OP0265. LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, Live Performance, 10 Jan., 1949, w. Cimara Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Lily Pons, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Francesco Valentino, Jerome Hines, Felix Knight, etc.; LILY PONS: Arias from Lucia, & La Fille du Régiment (the latter from Met Opera, 20 Dec.,1940). (France) 2-Malibran 545. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 3760003775455
"Lily Pons was petite, pretty, and had an extraordinary upper register. She regularly interpolated Fs above high C, and even higher notes, into her performances. Though she was less of a virtuoso technician than her predecessors, she had plenty of charm, and audiences loved her. New York Times critic Olin Downes wrote, “Miss Pons is not, and will not be, a Patti or a Tetrazzini. Her voice has range and freshness when it is heard at its full value, and not marred by faulty breath-support or vibrato. Certain passages yesterday were sung with marked tonal beauty and emotional color. In the ‘mad scene’ some of the bravura passages were tossed off with a hint of the virtuoso spirit that this thinly glazed music demands."
- Peter Clark, MET ARCHIVES
"Nearly any time opera lovers discuss inherently beautiful voices, Tagliavini's name is sure to come up. His smooth lyric tenor had a luxurious timbre, reminiscent of Tito Schipa's, and was also warm and extremely expressive. In another resemblance to Schipa, he had a particular gift for vocally caressing a phrase without making it sound like a studied effect, and could sing piano and pianissimo without crooning. He excelled in the lighter, lyric repertoire, and for many was the definitive Nemorino, Nadir (LES PECHEURS DE PERLES), Ernesto (DON PASQUALE), and Fritz (L'AMICO FRITZ) of his generation, or for some, even the century. He and composer Pietro Mascagni became close friends, and Mascagni claimed that Tagliavini was instrumental in making L'AMICO FRITZ a success. During his early years, he focused on this lyric repertoire, but as his career advanced, he added heavier roles, such as Loris Ipanov in Giordano's FEDORA, Riccardo in Verdi's UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, and Cavaradossi in Puccini's TOSCA.
His opera debut was in Florence as Rodolfo in LA BOHEME in 1938. After World War II, he gathered a wide following among American GIs still based in Italy. His La Scala debut was in 1942, also as Rodolfo, as was his United States dï¿½but in Chicago in 1946, and his Met debut in 1957. In addition to his stage performances and recordings, he also appeared in many popular films, mostly of the light and sentimental type. He retired from the stage in 1965, but gave annual performances at Carnegie Hall through 1981. He was married to soprano Pia Tassinari, whom he met in 1940, (they later divorced), and during their marriage they frequently appeared together, as their repertoire was very often complementary. Their recording of L'AMICO FRITZ, conducted by the composer is a classic."
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com