V0387. BENIAMINO GIGLI: The Complete HMV Recordings, Vol. II, 1933 - 1935, featuring Songs by Martini, Cottrau, Massenet, Leoncavallo, de Curtis, di Capua, Bixio, Schubert & Melichar; Arias from Paride ed Elena, Xerxes, Andrea Chénier, L’Elisir, Carmen, Tosca, Rigoletto, etc.; w.Mario Basiola, Iva Pacetti, Giuseppe Nessi, etc.; Ghione Cond. La Scala Ensemble: PAGLIACCI (Complete Opera). (England) 2-Romophone 82017. Transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn. Elaborate booklet features discographic data, photos & extensive notes by Alan Blyth. Long out-of-print; Final copy! - 754238201721
“Beniamino Gigli was the least intellectual and most natural of singers, who displayed his uncomplicated emotions in everything he sang. Sometimes the display was a little vulgar, but it was always in heartfelt response to the music, and it had great audience appeal. It still does, in [this] recent Romophone set that contains his HMV recordings from 1933-35 in excellent sound. Still in his 40's, his voice was fresh and sweet, with a lovely warmth in his half voice (in a ravishing ’Una furtiva lagrima’ from Donizetti's L'ELISIR D'AMORE) and full-throated passion in dramatic arias. The second disc is taken up with a 1934 La Scala PAGLIACCI; the sound is antiquated and Franco Ghione's direction is rather sluggish, but Gigli is quite wonderful, Iva Pacetti sings a lovely and well-characterized Nedda, and the whole thing has an Italianate fervor of which we don't hear much these days.”
- Alexander J. Morin, Audiophile Audition
“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
"They're very collectable, these Romophone complete editions. Up they go on the shelves, and you know that there is another small but quite important area in the history of singing on records properly covered, ready for reference at any time, and reference that will be a pleasure because the standard of transfer is so reliable."
- J. B. Steane, GRAMOPHONE, Feb., 1995