Giovanni Martinelli                (2-Preiser 89213)
Item# V1951
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Product Description

Giovanni Martinelli                (2-Preiser 89213)
V1951. GIOVANNI MARTINELLI: The Acoustic Recordings, incl. Songs by Tosti, Mascagni, Bizet, Leoncavallo & Roxas; Arias & Scenes from Aïda, Tosca, La Gioconda, Manon Lescaut, Iris, La Boheme, Rigoletto, Pagliacci, Ballo, Il Trovatore, Madama Butterfly, Zazà, Don Carlos, Ernani, La Traviata, Don Pasquale, Cavalleria, Lucia, Marta, Carmen, Guillaume Tell, L'Africaine, Werther, Faust & Eugen Onégin. (Austria) 2-Preiser 89213, recorded 1913-23. Long out-of-print, final copy! – 717281892131


“Almost invariably, the music you have heard [Martinelli] sing bears his stamp upon it....breathtaking moments when no breath is taken, so that the line is continuous, the voice achieving a violinist's breadth of phrase. Then there is the musical intelligence to see structure clearly...or the sensitivity to nuance and modulation, always marked by something responsive in the singer's inflection....there is always something to remember...almost certainly the silvery beauty which the voice itself can have becomes a treasured possession."

- J.B. Steane, GRAMOPHONE, Oct., 1989

“Martinelli remains a legend of stamina and longevity in the opera world, particularly for a heroic tenor, a type of voice not always associated with longevity. He made his opera début in 1908 and sang his last performance in 1967. His voice was not, by contemporary accounts, as huge as that of most heroic tenors, but he had such strong focus and projection that he more than compensated for this perceived shortfall. Particularly at the Met, Martinelli was considered Caruso's successor in the more dramatic rôles, as Gigli was in the more lyrical ones. Martinelli had a strong sense of legato phrasing, powerful breath control, and a distinctive timbre, although some listeners found it overly metallic. Martinelli made more use of rubato than what would be permitted in post-1970s practice, but unlike most heroic tenors of any era, he generally sang, rather than slurred, grace notes.

In 1910, Martinelli sang the title rôle of Ernani at La Scala, and was promptly invited to audition for the Italian première of LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST (which had premiered at the Met with Caruso.) After some hesitation over his lack of experience, Puccini and Toscanini chose him, and later, according to one story, he was Puccini's choice for the world première of TURANDOT, but the Met management would not release Martinelli from his contract.

In 1912 he made his Covent Garden début as Cavaradossi in TOSCA, and his Met début in 1913 -- the first of an eventual 663 performances at the Met. 1913 was also the year of the posthumous première of Massenet's PANURGE, in which Martinelli sang Pantagruel. In 1915 he sang Lefebvre in the première of Giordano's MADAME SANS-GENE, and in 1916, created the rôle of Fernando in Granados' GOYESCAS. Martinelli began to increase his repertoire to include most of the Italian and French dramatic rôles.

Much of Martinelli's career was focused in the United States, and it was not until 1937 that he returned to Covent Garden. In 1939, he sang TRISTAN UND ISOLDE in Chicago with Kirsten Flagstad. In 1945 he stopped singing staged operas at the Met, but still participated in various benefit recitals. His last complete rôle was as Samson in Philadelphia in 1950, but in 1967, he sang the Emperor in a Seattle production of TURANDOT.”

- Anne Feeney,