OP1897. DON CARLO, Live Performance, 30 April, 1969, w.Schippers Cond. RAI Ensemble Roma; Bruno Prevedi, Piero Cappuccilli, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Teresa Zylis-Gara, Fiorenza Cossotto, Dimiter Petkov, etc. (E.U.) 3–Myto MDCD 0009. - 3830257900092
“Bruno Prevedi was an Italian tenor, particularly associated with the Italian repertory. Prevedi studied in Mantua with Alberto Sorenisa, and in Milan with Vladimiro Badiali. He made his début as a baritone in 1958, as Tonio, but quickly retrained himself as a tenor, and made a second début in 1959, as Turiddu, again at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan.
He sang widely in Italy, and made his début at La Scala in 1962, in Pizzetti's DEBORA E JAELE. He also appeared in Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, London and Buenos Aires. He sang the role of Pollione in NORMA in the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona during the winter season 1962-1963, then made his Metropolitan Opera début on 6 March, 1965 as Cavaradossi in TOSCA. During the following five seasons his roles included Alfredo, Manrico, Riccardo, Alvaro, Don Carlo, and Radamès.
Bruno Prevedi possessed an attractive spinto tenor voice with superb roundness at the top. He can be heard on a number of recordings for Decca, notably in complete performances of Verdi's NABUCCO, opposite Tito Gobbi and Elena Suliotis, in MACBETH, opposite Giuseppe Taddei and Birgit Nilsson, and MEDEA, opposite Gwyneth Jones, as well as a recital of tenor arias.”
“Though Piero Cappuccilli never achieved international stardom, he was enormously admired within the field of opera for his rich and abundant voice, fine vocal technique and exceptional breath control. In the great Italian tradition he fused words and music into elegant phrases. He focused on Italian repertory, particularly the operas of Verdi, singing 17 major rôles. Some critics found his full-voiced singing blunt and burly. And in striving for expressive restraint, he could sometimes come across as stiff. But at his best, with his handsome physique and vocal authority, he made a powerful impact onstage.
In 1960, just three years into his professional career, he was tapped by the producer Walter Legge to sing the rôle of Enrico in a recording of LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, starring Maria Callas and conducted by Tullio Serafin. That EMI work remains a classic. In the mid-1970's, Claudio Abbado chose him for the title rôles in Verdi's SIMON BOCCANEGRA and MACBETH at La Scala. These productions led to studio recordings that remain prized by opera buffs.”
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 21 July, 2005
"In my view Nicolai Ghiaurov was one of the truly great basses of the central portion of the 20th century, triumphant in both the Slavic and Italian repertoires. For me, his only rival in this role on recordings is Ezio Pinza. Ghiaurov’s voice is rich, dark, strong at both ends of its range, and powerfully dramatic in his vocal acting. Most importantly, he has the ability to produce with such a resonant voice a seamless legato."
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
“Nicolai Ghiaurov, the Bulgarian bass was one of the leading opera singers of his day whose warm, rich bass voice made him ideal for roles like King Philip in Verdi's DON CARLO or the title role in Moussorgsky's BORIS GODOUNOV, both of which were among his signature roles. His vocal power and striking stage presence helped gain him the kind of accolades opera usually reserves for its tenors and sopranos.
His Metropolitan Opera debut, in November 1965, as Mephistopheles in Gounod's FAUST, received rapturous reviews. ‘The man indeed is sensational’, Harold C. Schonberg wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES. ‘He not only has a remarkable voice, but he is also big in every way’. He added, ‘He has presence, the kind that Pinza and Chaliapin had, the kind that jumps over the footlights and seizes the listener in a palpable embrace’.
By then, Mr. Ghiaurov was already a star in Europe; his American debut, at the Chicago Lyric Opera, had taken place two years earlier. His Met debut would have come earlier, too, he told an interviewer in 1965, but a tenor accidentally got in the way. At a party in Milan, Rudolf Bing, the Met's general manager, made Mr. Ghiaurov an offer, which was overheard by Franco Corelli. According to Mr. Ghiaurov, Corelli ‘became very excited’ and said to Bing, ‘How dare you offer him so little? From then on, everything was ruined in that discussion’, Mr. Ghiaurov said.
As beloved as he was in New York, Mr. Ghiaurov never created a home base there of the kind he had in Europe; he sang 81 performances of 10 roles at the Met, including a gala in 1991 celebrating the 25th anniversaries his debut, Ms. Freni's and the tenor Alfredo Kraus's; he also appeared in the Met's centennial gala in 1983. His last performance there was in 1996, in RIGOLETTO.
He remained active in Europe, however. In 2001, he tried out a new role, Dosifey, the old believer, in Moussorgsky's KHOVANSHCHINA, in a new production in Zürich, having often sung Khovansky in the same opera. In December in Venice, he sang Basilio in Rossini's BARBER OF SEVILLE, the role in which he made his operatic debut in Sofia in 1955.
His remarkable vocal longevity was often attributed to his choice of roles suited to his voice and to his care in later years not to overextend himself with too many performances.
After his operatic debut, Mr. Ghiaurov's progress was rapid: Bologna in 1958, La Scala in 1959, Covent Garden in 1962. ‘It is not entirely good to move up with such speed’, he told an interviewer. ‘I do not have the long experience with the smaller roles first. Almost from the beginning it is the big roles’.”
- Anne Midgette, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 3 June, 2004
"Teresa Zylis-Gara, a Polish soprano who displayed a plush voice, impressive versatility and beguiling stage presence during a three-decade international career that included a stretch at the Metropolitan Opera during her prime in the 1970s, was essentially a lyric soprano who excelled in Mozart and other roles suited to a lighter voice. But as she developed more richness and body in her sound, she moved into the lirico-spinto repertory, which calls for dramatic heft along with lyricism, including the title role of Puccini’s TOSCA, Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s EUGENE ONEGIN and Elisabeth in Wagner’s TANNHÄUSER. Her repertory ranged from the Baroque, including works by Claudio Monteverdi, to 20th-century fare by the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. She also championed the songs of her countryman Chopin, works that had been surprisingly overlooked….reviewing a Met production of Verdi’s OTELLO presented on tour in Boston, the critic Ellen Pfeifer wrote in THE BOSTON GLOBE that Ms. Zylis-Gara’s Desdemona was ‘a spirited and mature young woman instead of the usual adolescent clinging violet’. Her singing, Ms. Pfeifer added, ‘was beautiful, ample in size, with the requisite transparency and flexibility’. Ms. Zylis-Gara in the title role of Puccini’s MANON LESCAUT at the Met in 1981. The tenor Giuliano Ciannella sang Des Grieux, Manon’s lover.
She won first prize in the 1954 Polish Young Vocalists Contest in Warsaw, which led to engagements with Polish National Radio and, in 1956, her professional debut with the Krakow Opera in the title role of HALKA, by the 19th-century Polish composer Stanislaw Moniuszko, a staple of the Polish opera repertory. Further prizes during the next few years in Toulouse, France, and in Munich led to engagements with opera houses in Oberhausen, Dortmund and Düsseldorf in West Germany.
Ms. Zylis-Gara had a significant breakthrough in 1965 when she sang an acclaimed Octavian in a production of Strauss’s DER ROSENKAVALIER at the Glyndebourne Festival, which led to her debut with the Paris National Opéra the next year. In 1968, a banner year, Donna Elvira in Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI became her calling card - or, as she put it in a 1969 interview with THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, her ‘destiny role’. She sang Elvira for her debuts at the Salzburg Festival (with Herbert von Karajan conducting), the San Francisco Opera and, in December, the Met. Of the San Francisco performance, the Los Angeles Times critic Martin Bernheimer wrote that Ms. Zylis-Gara ‘sang a Donna Elvira that easily withstood comparison with the finest recent exponents of that difficult role, Sena Jurinac and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’. At the Met, the cast included the formidable Cesare Siepi as Giovanni and Martina Arroyo as Donna Anna. In a 2015 article in OPERA NEWS in which various opera professionals were asked to pick their favorite ‘diva debuts’ at the Met, Ms. Arroyo chose Ms. Zylis-Gara’s Donna Elvira. ‘She sang so well, a pure voice just right in style - one of the very best Elviras’, Ms. Arroyo said. The Met’s general manager, Rudolf Bing, promptly engaged Ms. Zylis-Gara for future bookings. She went on to sing 232 performances with the company over 16 seasons, taking on 20 roles, including the Marschallin in ROSENKAVALIER, Wagner’s Elisabeth and Elsa (in LOHENGRIN), Puccini’s Mimi, Butterfly and Desdemona, and Tchaikovsky’s Tatiana.
Through the 1980s, Ms. Zylis-Gara continued to sing in the world’s major houses. In later years, she divided her time between a home in Monaco and visits to her native land, sat often on competition juries, and eagerly taught emerging singers. Asked in a 2009 OPERA NEWS interview whether she would ever say farewell to opera, she asserted that this ‘would never take place! The stage lights won’t dim for even a second’, she said, ‘since I transmit to my gifted pupils all my artistic soul, my knowledge and my experience’.”
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 11 Sept., 2021
“While best known for the fiery, scenery-chewing Verdi roles such as Azucena, Amneris, Lady Macbeth, and Eboli, Fiorenza Cossotto was also a prominent performer of bel canto parts such as Rosina in Rossini's BARBIERE, Leonora in LA FAVORITA, and Adalgisa in NORMA. Such large and powerful mezzo voices, particularly with a secure top, are rare compared to the lyric mezzo, and from the late 1960s through the early 1980s, she was THE Verdi mezzo, the successor to Simionato and the predecessor to Zajick.”
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com