OP0218. OTELLO - Excerpts, Live Performance, 21 July, 1950, w.Votto Cond. Teatro Colon Ensemble; Mario del Monaco, Delia Rigal, Carlos Guichandut, etc. (France) Malibran AMR 186. [AMR titles are issued without rear tray-cards] Long out-of-print, Final Copy!
"It was always a given that del Monaco possessed a remarkably powerful, steady voice with unsurpassed brilliance and power. He was, however, often criticized for singing with little finesse, for using his power unrelentingly. That was never true (his many live broadcast recordings give even stronger evidence of his ability to sing with light and shade). I found myself thrilling to the sheer sound of the voice and to the commitment and passion with which he sang. What will surprise many is the variety of dynamics and color that the tenor did bring to his singing. It is easy for critics to comment on the method of a singer and to forget the most important element - the sound of the voice....His diction was a model of clarity and crispness, his intonation was almost always centered, and his rhythmic pulse was extremely strong. In many cases one listens to this kind of singing and longs for the days gone by when there were singers like this....old-timers...reminisce over one of the great operatic tenor voices to be heard in the 1950s and 60s, and younger listeners discover what a great 'tenore di forza' sounds like. We have nothing like him today."
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
"Mario del Monaco was one of the most widely recorded singers of the 1950s and 60s and divided his busy operatic career between Europe and America during those years. Sir Rudolf Bing, then manager of the Metropolitan Opera, heard Mr. del Monaco's debut as Radames in Verdi's AIDA at the San Francisco Opera in 1950 and asked the tenor to stop in New York for a guest appearance at the Met in Puccini's MANON LESCAUT on his way back to Europe. Mr. del Monaco's singing made a distinct impression and won him a long and prosperous relationship with the Met beginning the next year. At the New York company from 1951 to 1959, he sang 102 times, in 16 roles. He appeared on the Met's tour 38 times. His last performance at the Met was as Canio in Leoncavallo's PAGLIACCI in 1959. But he returned three years later to Carnegie Hall in a concert of arias and duets with Gabriella Tucci.
Indeed, when Mr. del Monaco was loved, it was for the brilliant, stentorian quality of his voice rather than for his subtlety of phrase or ability to act. And in a profession often peopled by overweight tenors, Mr. Del Monaco offered a classic profile and dark good looks that made him an attractive presence on stage.
Mario del Monaco was born in Florence in 1915 and grew up in nearby Pesaro where his father was employed in city government. His parents were both musically inclined and encouraged his singing. Although he had some lessons, he was largely self-taught. Mr. del Monaco made his professional debut in Puccini's MADAMA BUTTERFLY in Milan in 1941. He spent the war years in the Italian Army. After the war, Mr. del Monaco's career blossomed and spread to Milan's La Scala and London's Covent Garden as well as opera houses in Rome, Naples, Barcelona, Lisbon and Stockholm. In 1946, he sang in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, moved northward to Mexico City and then on to San Francisco for his American debut. Mr. del Monaco's relationship with the Metropolitan Opera ended in 1959, reportedly by mutual consent, but he was recording until the end of the 1960s. In 1973, he joined a gathering of prominent tenors in Naples to honor Caruso's centenary and press reports spoke of his 'personal glamour and still thrilling dynamism'.
Mr. del Monaco retired to his villa near Venice later in 1973 and turned to teaching. Mr. del Monaco and his wife, Rina Fedora, a former singer, had two sons. One of them, Giancarlo, is now a stage director in Europe's opera world."
- Bernard Holland, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 19 Oct., 1982
"Carlos Maria Guichandut was an Argentinian baritone, and later tenor, particularly associated with heroic roles. Born in Buenos Aires, he studied first philosophy and then singing with Alfredo Biancardi. He began his career as a baritone in 1938 singing zarzuela. He made his operatic debut at the Teatro Colon in 1945, in the title role of RIGOLETTO, followed by Luna in IL TROVATORE, Iago in OTELLO, and Scarpia in TOSCA. He then came to Italy, appearing at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, and La Fenice in Venice, and made his debut at La Scala in 1948, as Renato in UN BALLO IN MASCHERA.
In 1952, after further vocal studies with Fidelia Campigna, he made a second debut in Bari, as a tenor this time, in the role of Siegmund in DIE WALKURE. The following year, he sang the role of Giascone in MEDEA, opposite Maria Callas, at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, to great acclaim. In 1954, he sang his first Otello, a role that would quickly become one of his signature roles. In 1955, he sang Otello and Don José in CARMEN, at the Verona Arena.
He made his debut at the Royal Opera House in London in 1958, as Radames in AIDA. He also sang at the Paris Opéra, the Liceo in Barcelona, also appearing in Palermo and Mexico City.
Another important debutante was the Argentine soprano, Delia Rigal, who assumed the royal trappings of Elisabetta di Valois. Mme. Rigal's voice is large, darkly colored, and blowsy in character. The tone is not nearly enough concentrated and the vocal line could be steadier. Nevertheless, this singer has a presence, and a genuine gift for gesture and posture, and, while hardly a successor to Rosa Ponselle or Zinka Milanov, she may prove an interesting and useful artist, judged from the prospectus of varied and repeated performances"
- Max de Schauensee, PHILADELPHIA EVENING BULLETIN, 7 Nov., 1950
"A dramatic soprano, Delia Rigal is remembered for her career at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1950s. Born Dominga Mastarrigo, she was trained in her native land and made her 1941 professional bow at the Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires as a minor character in Wagner's LOHENGRIN. Remaining with the company over the next decade, she advanced to such leading roles as Desdemona in Verdi's OTELLO, Diana from Gluck's IPGIGENIE, Santuzza in Mascagni's CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, and Amelia in Verdi's SIMON BOCCANEGRA. In 1947 Delia bowed at both the Paris Opéra and at La Scala as Violetta, then 6 November, 1950, made her Metropolitan Opera debut on opening night of the season as Elisabetta de Valois in the first new production of Verdi's DON CARLOS seen there in three decades. Over the next seven years she was a headliner, but having pretty much ruined her voice with too much work in too many heavyweight roles, on 15 April, 1957, Delia gave her final Metropolitan performance in the same part she had sung for her first; she married a well-off man named Antonino Alcamo, lived out her days in the Long Island suburbs of New York City, and was a respected voice and master class teacher both in New York and in Buenos Aires."
- Bob Hufford