OP3116. TOSCA, recorded 1938, w.de Fabritiis Cond. Rome Opera Ensemble; Maria Caniglia, Beniamino Gigli, Armando Borgioli, etc.; TOSCA - Excerpts (in French), w.Cloëz Cond. Ninon Vallin, Enrico di Mazzei, Arthur Endrèze & Paul Payan - recorded 1931. (Canada) 2-Naxos 8.110096/97. Transfers by Ward Marston. Final Sealed Copy! - 636943109625
“For a remarkably long period of time that spanned the second quarter of the 20th century…Beniamino Gigli was the most important Italian lyric tenor of the operatic world. Yes, there were others, notably Tito Schipa, but none with the breadth of repertoire and the career longevity of Gigli. And then there was that unique sound – melting, sweet, unlike any other….This is, without question, one of the most important and satisfying singers of the 20th century.”
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE, July/Aug., 2005
“Beniamino Gigli was born in Recanati, Italy in 1890 and in 1914 made his début in Rovigo in LA GIOCONDA. He soon sang throughout Italy and, from 1919, in South America; 1920 saw his phenomenal début as Faust in MEFISTOFELE at the Met, where he stayed for twelve seasons. First heard at Covent Garden in 1930 in ANDREA CHÉNIER, he returned both before and after the war, and sang in many European cities in opera and concert. At his best in Verdi and Puccini, his golden tone made him universally popular throughout the world. Gigli died in Rome in 1957.
Born in 1905, the Neapolitan soprano Maria Caniglia made her début at the age of 25. She then sang regularly at La Scala, including BALLO IN MASCHERA in 1941, her final performances there being in 1951. Caniglia appeared at the Metropolitan in 1938/9 and at Covent Garden before the war and during the 1950 La Scala visit. She created rôles in contemporary operas, but was best heard in nineteenth century lyric/dramatic Italian repertory and verismo. Her recordings, including complete performances of TOSCA, AÏDA and DON CARLOS, show a rich, dramatic voice, occasionally imperfect in intonation but undeniably exciting. Caniglia died in 1979.
Armando Borgioli was born in 1898, a native of Florence. His début in 1923 was followed by success at Milan’s Teatro Carcano in 1925 as Amonasro, and from 1927 he sang regularly at La Scala. He appeared at Covent Garden for several seasons from 1927, and between 1931 and 1935 at the Metropolitan Opera, New York; equally popular on his South American visits as in Italy, and singing principally Italian nineteenth century and verismo rôles, Borgioli occasionally ventured into other repertory, including Telramund (with Gigli as Lohengrin) in 1926. Borgioli died in 1945 during a bombing raid near Modena.
Oliviero de Fabritiis was born in 1902 in Rome, where he also studied at the Conservatory. He made his début at the Adriano Theatre there in 1920 and subsequently conducted extensively throughout Italy. Appointed Artistic Secretary of the Teatro dell’Opera, and conducting several notable premières, in 1938 he led the opening season of opera at Rome’s Caracalla Baths. De Fabritiis made his Covent Garden début in 1965 and in 1971 was appointed Artistic Director of the Vienna Festival. He was an imaginative and expressive maestro, well represented by complete operas on record. De Fabritiis died in Rome in 1982.”
- Paul Campion