OP2971. PAGLIACCI, recorded 1934, w.Ghione Cond.La Scala Ensemble; Beniamino Gigli, Iva Pacetti, Mario Basiola, Giuseppe Nessi, etc. (England) Naxos 8.110155. Transfers by Ward Marston. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 636943115527
"In this opera, his masterpiece, Leoncavallo successfully combined instantly memorable melodies with simple and intensely dramatic situations. The dramatic power of the music written for the leading character, the tragic clown Tonio, has made it a favorite with the world's leading tenors. Gigli's command of the leading role is an object lesson in achieving the maximum impact without resorting to vocal excess. This famous La Scala production dates from 1934. Restored by Ward Marston."
“Beniamino Gigli was the least intellectual and most natural of singers, who displayed his uncomplicated emotions in everything he sang. Sometimes the display was a little vulgar, but it was always in heartfelt response to the music, and it had great audience appeal. In the 1934 La Scala PAGLIACCI the sound is antiquated and Franco Ghione's direction is rather sluggish, but Gigli is quite wonderful, Iva Pacetti sings a lovely and well-characterized Nedda, and the whole thing has an Italianate fervor of which we don't hear much these days.”
- Alexander J. Morin, Audiophile Audition
“For a remarkably long period of time that spanned the second quarter of the 20th century…Beniamino Gigli was the most important Italian lyric tenor of the operatic world. Yes, there were others, notably Tito Schipa, but none with the breadth of repertoire and the career longevity of Gigli. And then there was that unique sound – melting, sweet, unlike any other….This is, without question, one of the most important and satisfying singers of the 20th century.”
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE, July/Aug., 2005