OP0955. AÏDA, recorded 12 June, 1951, w.Gui Cond. RAI Ensemble, Roma; Caterina Mancini, Giulietta Simionato,
Mario Filippeschi, Rolando Panerai, Giulio Neri, etc. (E.U.) 2-Warner-Fonit 8573 83010. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 0685738301027
“Since Warner Fonit has been issuing the series of operas that Cetra recorded in the early '50s with a stable of Italian singers, I have been giving them a good listen. Note that the latest issues have the original somewhat flamboyant covers that graced the original LPs and quite good mono sound - far better than the ruinous Everest pseudo-stereo LPs.
As for the performances most were recorded live at the RAI studios in one day with no or minimal retakes and therefore have a rough and ready quality to them. Most of the operas have of course been recorded with top flight casts and conductors. But here is something to be said for the idiomatic 'rightness" of these performances. There is a feeling that the singers have worked together, are comfortable with each other and know the scores inside out. The vocalism is often rough but the feelings are sincere and heartfelt and that counts for a lot. The conductors too share that feeling and often seem to be more interested in getting the dramatic points across than orchestral perfection. My own feeling is that the performances go back to a tradition that is now gone. In any case, I recommend most of them since they are are still the only complete commercial recordings).”
- Z. D. Akron
“Caterina Mancini (10 November 1924 – 21 January 2011) was an Italian dramatic coloratura soprano, primarily active in Italy in the 1950s. She made her debut in 1948, as Giselda in I LOMBARDI, in Florence. In 1950, she appeared in Bologna and Venice, in NORMA, and made her debut at La Scala in Milan, in LUCREZIA BORGIA, in 1951. The same year, she sang in many Verdi operas on radio broadcast (RAI) to commemorate 50th anniversary of Verdi's death. Many of these broadcasts have been released by the record company Cetra, notably, NABUCCO, ERNANI, ATTILA, LA BATTAGLIA DI LEGNANO, IL TROVATORE, and AÏDA.
Mancini was a dramatic coloratura soprano, possessing a large and powerful, yet surprisingly flexible voice, which made her an excellent exponent of early Verdi operas. Health problems in the early 1960s led her to withdraw little by little from the stage. In fact, on 30 November 1963 she sang the contralto part in a performance of the oratorio MESSIAH, for the Dallas Opera. The event was dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy, who had been slain in that city a few days earlier. The other soloists included Jon Vickers and Norman Treigle, and it was conducted by Nicola Rescigno. It was billed as her ‘first appearance as a contralto and in an English work’.
Her career was in many ways similar to that of Anita Cerquetti; both had short but brilliant careers, and both were more or less eclipsed by Maria Callas, and nowadays almost forgotten.”