OP2929. LES PÊCHEURS DE PERLES (in Italian), Live Performance, 10 Dec., 1960, w.La Rosa Parodi Cond. RAI Ensemble, Milano: Alfredo Kraus, Pina Malgarini, Giuseppe Taddei & Carlo Cava; LES PÊCHEURS DE PERLES (in Italian) - Excerpts, Live Performance, 4 Jan., 1959, w.de Fabritiis Cond. Teatro San Carlo Ensemble; Ferruccio Tagliavini, Marcella Pobbe, Ugo Savarese & Carlo Cava. (E.U.) 2-Walhall 0299. - 4035122652994
“The matter with Kraus is that he inaudibly makes tension grow before the emotional climaxes of the operas so that when they finally arrive, the audiences are unconsciously frenzied, awaiting for what is to come.
A leading lyric tenor of his generation, Alfredo Kraus parlayed his vocal and artistic gifts into one of the longest and best managed careers in recent memory. Always careful -- both in choice of roles and in the regulation of his performing schedule - not to overextend himself, he achieved a degree of consistency and longevity that kept him active professionally well into his sixties, always applauded for his youthful tone and delivery. Among his vocal assets were an admirable top extension - which included an enviable D above high C - a warm tone, and an instinctive feel for the shape of phrases, especially in French repertory. He, Carlo Bergonzi, and Nicolai Gedda were noted for their style, refinement, and musicianship in an era when, especially in Italian opera, tenors often neglected such qualities. He starred in the title role of Viladamot's 1959 film GAYARRE, a biography of the famous Spanish tenor.
While he studied music as a youngster, Kraus had no intention of becoming a professional singer, until friends and family began encouraging him to do so. In taking up vocal studies, Kraus avoided heavier repertory and focused on the bel canto ‘tenore di grazia’ parts that he knew were right for his voice. At the age of 28, he won first prize at the Geneva Competition, and a representative of the Cairo Opera, who was present at the auditions, offered him the role of the Duke in RIGOLETTO; he made his professional opera début at the Cairo Opera in that role in 1956. His great success there was followed by equally gratifying appearances in Venice, Turin, and Barcelona, and in 1958, he appeared in LA TRAVIATA with Maria Callas in Lisbon - the ‘Lisbon TRAVIATA’. In 1959, he sang Arturo in I PURITANI for the first time, made his La Scala and Covent Garden débuts, followed by his Metropolitan Opera début in 1965 and Salzburg début in 1968. In Rome, he sang his first WERTHER, a role that, like Arturo, was to become one of his signatures.
Aside from his fine sense of the musical nuance and phrasing, his portrayal of the mentally unstable, morbid, masochistic, and manipulative character of Werther has been acclaimed as one of the most effective and insightful readings ever. During the 1980s, he began to limit the number of his performances even further (at the peak of his career, he never sang more than 50 in a year), and started to turn his attention to teaching, although even in the 1990s he still had an active performing schedule. Kraus died on 10 September, 1999, after an extended illness.”
"Taddei is splendid, one of Italy’s greatest baritones, with a voice rich and powerful as well as gorgeous…..What a pity Taddei never had a major career at the Met….His great Verdi singing and acting at age 69 [while at the Met] would put many baritones half his age to shame.”
- Michael Mark, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 201
“There used to be a saying in Italy: ‘We gave the rest of the world Tito Gobbi, but we kept Giuseppe Taddei for ourselves’. Whatever the respective merits of these two baritones who dominated the scene in the early postwar period, Taddei was undoubtedly a superb artist and, in fact, possessed the superior voice. It was voluminous, richly mellifluous and admirably flexible. He handled it with immense intelligence and he kept his vocal faculties intact over a career spanning 50 years. Taddei’s repertory was vast — more than 100 rôles. Having made his rôle début as Falstaff in the late 1940s, he was still singing the rôle under Karajan in Salzburg more than three decades later and at his belated Metropolitan Opera début in 1985. His warm, rounded tone and subtle underlining of notes and text made him an ideal Falstaff, a portrayal that, fortunately, has been preserved on records and video. Few Italian baritones have exhibited the exceptional versatility that was Taddei’s hallmark. Apart from the accomplishments of his singing, he was a stage being through and through, able with a gesture or facial expression to create character and mood. The longevity of his career is evidence enough of the solidity of his technique. Taddei died at his home in Rome, 2 June, 2010.”
- THE SUNDAY TIMES, 5 June, 2010
"Known as a versatile artist effective in dramatic and comic roles…[Taddei] had an ample, warm, and smooth voice and was a very fine vocal actor, delivering the many declamatory passages with excellent diction."
- Kurt Moses, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, July/Aug., 2005