OP1227. MANON, Live Performance, 14 Dec., 1977, w.Giovaninetti Cond. Dallas Civic Opera Ensemble;
Jeannette Pilou, Alfredo Kraus, David Holloway, Giorgio Tozzi, etc. (Slovenia) 2-Living Stage 1131. Long out-of-print, final copies! - 3830257411314
“Pilou’s instrument is a true lyric soprano, slender in circumference but capable of colors both dulcet and bracing….At its quietest, the voice is delectably limpid…at the full, which she employs sparingly, it is enhanced by an attratice metallic hue…full of illuminating musical and dramatic touches on her part.”
- Paul Jackson, START-UP AT THE NEW MET, pp.106-107
“Jeannette Pilou began her vocal training in Egypt and continued in Italy under Carla Castellani. Her made her début at Teatro Smeraldo di Milano as Violetta in LA TRAVIATA (1959). Her international career unfolded quickly. Her repertoire covered a wide range of lyric and dramatic soprano roles in Italian and French operas. In 1964 she interpreted Mimi in LA BOHÈME at the Vienna State Opera. Appearances ensued in major European and American opera houses: London, Brussels, Milan, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Genoa, Budapest, Paris, Barcelona, Lisbon, Chicago, New Orleans, Houston, Philadelphia, Buenos Aires. In addition, she made acclaimed appearance at the Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence, Internationale Maifestspiele Wiesbaden and the Arena di Verona Festival. Beginning with the role of Juliette, she sang the following roles at the Metropolitan Opera in New York over the years 1967-86: Susanna [LE NOZZE DI FIGARO], Mélisande [PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE], Nedda [PAGLIACCI], Micaela [CARMEN], Marguerite [FAUST] and Mimì [LA BOHÈME]. She sang the leading role in the world premiere of Renzo Rosselini’s opera LA REINE MORTE (Monte Carlo, 1973). She also interpreted Marzelline [FIDELIO], Nannetta [FALSTAFF] and the title roles in Massenet’s MANON and Puccini’s MANON LESCAUT. During the years 1969-1985, she participated regularly in GNO productions at Olympia Theater and the Athens Festival, performing acclaimed interpretations of Liù [TURANDOT], Susanna [LE NOZZE DI FIGARO], Cio-Cio-San [MADAMA BUTTERFLY], Donna Elvira [DON GIOVANNI], Desdemona [OTELLO] and Marguerite [FAUST]. In 1998 she interpreted the leading role in the Greek premiere of PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE at the Athens Concert Hall.”
- Greek National Opera
“Alfredo Kraus, a lyric tenor who was revered for the refinement of his phrasing and the artistry he brought to bel canto roles, never received the kind of popular acclaim accorded Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo, but had a tremendous following among opera connoisseurs. In particular he was admired for his bright, trim timbre, his distinctive phrasing and an assured, self-possessed acting style. Mr. Kraus avoided empty display, preferring to use a composers' demand for virtuosity as an emotional element, intrinsic to the character he was creating.
Mr. Kraus' career was also an object lesson in how a singer might preserve his voice, despite the temptations to sing too often and too loud or to take on unsuitable roles. He learned those roles, and he said that he gave single performances of them early in his career. But he decided that his voice would last longer and remain fresher if he confined himself to the lyric roles of the bel canto repertory. Indeed, he was able to produce his high D, at full power and with a lovely ring, well into his 60s.
‘It's a matter of knowing what kind of voice you have from the very beginning and learning to use that voice onstage, with the right technique’ he told THE NEW YORK TIMES in 1988. ‘It is not so easy, because we are using an instrument that is immaterial. We can't touch it, it's only air. We don't even hear it properly, because we hear a combination of inside and outside sound. You cannot go by what you hear, you must learn to be very sensitive to how it feels, and you can only speak of it in a very figurative language’.
Mr. Kraus also enjoyed running the business side of his career. He did not employ a personal manager during his most active years, preferring to make his own decisions, which were often based on instinct. He would not, for example, work with conductors who he felt tried to sublimate performers' personalities, no matter how auspicious the engagement. He limited his schedule to about 60 appearances a year, and although these usually included performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala and the Teatro Colon, in Buenos Aires, he also made a point of appearing in small Spanish and Italian opera houses normally outside the limelight.
He owned and personally supervised a small Spanish record label, Carillon Records. Carillon was the first Spanish company to release a complete opera set, a recording of PEARLFISHERS, with Mr. Kraus in the cast.
In 1955 Mr. Kraus won the silver medal in a vocal competition in Geneva. He had appeared onstage in zarzuela performances in Madrid, in 1954, but he always gave the date of his formal operatic debut as 1956, when he sang the Duke in a Cairo performance of RIGOLETTO. The Cairo engagement also included Mr. Kraus's only performance as Cavaradossi.
The same year as his Cairo debut, Mr. Kraus was engaged by the Teatro La Fenice for performances of LA TRAVIATA with Renata Scotto. In 1958 he sang with Maria Callas in the Lisbon performances of LA TRAVIATA, which quickly became legendary among collectors of pirated recordings of live opera performances.
Mr. Kraus' first appearance in the United States was as Nemorino at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1962, and in 1966 he made his Met debut as the Duke. Other roles he has sung at the Met include Don Ottavio in DON GIOVANNI, Ernesto in DON PASQUALE and the title role in FAUST, as well as Werther, Alfredo, the Duke and Nemorino. Aside from his fine sense of the musical nuance and phrasing, his portrayal of the mentally unstable, morbid, masochistic, and manipulative character of Werther has been acclaimed as one of the most effective and insightful readings ever.”
- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 11 Sept., 1999
“Giorgio Tozzi, a distinguished bass who spent two decades with the Metropolitan Opera and also appeared on film, television and Broadway, was a distinguished professor emeritus at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where he had taught since 1991. He was previously on the Juilliard School faculty [originally having studied with Rosa Raisa, Giacomo Rimini and John Daggett Howell].
Esteemed for his warm, smooth voice; skillful acting; pinpoint diction; and authoritative stage presence - he was 6 foot 2 in his prime - Mr. Tozzi sang 528 performances with the Met. He was so ubiquitous there for so long that THE NEW YORK TIMES was later moved to describe him (admiringly) as ‘inescapable’. Mr. Tozzi made his Met début as Alvise in Ponchielli’s LA GIOCONDA in 1955. Reviewing the performance, The NEW YORK POST wrote that he ‘proved to have a voice of beautiful quality’, adding: ‘It was rich in texture and expertly handled both as to characterization and technique’. His most famous performances at the Met include the title roles in Mussorgsky’s BORIS GODUNOV and Mozart’s MARRIAGE OF FIGARO; Ramfis in Verdi’s AÏDA; Don Basilio in Rossini’s BARBER OF SEVILLE; Philip II in Verdi’s DON CARLO; and Hans Sachs in Wagner’s DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG. Mr. Tozzi began his vocal life as a baritone. He made his début (as George Tozzi) in 1948, singing Tarquinius in Benjamin Britten’s THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA. Staged at the Ziegfeld Theater on Broadway, the production also starred Kitty Carlisle.
He originated the role of the Doctor in Samuel Barber’s VANESSA, which had its world premiere at the Met in 1958. Conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos, the production also starred Eleanor Steber and Nicolai Gedda. Mr. Tozzi’s last performance with the Met was in 1975, as Colline in Puccini’s BOHÈME.
He also sang with the San Francisco Opera, La Scala and other companies and appeared as a soloist with major symphony orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. On film Mr. Tozzi dubbed the singing voice of the actor Rossano Brazzi in the role of Emile de Becque in SOUTH PACIFIC (1958), directed by Joshua Logan. (Mr. Tozzi had played the role himself, opposite Mary Martin, in a West Coast production of the musical the year before.) On the small screen he sang King Melchior in the 1978 television film of Gian Carlo Menotti’s AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS, also starring Teresa Stratas. On Broadway he received a Tony nomination for the role of the lonely California grape farmer Tony Esposito in the 1979 revival of Frank Loesser’s operatic musical comedy THE MOST HAPPY FELLA. (The award went to Jim Dale for BARNUM.)"
- Margalit Fox, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 2 June, 2011