenzo Molajoli and made her début in 1920 at the Teatro Nazionale in Rome as Micaela. Subsequently she appeared at numerous Italian opera houses. In the first years of her career she built up her repertory under Tullio Serafin’s guidance. Of great importance was her association with Pietro Mascagni who often conducted her in his opera IRIS. Pampanini’s success in the rôle re-established the piece from 1898 in the contemporary repertoire. Another significant mentor was Arturo Toscanin i. He conducted the revival of Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY at La Scala in 1925, with Rosetta Pampanini in the title rôle. The 12 performances turned out to be a complete triumph - not least because of the heroine whose artistry ensured that MADAMA BUTTERFLY soon became one of the most popular operas. Not only did Pampanini help to establish MADAMA BUTTERFLY, the rôle of Cio-Cio-San also made he into one of the most splendid Italian artists of the time. She remained at La Scala as long as Toscanini stayed there (until 1930), appearing in a number of world premieres of then contemporary operas as well as in her Puccini repertoire. She also toured with the Scala ensemble. Toscanini invited her to Berlin to sing Manon Lescaut and Madama Butterfly (1929). From 1926 she was a regular guest at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In the season 1931/32 she was engaged as Butterfly, Nedda and Mimì at the Chicago Opera. Further performances at the opera houses of Vienna (1930-1932), Oslo (1933) and Prague (1935) followed. A special occasion was her performance of Mimì in a performance of LA BOHÈME, conducted by Pietro Mascagni in Puccini’s home town, Torre del Lago. From 1937 she turned to more dramatic rôles such as Leonora in LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, Aida and Maddalena . Rosetta Pampanini bade farewell to the stage in 1946. After her retirement she worked as a singing coach and died in 1973.
Rosetta Pampanini was one of the most interesting and prolific Italian sopranos of the veristic period. The operas by Puccini, Giordano, Cilea, Leoncavallo, Mascagni, Montemezzi and Zandonai demand for singers who are able to perform with strong sensitivity and rhetorical ability. Sopranos like Poli-Randaccio, dalla Rizza, Cobezzi, Oltrabella, Bruna Rasa, Favero, Cervi Caroli, Melis, Cigna, Zamboni, Scacciati, Tassinari etc. had much personality, but unfortunately, many of them lacked a sufficient singing technique. There was little conception of legato, enunciation was affected and often unclear, the registers were not fully equalized, the chest register was carried up to G, the middle register remained comparatively weak, and to compensate for this they had a tendency to use too forceful an attack. Rosetta Pampanini, like so many of her contemporaries, could not always resist the temptation to hoist the chest too high, but however, her singing had character with a variety of color and expression. She was one of the few sopranos of her generation who resisted the emphatic delivery including sobs and sighs.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile
“Luigi Marini made his operatic début in Ravenna as Alfredo in Verdi's LA TRAVIATA. After his great success, he appeared at Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo as Enzo Grimaldo in Ponchielli's LA GIOCONDA. In 1910 he made his appearance in Bucharest (Ernesto in DON PASQUALE, Rodolfo in LA BOHÈME). Then, in 1912, he appeared at the Municipal Teatro of Rio de Janeiro, where he sang the roles of B. F. Pinkerton in MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Hangenbach in Catalani's La Wally and Mario Cavaradossi in TOSCA. In the same year he visited Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, where he had enormous successes in the roles of Hangenbach and Rodolfo.
In 1915 he débuted at the Teatro alla Scala di Milano, in the role of Enzo Grimaldo, where he had a great success. In 1921 he returned to La Scala and sang the title roles in IL TABARRO and GIANNI SCHICCHI, and Catalani's LA WALLY. In 1924 he was invited to Covent Garden in London, where he first sang the role of Andrea Chénier. After that Andrea Chénier became Marini's signature role. In 1929 he sang this role in the first complete recording of ANDREA CHÉNIER under the baton Lorenzo Molajoli.
Marini was also successful in Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Teatro Regio di Torino, Teatro San Carlo di Napoli and Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, where he sang the roles of Luigi (IL TABARRO), Rinuccio (GIANNI SCHICCHI), Rodolfo (LA BOHÈME), Faust (Boito's MEFISTOFELE), Enzo Grimaldo (LA GIOCONDA) and Walter (Catalani's LORELEY).
Marini also made his appearances outside Italy: he sang at Oper Zürich, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and Teatro Sao Carlos in Lisbon. Marini ended his operatic career in 1931 after he had sung the role of Andrea Chénier. He died in Ascoli Piceno in 1942.”
"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