OP1473. MADAME SANS-GÊNE (Giordano), Broadcast Performance, 10 Aug., 1957, w.Basile Cond. RAI Ensemble, Milano; Magda László, Danilo Vega, Carlo Tagliabue, etc. (Italy) 2-GOP 66.375. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 812719663755
“MADAME SANS-GÊNE is Umberto Giordano’s opera about a laundress who becomes a duchess whose manners are not much appreciated at the court of Napoleon I. Once wildly popular, it quickly died during the 1920s, largely because it had been a starring role of soprano Geraldine Farrar who retired from the stage in 1922. I still remember the photo of Farrar as Sans-Gêne in the Victor Book of the Opera, standing at an ironing board and grinning into the camera with a psychotic stare like a deer caught in the headlights. MADAME SANS-GÊNE is not a masterpiece like his ANDREA CHÉNIER or another opera it resembles, Cilea’s ADRIANA LECOUVREUR , but it’s by no means bad. Overall, Giordano was a better composer than Ciléa, but Ciléa hit his stride with ADRIANA while for Giordano, MADAME SANS-GÊNE seems a well-crafted piece that just failed to gel. The music is archetypal verismo, pleasantly tuneful (but not treacly), harmonically tonal, and conventional. One of the most impressive passages in the whole score is the orchestral prelude to the third act, which builds from soft cello and woodwind murmurs to dramatic climaxes. It’s a much better opera, overall, than Ciléa’s L’ARLESIANA or Leoncavallo’s ZAZA."
- Lynn René Bayley, FANFARE
“Magda László was a Hungarian operatic soprano particularly associated with 20th-century operas. She studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, and made her début at the Budapest Opera in 1943, as Elisabeth in TANNHÄUSER, later singing Amelia in SIMON BOCCANEGRA.
In 1946, she settled in Italy, where she appeared in concert often with pianist Luigi Cortese, later becoming a regular guest at the Rome Opera and La Scala in Milan. She created the role of the mother in Dallapiccola's IL PRIGIONIERO on Italian radio in 1949, and also sang the part in the first staged performance in Florence, the following year, on20 May, 1950. A fine-singing actress and musician, she sang several parts in Italian contemporary works by Malipiero, Ghedini, and Lualdi. She made guest appearances at the Glyndebourne Festival, notably in 1953, as Gluck's ALCESTE, in 1954, as Dorabella in COSÌ FAN TUTTE, in 1962, as Poppea in Monteverdi's L'INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA. In 1954, she created the role of Cressida in William Walton's TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, at the Royal Opera House in London. Other notable roles included Strauss's Daphne, Busoni's Turandot, Marie in WOZZECK, and Senta. László also recorded a number of the Bach cantatas under Hermann Scherchen.”
“Carlo Tagliabue’s début was 1921 in Lodi as Amonasro. After several appearances in various theatres he came to La Scala in 1929 at Toscanini’s behest. He appeared in 39 different rôles at La Scala alone. His conductors were de Sabata, Serafin, Guarnieri, Votto, Marinuzzi and Karl Böhm (who admired him as Wolfram). Further stations of his career were the Arena di Verona, Rio de Janeiro, San Paolo, Lisbon, Wiesbaden and Vienna. In 1936 he sang at Covent Garden in a Gala performance on the occasion of the coronation of George VI. For two seasons he appeared at the Met as Rigoletto, Amonasro and Marcello. His home remained La Scala, he belonged to its ensemble for more than 30 years until his farewell in a performance of LA TRAVIATA with Maria Callas and Gianni Raimondi in 1958.
I admire the beauty and warmth of his voice and his phenomenal breath control. It is a pity that he was not able to record before 1939! He had to compete with baritones like Viglione-Borghese, Stracciari, Urbano and Galeffi! Very important his participation in two of icomplete recordings of IL TROVATORE (Previtali) and LA FORZA DEL DESTINO (Marinuzzi).”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile