OP1191. DON PASQUALE, Live Performance, 11 Feb., 1956, w.Schippers Cond.Met Opera Ensemble; Cesare Valletti, Roberta Peters, Fernando Corena, Frank Guarrera, etc; LUCIA – Excerpts, Live Performance, 19 Feb., 1966, w.Varviso Cond. Roberta Peters, Sándor Kónya, Frank Guarrera, Justino Diaz, etc. (Portugal) 2-Gala 100.586. Final ever-so-slightly used copy! - 8712177042098
"Although Valletti was a student of Tito Schipa (from whom he undoubtedly learnt some of the graces of production and interpretation), he was in some aspects a counterpart to his coach. Valletti’s was a light but flexible tenor voice of Italianate lyricism and a rare beauty of tone. His timbre was not as ‘sweet’ as that of Tito Schipa, Ferruccio Tagliavini or Beniamino Gigli, but he was the most accomplished technician of them all."
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile
“As one of the younger tenors to emerge soon after World War II, it was obvious that Valletti was an artist whose reputation would be made based on artistic and musical considerations….His musicianship and vocal colour made him an ideal interpreter of Mozart rôles, and like Schipa [his mentor], he became a renowned Werther with sensitivity and nuance being the key to his interpretation….he was considered a lyric tenor of the front rank.”
- Alan Bilgora, program notes to Pearl’s THE CETRA TENORS
“Basso buffo Fernando Corena, heralded as the true successor to comic bass Salvatore Baccaloni, began his career singing non-comic roles just as did the imposing Baccaloni. A gift for buffoonery, however, cleared the way for his concentration on comic roles and there it was that he achieved his reputation. Encouraged by Italian conductor Vittorio Gui, Corena traveled to Milan to study with Enrico Romani. After an unofficial début there, he returned to Switzerland for the duration of WWII, performing on radio broadcasts and appearing in opera at Zürich's Stadttheater. Corena's official début took place in Trieste in 1947, when he sang Varlaam in BORIS GODUNOV. Soon, he had offers from many parts of Italy and began singing such varied dramatic roles as Sparafucile (bass), Escamillo (bass baritone), and Scarpia (baritone). In 1949, he took part in the premiere of Petrassi's IL CORDOVANO at La Scala. Although he did not fully surrender the serious bass/bass baritone repertory, he steadily moved into the buffo roles and found his career moving ever more swiftly upward.
Corena's Metropolitan Opera début took place as Leporello on 6 February, 1954, and he established himself almost immediately as a favorite singer in that house. For a quarter century, he all but owned the great comic roles, creating impossible-to-forget portraits as Dulcamara, the Sacristan (TOSCA), Don Pasquale, both Bartolos, Falstaff, Melitone, Don Alfonso, Benoit, Gianni Schicchi, Sulpice, Mustafa, and Geronte. By the time he closed his Metropolitan career in 1978, he had sung 92 performances of the Sacristan alone.
Aside from his close relationship to New York, Corena enjoyed considerable success elsewhere; Chicago heard him in a variety of roles, comic and serious, beginning in 1956 when Leporello played off the Don Giovanni of Nicola Rossi-Lemeni. The Edinburgh Festival welcomed Corena's Falstaff in 1956 and Covent Garden heard him for the first time in 1960, when he sang Rossini's Bartolo. In addition to Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, Verona, and Buenos Aires, Corena appeared at Salzburg as Osmin in Giorgio Strehler's production of ENTFÜHRUNG in 1965. A frequent visitor to the recording studio, Corena left numerous recordings documenting his best-known roles; many were recorded on multiple occasions (Bartolo, Leporello, Sacristan, for examples). Although Corena's physical presence was necessary for fullest appreciation, he still managed to infuse his singing with abundant personality. There has been no one comparable since his retirement.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com
“Justino Díaz is a Puerto Rican operatic bass-baritone. In 1963, Díaz won an annual contest held at the Metropolitan Opera of New York, becoming the first Puerto Rican to obtain such an honor. On 29 March, 1963, Díaz won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, becoming the ‘first’ Puerto Rican to obtain such an honor. As a consequence, Díaz made his Metropolitan début on October 1963 in Verdi's Rigoletto as Monterone. Among the opera houses in which Díaz has made presentations are La Scala, Paris Opéra, Vienna Staatsoper, Salzburg, New York City Opera, Spoleto Opera, Rome Opera, The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Zarzuela Theater of Madrid, Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu and others. In 1966 he helped to inaugurate the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center by starring in the opening night performance of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA by Samuel Barber.”
- Z. D. Akron
“Roberta Peters, who would sing with the Met 515 times over 35 vigorous years, was internationally renowned for her high, silvery voice; her clarion diction in a flurry of languages; [and] her attractive stage presence. In addition to the Met, with which she appeared regularly from 1950 to 1985 - one of the longest associations of any singer with a major opera company - Ms. Peters was heard at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cincinnati Opera, the Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden and elsewhere. Known for taking meticulous care of her voice, she continued to sing in recital until well into her 70s, a good two decades past the de facto retirement age in her line of work.
On 23 Jan., 1950, the 19-year-old Ms. Peters stood on the stage of the old Metropolitan Opera House on Broadway and 39th Street in Manhattan. There, in the darkened hall, she sang ‘Der Hölle Rache’ from THE MAGIC FLUTE, which, with its fiendish series of high F’s, is among the canonical texts of the coloratura repertory. Somewhere out in the darkness was Mr. Bing. ‘It was the first audition I had done for anyone, and I was so scared’, Ms. Peters told The Chicago Tribune in 1993. ‘When it was over he asked if I would sing it again. Then he asked me to do it again. Well, I sang it four times, not knowing that he had silently brought in conductors Fritz Reiner, Fausto Cleva and Fritz Stiedry to hear me’. Peters made her impromptu Met début 17 Nov., 1951, substituting for Nadine Conner. ‘The delightful surprise of last night’s performance of DON GIOVANNI at the Metropolitan was the emergency début of little Roberta Peters in the part of Zerlina’, The New York World-Telegram’s review the next day said. ‘The voice came through the big house as clear as a bell, the notes equally bright and focused and the phrasing that of a true musician’.
Ms. Peters was by all accounts one of opera’s least diva-like divas.”
- Margalit Fox, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 19 JAN., 2017
“On the other hand, I cannot resist sharing a typical diva-like confrontation Roberta Peters had at the Sol Hurok management in the then-shared office of Harold Shaw and Joe Lippman. Early in her career, when all performing artists were obliged to earn their stripes by recital-touring throughout the United States, Joe Lippman had arranged an extended recital tour for her which took her to all possible outposts, cultural or otherwise, many in the mid-West where venues were few are far apart, thus requiring travel via train and therein sometimes in cattle cars. Upon returning to New York she burst into Harold Shaw's and Joe Lippman's shared office lambasting Joe Lippman for her ’ordeal’. She clearly delineated all the indelicacies to which she had been subjected, not least of which was the cattle car experience. It should be noted that unlike other managers, Joe Lippman, to his dying day, never once travelled via air, so he was all-too-familiar with travel conditions of that time. Harold Shaw, an old friend of mine, recounted this meeting with Peters and Lippman which Harold observed first-hand. When Peters finally abated, Joe Lippman, who had spent the time during her outburst twirling his unsmoked and wet cigar in his mouth, removed it briefly to quietly inform her that she was lucky: ‘They wouldn’t hire you the first time I offered your services’. That finally silenced her!”
- J. R. Peters (positively NO relation!)