Aida  (Serafin;  Maria Caniglia, Beniamino Gigli, Ebe Stignani, Gino Bechi, Tancredi Pasero, Italo Tajo)  (2-Arkadia 78032)
Item# OP0130
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Aida  (Serafin;  Maria Caniglia, Beniamino Gigli, Ebe Stignani, Gino Bechi, Tancredi Pasero, Italo Tajo)  (2-Arkadia 78032)
OP0130. AÏDA, recorded 1946, w.Serafin Cond. Rome Opera Ensemble; Maria Caniglia, Beniamino Gigli, Ebe Stignani, Gino Bechi, Tancredi Pasero, Italo Tajo, etc. (Italy) 2-Arkadia 78032. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 8011571780323


“Regarded by many as having had the most beautiful spinto soprano between the primes of Claudia Muzio and Renata Tebaldi, Maria Caniglia was chosen to record a number of major soprano roles, several of them with Beniamino Gigli. Her generous temperament sometimes led her to dramatic overemphasis and her technique sometimes failed her in the topmost register, but she was always a vivid presence, always committed to giving her all in performance. When Tebaldi and Callas divided La Scala audiences, Caniglia became the Prima donna Assoluta in Rome.

Born to a family from the province of Abruzzi, Caniglia studied at the Naples Conservatory with Agostino Roche, a famous pedagogue who trained many artists, notably mezzo soprano Ebe Stignani, with whom Caniglia would perform and record often. Roche believed that the young soprano was destined for more than lyric roles and, accordingly, trained her to sing the spinto repertory. In 1929, Caniglia was dispatched to La Scala to audition for three prominent conductors: Ettore Panizza, Carlo del Campo, and Gino Marinuzzi. The opinion of each was that she should return in a half-year's time to present a more lyric repertory. At that time, she was engaged, but ironically from the beginning was given more spinto roles than lyric. Her début, however, took place in 1930 at Turin's Teatro Regio where the soprano had already been engaged for a production of ELEKTRA. Singing Chrysothemis to the Elektra of Giulia Tess, she enjoyed a success, but felt overwhelmed by the power of her colleague's performance. When her La Scala contract began in 1931, Caniglia found that she had been assigned only one role, that of Maria in Ildebrando Pizzetti's LO STRANIERO, with the composer conducting. In the aftermath of her performances, she found that she had been scheduled for other productions for the duration of the season. Her next assignment was the premiere of Italo Montemezzi's LA NOTTE DI ZORAIMA, a work whose popularity prompted the scheduling of a second run of performances the following year. Several cancellations pushed Caniglia further into the spotlight as she took over leading roles in Mascagni's LE MASCHERE and in Wagner's FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER. Her success in the latter opera led to other assignments in the lighter Wagnerian repertory, culminating later in Sieglinde. During her La Scala years, Caniglia sang with the leading Italian conductors of the day, maestri such as Santini, de Sabata, Serafin, Panizza, Ghione, Gui, Marinuzzi, and Guarnieri. As Toscanini had already left the company, she had to wait until her performances as Alice Ford at Salzburg to sing under his direction. In 1951, Caniglia left La Scala, feeling that the discipline that had made it a great company in the 1930s and 1940s had eroded. She subsequently became the leading spinto/dramatic soprano at the Rome Opera. Meanwhile, Caniglia had also enjoyed successes in London, New York, Barcelona, and the theaters in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and at the Teatro Col in Buenos Aires. During Covent Garden's 1937 season, critics objected somewhat to Caniglia's unevenness of voice in TOSCA, but found her Alice Ford sprightly and full of youthful vigor. New York heard her for only one season following her 21 November, 1938, début as Desdemona. The Italian government's confiscation of artists' passports denied her services to both London and America. Among Caniglia's recordings, TOSCA and LA FORZA DEL DESTINO represent her at her estimable best.�

- Erik Eriksson,

“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

“Ebe Stignani sang more than one hundred roles in her career that lasted more than three decades! Her last appearance was as Ulrica in Florence in 1957. Clemens Höslinger wrote: ‘The mezzo-soprano Ebe Stigani had a prominent place in the ensemble of La Scala between the wars. She was a versatile, devoted artist, a lively and passionate actress, a singer with an expansive, metallic voice, eminently suited for dramatic, high-strung roles such as Amneris, Eboli, Carmen and Santuzza. Veracity of expression, absolute dedication to the artistic task in hand were characteristic of her personality….’ Her voice is glorious.”

- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile

“Tancredi Pasero is a splendid bass of unique beauty. In my opinion, the tonal opulence makes him one of the most exquisite basses to be heard on recordings. His voice impresses by its richness and the evenness of its quality from top to bottom of the wide range. Pasero added some baritone roles at the end of his career. Pasero’s expression is not only distinguished by its lyrical qualities but also of great feeling and dignity. He avoids exhibiting the voice in any overt emotionalism. In this, he is an antipode to Nazzareno de Angelis. He considered the beginning of his artistic life on 15 December, 1918 as Rodolfo in Bellini’s LA SONNAMBULA. Shortly afterwards he repeated the role at La Scala. Pasero’s illustrious and unusually long career was mostly centered in Italy. His main house was La Scala, where Arturo Toscanini engaged him for leading roles. He made guest appearances at Covent Garden, and also in Paris, Brussels, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Berlin and Hamburg. He was a member of the Met from 1929 until 1933 where he appeared opposite an amazing number of glorious voices. In 1933 he enjoyed an enormous success at the Maggio Musicale in Florence in Spontini’s LA VESTALE opposite Rosa Ponselle. He often appeared at the Arena di Verona. In 1948 he sang at a concert commemorating the 100th anniversary of Donizetti’s death, and in 1950 he appeared for the last time as Wotan in DIE WALKÜRE. Pasero’s most famous roles are Mosè, Sarastro, Don Basilio, Philip, Boris Godunov and Escamillo, as well as several important Wagner assumptions: King Heinrich, Gurnemanz, King Marke, Pogner and Hagen. He also participitated in the world premières of several operas, among them Mascagni’s NERONE at La Scala and Pinzetti’s ORSEOLO in Florence.”

- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile