V2008. MARIA FARNETI: Songs by Panizza & Sonzogno; Arias from La Wally, Otello, Aïda, Manon, Manon Lescaut, Mesistofele, Iris, L’Amico Fritz, Madama Butterfly & La Fanciulla del West. (Germany) Truesound Transfers 3076, recorded 1910 (Edison), 1917 (Fonotipia) & 1931 (Italian Columbia, 1931 [the Italian Columbia recordings which, as with Claudia Muzio, Farnetti herself paid Columbia to record]. Transfers by Christian Zwarg.
“…really rather special…Farneti seems very well schooled as in Boito’s gorgeous ‘L’altra notte’; her trill is excellent and although this could not be said to be subtle singing, she gets her points across. Three excerpts from IRIS follow. One from 1917 and the other two from 1931, showing virtually no deterioration in the voice. The excerpt from L’AMICO FRITZ fits her like a glove, as do the two arias from MADAMA BUTTERFLY. There is a real living character here who comes bursting out of the grooves. If there is a more modern equivalent, it has to be her compatriot, Rosetta Pampanini, who sounds very familiar….This release, in fine sound, is to be highly encouraged, illustrating a singer from the early part of the 20th century who has, as far as I am aware, not [otherwise] appeared on CD….”
- David Cutler, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2017
“Maria Farneti was born in Milan in 1878 and made her début in 1898. She rapidly acquired a considerable reputation for her performances in verismo rôles and was chosen by Mascagni to create IRIS. Her successes at La Scala and the Colón were sensational. In November, 1899 she débuted at the Teatro Regio of Turin in its première performance of Mascagni's IRIS to an enormous reception. Her particular strength was the verismo repertoire. In 1902 Mascagni included her in a company with which he toured the United States of America. Farneti was a great success in Buenos Aires, where she created Mascagni’s ISABEAU in 1911. In 1912 Farneti sang in the local première of PAOLO E FRANCESCA at Genoa and later in the local première of ISABEAU at Naples. With Paolo Tosti at the piano, Farneti gave a sold out concert in March at the Teatro San Carlo. In April she sang in the local première of ISABEAU at Brescia, and in February of 1913 she sang in the Rome première to unanimously favorable reviews and huge audience response. The summer found her on another long visit to South America, and ISABEAU was again the centerpiece. The tour began at Buenos Aires' Coliseo and included stops at Rosario, Cordoba, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Farneti, in addition to singing in ISABEAU, sang in LOHENGRIN, IRIS, MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Nepomuceno's ABUL and in MEFISTOFELE. Bernardo de Muro, who was to perform Folco nearly four hundred times during a twenty five year career, sang with Farneti in the two Mascagni operas throughout the tour. Maria was tired and declared her intention to close out her career upon her 1911 marriage to a lawyer. On 22 July 1914, however, she received a letter from Umberto Giordano inviting her to appear in the Italian première of MADAME SANS GENE, an offer that was immediately accepted. (The composer had admired Farneti for many years and had, on several previous occasions, offered her important productions. In a letter dated 20 August 1909, he asked her to consider singing in the world première of his MESE MARIANO at Naples, but for reasons not known, it first saw the light of day at Palermo, without Farneti.) On 28 February 1915, at Turin's Teatro Regio, she sang in the new opera for the first time, and on 18 September, under Toscanini's direction, she repeated her triumph at Milan's Teatro Dal Verme. There were no performances in 1916, and after a few concerts in the summer of 1917, she returned to the Dal Verme on 7 October in a new opera, Puccini's LA RONDINE. With this, Maria Farneti retired from the stage and from public life. Her few records, made mainly after her retirement, are keenly sought after.”
Ashot Arakelyan, FORGOTTEN OPERA SINGERS
“[Truesound] transfers have been an absolute revelation to me….Amazingly, Christian Zwarg has managed to unlock the sound of these recordings in such a way as to present [voices] such as I have never heard before. Here the sound has a sheen and glow which is quite beautiful. It is as if an old masterpiece painting has been cleaned and restored, allowing rays of brilliant light to emerge….”
- Davyd Booth, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2012