OP2030. LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, Live Performance, 20 March, 1954, w.Stiedry Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Zinka Milanov, Gino Penno, Leonard Warren, Jerome Hines, Jean Madeira, etc. (E.U.) 2-Myto 00244. - 01801439902442
"The combination of the heavy drama to which the voice must be keyed in color, and the light, soaring singing assigned to Leonora is the barrier that stands between this opera and most singers – except for such brilliant sopranos as Zinka Milanov. It was not until I learned other operas – FORZA was my first, remember – that I realized how hard the opera was."
- Rosa Ponselle, ROSA PONSELLE, AMERICAN DIVA (Mary Jane Phillips-Matz), p.11
“For many of us the ideal FORZA Leonora was Zinka Milanov....What Milanov had, in addition to ethereal floated pianissimi, was a solid column of sound from bottom to top, emanating from the same throat and diaphragm. Her rich sonority brought a kind of grandeur to the score that it really needs.”
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
“Zinka Milanov - this voice is really the voice of our century and not surpassed by other wonderful artists. Her recording of ‘Pace, pace’ is my heart’s inspiration.…”
- Christa Ludwig
“In the early 1950s, Gino Penno became known throughout Italy as a highly competent heldentenor singing Siegfried at the Verona Arena and Lohengrin in Rome. He also partnered Maria Callas in Norma, Macbeth, Il Trovatore, and Medea, in various theatres in Italy
In 1951, his career took an international turn. He appeared at the Paris Opéra, the Liceo in Barcelona, the Monte Carlo Opera, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the Royal Opera House in London.
He was very highly thought of both for his musicianship and his reportedly enormous voice, of magnificent quality.”
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
“Gino Penno, who sang at the Met between 1954 and 1956, seems better suited to the urgency and desperation of Gabriele Adorno’s scena from SIMON BOCCANEGRA, ‘Sento avvampar nell’anima’. Giuseppe Campora is revealing a voice at once sturdy and supple, always at the service of his high-level musicianship and dramatic sensitivity. In a Met career that spanned 1955 to 1965, he partnered both Lily Pons and Maria Callas in a run of 1956 LUCIAs and the following year sang performances of LA TRAVIATA with Tebaldi and Leonard Warren. In every aria, Campora’s beautiful legato allows plenty of play for rhythmic details, dotted notes and word accents, and his musical intelligence and dramatic instincts are superb.”
- Judith Malafronte, OPERA NEWS, June, 2015
"Leonard Warren emerged as the principal baritone of the Met’s Italian wing in the early 1940s and remained so until his untimely death on the Met’s stage, 4 March, 1960, at the peak of his career. His smooth, velvety, and beautiful voice was powerful and had an unusually large range in its high register. It was easily and evenly produced, whether he sang softly or roared like a lion….Warren acted his roles primarily by vocal coloring, expressivity, and his excellent diction….his singing was unusually consistent….Warren’s legacy should be of interest to all lovers of great singing."
- Kurt Moses, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2006
"[Warren's] remarkable voice had a dramatic intensity which did not come naturally to him. As with everything else in his life, he worked at that until he got it right. Fortunately, his incomparable voice and dramatic power are still available to us on recordings of some of his most famous roles....[He] became one of the most famous and beloved operatic baritones in the world....Warren's flawless technique, seamless flow of sound, and brilliant top voice were his vocal trademarks and these qualities became the standard by which others would be measured, including me."
- Sherrill Milnes, AMERICAN ARIA, pp.76-77
"The American bass Jerome Hines had a long and distinguished career at the Metropolitan Opera singing a wide variety of roles with true consistency of voice and style. He appeared with the company for more than 40 years from 1946. An imposing figure - he was 6ft 6in tall - he had a voluminous bass to match his stature.
His charismatic presence made him ideal for the many roles demanding a big personality. It was thus hardly surprising that Sarastro in THE MAGIC FLUTE, Gounod's Mephistopheles, the high priest Ramfis in AIDA, the Grand Inquisitor in DON CARLOS, Boris Godunov, and King Mark in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE were among his leading roles.
Although always faithful to the Met, Hines made many forays abroad. In 1953, he undertook Nick Shadow, with Glyndebourne, at the Edinburgh festival, in the first British performances of Stravinsky's THE RAKE'S PROGRESS. That led to engagements in leading houses in Europe and south America, and eventually to Bayreuth, where he sang Gurnemanz, King Mark and Wotan (1958-63). In 1958, he made his La Scala debut in the title part of Handel's HERCULES, and, in 1961, he first appeared at the San Carlo in Naples, in the title role of Boito's MEFISTOFELE. His Boris Godunov, at the Bolshoi in Moscow in 1962, was, by all accounts, a deeply impressive portrayal.
He was fortunate to arrive at the Met just as the opera house was in need of replacements for the great Ezio Pinza, who had decided to appear in SOUTH PACIFIC. Unlike his distinguished predecessor, Hines could also sing the German and Russian repertory, in addition to Italian and French. In all, his innate musicianship stood him in good stead. Most of his discs derived from live performances. They reveal a sterling voice, a refined style, consisting of a burnished tone, a fine line and exemplary diction, although he never seems to have have been a very profound interpreter.
Hines was both a deeply religious person and a good writer. He combined these qualities in his own opera, I AM THE WAY, a work about Jesus, performed, with Hines as the protagonist, at Philadelphia in 1969. The previous year, he had published his autobiography, THIS IS MY STORY, THIS IS MY SONG, but his most lasting volume was GREAT SINGERS ON GREAT SINGING (1982), in which he made discerning comments on the art of many colleagues.
Hines' later appearances befitted his advancing years: he was Arkel, the elderly grandfather in PELLEAS ET MELISANDE (Rome, 1984), and the blind father in Mascagni's IRIS (Newark, 1989). His last stage appearance was as Sarastro, in New Orleans in 1998, when he was 77."
- Alan Blyth, THE GUARDIAN, 13 Feb., 2003