OP0266. LUISA MILLER, Live Performance, 23 Jan., 1974, w.Erede Cond. Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble; Lilian Sukis, Bonaldo Giaiotti, Christa Ludwig, Franco Bonisolli, Giuseppe Taddei, etc. (Czech Republic) 2-Ponto 1009. Outstanding sound quality! - 8717202250097
"Bonaldo Giaiotti became a fixture at the Metropolitan Opera, where he sang more than 400 performances from 1960 to 1989, mainly in Italian operas. He also performed in other major houses, including the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, the Teatro Real in Madrid and the Zurich Opera. He was a special favorite at the Arena di Verona, where he appeared for more than 30 seasons.
Oddly, Mr. Giaiotti did not make his debut at La Scala until 1986, probably because of all the time he spent in New York earlier in his career. But he did make a notable Italian debut in 1973, when he appeared in Verdi's I VESPRI SICILIANI to open the Teatro Regio in Turin in a production directed by Maria Callas.
Mr. Giaiotti performed stalwart duty at the Met at a time when both the Met and its Lincoln Center neighbor, New York City Opera, served up a cornucopia of great basses, among them Cesare Siepi, Jerome Hines, Nicolai Ghiaurov and Samuel Ramey. While Mr. Giaiotti may have been outshone by the big names of his generation, keen opera observers knew his value. In 1974, the critic Peter G. Davis, writing in THE NEW YORK TIMES, called him 'outstanding' in his two arias on an RCA recording of HalÚvy's LA JUIVE, numbers that 'almost every golden age bass of any consequence recorded. I can't think of many other contemporary singers in his range who possess such columnar solidity over two full octaves', Mr. Davis wrote. 'Giaiotti inflects the words with real majesty'.
No matter the assignment, Robert Lombardo, a former manager, said by email, Mr. Giaiotti stood out for his 'consistency and class', both stylistically and vocally.
Mr. Giaiotti was a basso cantante, according to the classification of vocal connoisseurs. That is, his voice was lighter and more agile than a basso profondo. Critics described his voice as resonant, firm, sonorous and rock-solid.
Rudolf Bing, the Met's imperial general manager, was returning from a vacation in the Dolomite mountains in Italy when he stopped off in Milan to discover new voices, as he regularly did. He heard Mr. Giaiotti and hired him for the 1960-61 season, slotting him to make his debut as Zaccaria in Verdi's NABUCCO on the season's opening night - the first time the Met had put on that opera. Mr. Giaiotti went on to sing 29 roles in 28 operas at the house.
Mr. Giaiotti sang into his 80s, giving one of his last performances, at the Casa Verdi, a singers' retirement home in Milan, in 2015. It was a rendition of 'Ol Man River'"
- Daniel J. Wakin, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 19 June, 2018
"Franco Bonisolli had the most thrilling tenor voice in the theatre despite his often over singing in IL TROVATORE. I heard him as Manrico twice in Salzburg, under Karajan, and what a 'Di quella pira'! His L'AFRICAINE at Covent Garden showed a more subtle side to his singing. How sad that he had the misfortune to die on the same day as Corelli."
- Leslie Austin, New Zealand
´┐ŻChrista Ludwig was one of the most admired mezzo-sopranos of her generation, with a wide repertoire of both lieder and opera. She brought a fine sense of musicianship as well as drama to her performances. Her r´┐Żles ranged from Dorabella in COS´┐Ż FAN TUTTE to Brangane in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE and Clytemnestra in ELEKTRA, and she was the creator of the role of Claire in Gottfried von Einem's BESUCH DER ALTEN DAME. Her technique and upper register were solid enough to let her sing the Marschallin in DER ROSENKAVALIER and the Dyer's Wife in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, parts almost exclusively sung by sopranos -- though she did retreat from plans to sing Isolde and Br´┐Żnnhilde. She was also a noted lieder performer, especially of Mahler.
She made her operatic d´┐Żbut as Prince Orlofsky in Strauss' DIE FLEDERMAUS in 1946, at the Frankfurt State Opera, where she was a member of the company until 1952. She then moved to Darmstadt to study acting with the director Gustav Sellner. After two years, she and her mother (who was still teaching her) moved to Hanover, where she began to sing leading r´┐Żles such as Carmen, Ortrud, and Kundry. Her Salzburg d´┐Żbut was in 1954 as Cherubino, and followed by her 1955 d´┐Żbut in the same r´┐Żle at the Vienna State Opera, at the invitation of Karl B´┐Żhm, where she sang for more than 30 years. In 1957, she sang with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, who encouraged her husband Walter Legge, the famous producer, to sign Ludwig with EMI records. Ludwig's United States operatic d´┐Żbut was in 1959 in Chicago, as Dorabella. In the 1970s, she went through a vocal crisis due to menopause, and she took some of the most demanding r´┐Żles out of her repertoire and began to give more attention to songs. Again she challenged the typical views of repertoire, and sang material, such as WINTERREISE, that is most often associated with male voices, especially baritones. Working with Leonard Bernstein, she developed a special affection for Mahler (whose music Bernstein championed when Mahler was relatively obscure.)´┐Ż
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com