C0080. TULLIO SERAFIN Cond. Rome Opera Ensemble, w.Maria Caniglia, Ebe Stignani, Beniamino Gigli & Ezio Pinza:
MANZONI REQUIEM (Verdi). (Canada) Naxos 8.110159, recorded 1939. Transfers by Ward Marston. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 636943115923
“Admirers of Tullio Serafin’s 1939 Verdi REQUIEM may be familiar with at least four previous CD transfers….On balance, Ward Marston’s Naxos transfer offers the most satisfactory results of all.
The booklet notes, by the way, fail to mention the original recording’s omission of the second a cappella sequence just before the conclusion of the Lux Eterna. The Lacrymosa’s first four beats also were left out, leaving the wonderful mezzo-soprano soloist Ebe Stignani a mere two-beat vamp before her entrance. Marston was able to ‘loop’ this figure and repeat it twice, thereby restoring what Verdi intended.
Much ink has been spilled over the years extolling this performance’s high drama and red-blooded, operatic vocal quartet, capped by Ezio Pinza’s larger-then-life sonority and ringing presence. Yet Pinza blends beautifully with his admirable partners….A work of this size and scope, of course, benefited from the arrival of high fidelity and stereo; but that’s neither here nor there if you’re buying this recording for the singers, as you should.”
Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
“Serafin was a leading Italian opera conductor with a long career and a very broad repertoire who revived many 19th-century bel canto operas by Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti to become staples of 20th-century repertoire. He had an unparalleled reputation as a coach of young opera singers and famously harnessed and developed Maria Callas’ considerable talents.
Born in Rottanova (Cavarzere), near Venice, and trained in Milan, he played viola in the Orchestra of La Scala, Milan under Arturo Toscanini, later being appointed Assistant Conductor. He took over as Music Director at La Scala when Toscanini left to go to New York, and served 1909–1914, 1917–1918, and returned briefly after the Second World War, 1946 -1947.
He joined the conducting staff of the Metropolitan Opera in 1924, and remained for a decade, after which he became the artistic director of the Teatro Reale in Rome. During his long career he helped further the careers of many important singers, including Rosa Ponselle, Magda Olivero, Joan Sutherland, and most notably Maria Callas, with whom he collaborated on many recordings.
Serafin was instrumental in expanding the repertory, conducting the Italian premieres of works by Alban Berg, Paul Dukas, and Benjamin Britten. He also conducted important world premieres by both Italian and American composers, such as Franco Alfano, Italo Montemezzi, Deems Taylor, and Howard Hanson. His goddaughter was the soprano Claudia Pinza Bozzolla.”
- Classical Music and Musicians