La Fille du Regiment  (Rossi;  Lina Pagliughi, Cesare Valletti, Sesto Bruscantini)   (2-Warner Fonit 8573 87493)
Item# OP3371
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La Fille du Regiment  (Rossi;  Lina Pagliughi, Cesare Valletti, Sesto Bruscantini)   (2-Warner Fonit 8573 87493)
OP3371. LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT (in Italian), Recorded 1950, w.Rossi Cond.RAI Ensemble, Milano; Lina Pagliughi, Cesare Valletti, Sesto Bruscantini, Rina Corsi & Eraldo Coda. (Italy) 2-Warner Fonit 8573 87493, w. Libretto-Brochure. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 0685738749324


“Donizetti’s opera has had a chequered history. Its first performance at the Paris Opéra-Comique was indifferently received but completely the reverse at subsequent ones. It had only spasmodic revivals thereafter, such as in 1928 with Toti dal Monte, then in the 1950 with the soprano featured here, Pagliughi, who committed it to disc with Cetra, then Sutherland made the role her own to give the opera a higher profile. The opera is a simple comedy despite, or indeed because of its unlikely plot. Maria has been entrusted by her dying father to Sulpizio, a sergeant in a regiment assigned to a Swiss village. She and Tonio are in love and he enlists to be near her. Recognised by the Countess of Berckenfield (a Swiss Beaconsfield perhaps?) as her niece, she colludes with her guardian to remove Maria from her surroundings to receive an education suitable for her true position and in preparation for a more propitious marriage (to the equally unlikely named Duke of Krakenthorp). Of course she resists and in desperation the Countess turns to Sulpizio for help, at the same time revealing Maria to be not her niece but her daughter. Even that fails and Maria is married to Tonio, by now promoted to an officer.

The music is full of gay melody, plenty of opportunity for vocal pyrotechnics, its style reminiscent of L’ELISIR D’AMORE by the same composer but with debts to Boieldieu, Auber, Adam, and of course Rossini. It in turn influenced both Offenbach and Johann Strauss (there’s hints of FLEDERMAUS - ‘Mein Herr Marquis’ - in the first act ensemble with Maria and chorus ‘Egli è là’). Pagliughi’s coloratura shines though her feel for comedy is somewhat straight-laced in delivery. Valletti has the lightness of vocal touch to match her, while Bruscantini is well on the road of his wonderful career as a buffo bass and as dependable as ever. His diction is the best of the lot. Corsi, as the Countess, characterises it all in the manner of Marcellina in NOZZE, with plenty of military moments such as side-drums, trumpet calls and ‘Rataplan, rataplan’ male choruses add to the colourful style of this charming opera.”

- Christopher Fifield, MusicWebInternational

“A member of the coloratura sorority that enjoyed ascendancy before the emergence of Maria Callas, Lina Pagliughi represented the best of that breed. Declared ‘my successor’ by Luisa Tetrazzini, Pagliughi possessed a clear, beautifully formed instrument that was flexible in passagework and flowing in legato. Unlike the slenderized edition of Callas, however, she was a woman of enormous girth and continued to gain weight during the course of her career. Thus, while vocal display was present in abundance, dramatic verisimilitude was not. On recording, however, Pagliughi's art can be enjoyed without the distraction of physical appearance. Born to Italian immigrant parents in New York, Pagliughi moved to San Francisco before her second birthday. There, she began making public appearances at age seven. Luisa Tetrazzini sought to adopt her, but her parents declined the offer. When Pagliughi moved to Italy at age 15 to study with Manlio Bavagnoli, however, the legendary singer oversaw her training and became close to the young student. Having already graduated from a San Francisco conservatory before her move to Italy, Pagliughi was well prepared musically and could concentrate on vocal polish and learning repertory. For her 1927 début at Milan's Teatro Nazionale, Pagliughi presented herself as Gilda, a rôle with which she would be closely identified thereafter (and which she recorded twice). After an experiment with the rôle of Mimi, Pagliughi vowed to concentrate on the coloratura repertory, even though her voice was substantial enough for lyric rôles. Thus, she kept her instrument supple and trim for the duration of her career, even with having included Violetta among her rôles, a part that grows progressively heavier with each passing act. Pagliughi's equable personality no doubt also contributed to her longevity. A good colleague, one to whom jealousy was an alien emotion, she admired fellow artists of quality and saw in them no threat to her own reputation. In addition to appearances at Italy's major houses, Pagliughi sang at London's Covent Garden in 1938 (her Gilda was regarded as having been beautifully sung) and performed with success at Brazil's São Paulo Municipal Theatre and in Buenos Aires, where she undertook her first Rosina and her first Violetta. Following her formal retirement in 1957, the soprano became a respected teacher.”

- Erik Eriksson,

“As one of the younger tenors to emerge soon after World War II, it was obvious that Valletti was an artist whose reputation would be made based on artistic and musical considerations….His musicianship and vocal colour made him an ideal interpreter of Mozart rôles, and like Schipa [his mentor], he became a renowned Werther with sensitivity and nuance being the key to his interpretation….he was considered a lyric tenor of the front rank.”

- Alan Bilgora, program notes to Pearl’s THE CETRA TENORS

“Cesare Valletti…was a phenomenon among Italian tenors, an opera singer who was also a stylish recitalist with a large, well studied repertoire of songs....Valletti was a pupil of Tito Schipa but has more affinity with Schipa’s contemporary Dino Borgioli.”

- John Steane, GRAMOPHONE, June, 2008