V2030. FRANCO CORELLI, w.Gwyneth Jones, Grace Bumbry & Ezio Flagello; Mehta Cond. Los Angeles Phil.: MANZONI REQUIEM (Verdi), Live Performance, 14 Nov., 1967, Los Angeles; FRANCO CORELLI: Songs by Tosti, di Capua & Cardillo; Arias from Tosca, Le Cid, I Lombardi & Macbeth, Live Performance, 1967, Providence, RI; FRANCO CORELLI: Songs by de Curtis & Berrefato; Arias & Duets (w.KIRSTEN & TEBALDI) from Cavalleria, La Boheme & Andrea Chénier, all Live Performances, 1962-68, Ed Sullivan Shows. (E.U.) 2- Myto 0015. - 3030257900157
"Vocal size and rugged style mark [Corelli] as an open-air tenor….The vibrancy of his timbre is unequalled among tenors, and often it holds a commendable warmth as well…."
- Paul Jackson, SIGN-OFF FOR THE OLD MET, p.374
“In 1955 Grace Bumbry entered Northwestern University, where she studied voice with Lotte Lehman, and transferred with her to the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. In 1958 she was joint winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, sharing first place with Martina Arroyo. She won some other prizes, and made her professional début in a recital in London in 1959. Her first operatic appearance was at the Paris Opéra, as Amneris in Verdi's AÏDA. It was one of the most spectacular operatic débuts in history; Bumbry became an instant star and was invited to join the roster of the Basle Opera. She made operatic history in 1961 when she was engaged by Wieland Wagner to sing at the Bayreuth Festival and became the first black singer to perform in that shrine of Wagnerian opera. Furthermore, musical historian Nicolas Slomimsky has pointed out that she was the first African American to make a professional operatic as a goddess, for her début at Bayreuth was as Venus in TANNHÄUSER, 23 July, 1961. Bumbry embarked on a concert tour of the United States and was invited by Jacqueline Kennedy to sing at the White House, on 20 February, 1962. She also followed up her success at Bayreuth with appearances as Venus at the Chicago Lyric Opera and at Lyons, France.
Bumbry's 1963 London début came in the role of Princess Eboli in Verdi's DON CARLOS, and she gave her first Metropolitan Opera performance in the same role in 1965. During the 1960s Bumbry worked on extending her vocal range. In 1970 at the Vienna Staatsoper, she sang the part of Santuzza, making her début as a soprano. She sang Richard Strauss' SALOME at Covent Garden the same year, and her first appearance in Puccini's TOSCA at the Metropolitan Opera came in 1971. She has a very warm voice with rich tone quality throughout the mezzo range, although it loses some of its distinctiveness in the very upper part of her soprano register. She is among the few sopranos who have sung both the roles of Aïda and Amneris in AÏDA and both Venus and Elisabeth in Wagner's TANNHÄUSER.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
"Ezio Flagello, a bass with a rich voice and wide range who sang 528 performances at the Metropolitan Opera as part of an international career, a son of Italian immigrants in New York City, sang at major opera houses like La Scala in Milan, the Vienna State Opera, the San Francisco Opera and the Houston Grand Opera. But it was the Met that he made perhaps his most distinguished mark. His wide-ranging career there included basso cantante roles like Rodolfo in LA SONNAMBULA, Wagnerian characters like Pogner in DIE MEISTERSINGER, comic roles in Mozart and Rossini operas and major Verdi roles like King Philip in DON CARLO.
He made his professional debut in 1955 at the Empire State Festival in Ellenville, N.Y., singing Dulcamara in L’ELISIR D’AMORE. His career took off after he won first place in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air in 1957. He made his Met debut in November 1957 as the jailer in TOSCA. Shortly after, he sang Leporello in DON GIOVANNI, filling in for Fernando Corena, who was ill. His other performances at the Met included Geronte in MANON LESCAUT, Dulcamara in L’ELISIR D’AMORE, Sparafucile in RIGOLETTO, Ramfis in AIDA, Sarastro in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE and the title roles in GIANNI SCHICCHI and FALSTAFF. He originated the role of Enobarbus in Barber’s ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, which received its premiere on opening night of the new Metropolitan Opera House in September 1966. Mr. Flagello’s final appearance at the Met was as Dr. Bartolo (a role he sang many times there) in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA in December 1984. In a NEW YORK TIMES review of Mr. Flagello’s performance as Falstaff at the Met in December 1964, Harold C. Schonberg wrote, ‘a singer with a sturdy voice and a good deal of intelligence, Mr. Flagello found himself thoroughly at ease with the demands of the role. That included the dramatic demands’, Mr. Schonberg said. ‘He did not merely walk through the role using stock Falstaffian gestures. Rather, he used gesture, expression and motion to build toward a real characterization’.
Mr. Flagello was born in New York City on Jan. 28, 1931, [and] received a bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with the bass-baritone Friedrich Schorr and the baritone John Brownlee. In 1955, Mr. Flagello won a Fulbright Scholarship and studied with Luigi Ricci at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.
He may have reached his largest audience in a brief screen appearance in THE GODFATHER Part II (1974). He played a vaudeville impressario in a flashback sequence, set in 1917, in Little Italy.”
- Vivien Schweitzer, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 March, 2009