V0100. HINA SPANI: Songs by Caccini & Campi; Arias from Faust, Pagliacci, Tosca, Il Trovatore, Ballo, Manon, La Wally, Guillaume Tell, Manon Lescaut, La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, Otello & Lohengrin; HINA SPANI & PAOLO MASINI: Cavalleria - Tu qui, Santuzza?; HINA SPANI & APOLLO GRANFORTE: Pagliacci - Decidi il mio destin. (England) Pearl 9196, recorded 1927-30. Transfers by Keith Hardwick. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 727031919629
gKeith Hardwick has been able to fulfil his long-held ambition, and this exquisite artist is worthily commemorated. Spani's name will be well-known to specialists, for the recordings she made between 1927 and 1931 (the early Columbias are hardly ever found) are highly esteemed among collectors. But outside that circle there are probably few in this country who remember her at all; she never sang here and her records had only a short life in the catalogues. Yet it was a distinguished career that brought her repeatedly to La Scala and the Colon, and an honourable one in which for some 30 years, and in, we are told, nearly 100 cities, she appeared in over 70 operatic roles supplemented by a large and enterprising concert repertoire. Records preserve nothing of her Donna Anna, Lady Macbeth or Sieglinde, let alone her Ottavia in L'INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA, Leonora in OBERTO, or the Bach Schubert, Debussy and Prokofiev that figured in her recitals. They do, however, give a representative sample, and in almost everything she does we recognize an imaginative approach and a sensitive touch that had clearly become habitual.
Classiccis her BALLO IN MASCHERA aria, beautifully shaded, broadly phrased and intensely dramatic: the two solos from LOHENGRIN are beautifully performed, the Song to the Breezes musing gently, the Dream bringing the strong heroic metal of the voice into play. La Wally in Catalani's opera was one of her favourite roles, and there is infinite sadness in the repeated emai piuf towards the end of this aria. Here is one of the most scrupulous early recordings of eVissi d'artef and one of the most subtly shaded of Manon's eIn quelle trine morbidef. The songs all show intelligence and taste: a rare delicacy, for example, in Scarlatti's eSe Florindo e fedelef, a radiance in Dvorak's Gypsy Songs, grace and gaiety in Granados' eEl majo discretof. If any collector of originals is so fortunate as to have all these he will still find the album worth acquiring, for the surfaces are here cleaned up like new, the voice emerging with thrilling freshness, clear in its most indrawn pianissimo, vibrant and dramatic when opened out at full power. This is one of the most delectable gems [and] I would strongly advise immediate investment.'
- Desmond Shawe-Taylor, GRAMOPHONE, Nov., 1987
gHina Spani's career was centered mostly in South America, Spain and Italy. She appeared neither at the Met nor in England or Germany. This may be the reason why she is still underrated. She enjoyed a long and successful career and sang opposite the greatest singers such as Caruso, Chaliapin, Bonci, De Angelis, Ruffo, Stracciari, Gigli and many others. Hina Spani was a true dramatic soprano. Her upper register was particularly remarkable, coupled with brilliance and a fine attack. She was very responsive to changing moods and to the sense of words. She made some of the most satisfying and exciting operatic records to be heard from the early years of electrical recordings. With Hina Spani we can learn what impassioned singing is about!"
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile