OP3437. DIE ZAUBEREFLÖTE, Live Performance, 15 Dec., 1973, w.Peter Maag Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Anna Moffo, Luigi Alva, Rita Shane, Jerome Hines, Donald Gramm, Loretta Di Franco, Mary Ellen Pracht, etc. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio Stereo YSL T-1278. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“In 1959 Peter Maag made his debuts at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE and at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera with LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. He then withdrew from performance, entering a Buddhist monastery in Hong Kong in order to reassess his life and musical career.
Maag’s international reputation was founded initially on his interpretation of Mozart, to whose music he brought a combination of drive and elegance which was highly refreshing: his early recordings, for Decca, fully reflect these twin characteristics. He went on to make several early stereophonic recordings for Decca of music by Mendelssohn and Mozart with the London Symphony Orchestra which were very highly praised, and which have continued to hold an admired place in the catalogue. During the 1960s he recorded further music by Mozart as well as the compete symphonies of Schubert for the Vox label. After several assignments with the Deutsche Grammophon, Supraphon and Westminster labels, during the 1970s he made two significant opera recordings which were released on the Decca label: Verdi’s LUISA MILLER, and Paer’s LEONORA. Several live opera performances from this period have also been released which attest to Maag’s vitality in the theatre. His discography with the Orchestra of Padua and the Veneto, created during the 1990s, was large, and included all the Beethoven and Mendelssohn symphonies, as well as the major symphonies of Mozart. Maag was a conductor of considerable musical taste whose career, particularly towards the end of his life, may have reflected his personal priorities rather than his full potential.”
- David Patmore, Naxos' A–Z of Conductors
“Anna Moffo, an American soprano who was beloved for her rosy voice, dramatic vulnerability and exceptional beauty, was drawn early on into television and film, playing host of her own variety show on Italian television for many years. She might not have fulfilled her promise, but for a good dozen years Ms. Moffo enjoyed enormous success and won a devoted following at a time when her competition for roles like Verdi's Violetta, Puccini's Mimi and Donizetti's Lucia included Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi and Joan Sutherland. Though Ms. Moffo's voice was not large, it was warm and rich, with soft pastel colorings and a velvety lower range. Agile coloratura technique allowed her to sing high soprano bel canto repertory impressively, especially LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR. She was a thoroughly trained musician, having studied the piano and viola when she was a voice major on scholarship at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Ms. Moffo made her stage opera debut in 1955 as Norina in Donizetti's DON PASQUALE in Spoleto. Her big breakthrough came the next year, when she starred in a television production of Puccini's MADAMA BUTTERFLY, directed by Mario Lanfranchi, a producer for RCA Victor and RAI. She and Mr. Lanfranchi married in 1957.
Her Met debut in 1959 was as Violetta in LA TRAVIATA. Ms. Moffo soon became a favorite at the Met, and remained so well into the 1960s. She appeared some 200 times with the Company, including her portrayal of Liù in the legendary production of Puccini's TURANDOT in 1961 that starred Birgit Nilsson and Franco Corelli."
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 11 March, 2006
“Rita Shane, a dramatic coloratura soprano admired for the range, flexibility and size of her voice, as well as the intensity she brought to her performances, made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1973 as the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE, a role she sang some 250 times in her career. She used her dark-hued voice and impressive technique to render the character with arresting fury. ‘She raged through her big aria with power, precision and expressive intensity that left no doubt as to the Queen of the Night’s character’, Allen Hughes wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES.
Ms. Shane, who was a professor at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, sang regularly with the Met until 1982. Her last performance at the Metropolitan Opera House was as Berthe in Meyerbeer’s LE PROPHÈTE in 1979. She appeared in a total of 71 Met performances.
She also sang Baroque opera. Harold C. Schonberg wrote in a 1967 TIMES review that in her interpretation of Elmira in Reinhard Keiser’s CROESUS she ‘had the style down well, and snapped out little trills and embellishments with real flair’.
Contemporary music was another facet of Ms. Shane’s career. She originated the title role in Dominick Argento’s MISS HAVISHAM’S FIRE at City Opera in 1979, and that same year she appeared in Peter Schat’s HOUDINI at the Aspen Music Festival.
It was after she began studying with the soprano Beverley Johnson that her career began in earnest. She was a member of the apprentice program at Santa Fe Opera for two summers. She made her European debut in Strauss’ ARABELLA at La Scala in 1970.
- Vivien Schweitzer, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 12 Oct., 2014
"After serving as a cadet in the Peruvian navy, Luigi Alva studied singing with Rose Mercedes Ajarza de Morales in Lima. He later studied singing with Emilio Ghirardini and Ettore Campogalliani. In 1954 he sang Alfredo in a production at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan. The following year he was invited to take part in the opening of the Piccola Scala, a new studio theatre adjacent to La Scala, as Paolino in a production of Cimarosa’s IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO, in which he sang opposite Giulietta Simionato and Graziella Sciutti, and which was subsequently recorded by EMI. After the first night, Carlo Maria Giulini, then conducting at La Scala, asked him to sing Count Almaviva in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA in the main house, with Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi. Alva’s international career was thus effectively launched.
Alva swiftly established himself as a pre-eminent tenore di grazia: at the Salzburg Festival he sang Fenton under Herbert von Karajan (1957–1958), Belmonte and Ferrando (1967), Almaviva (1968–1969) and Ferrando once again in 1970. He also appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in 1957, at the Holland Festival in 1959 in Haydn’s IL MONDO DELLA LUNA, and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in various Mozart roles from 1960. He made his débuts at Covent Garden in 1960 as Almaviva, at the Vienna State Opera in 1961 and at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1961 as Nemorino, returning in 1962. By this time he was in demand throughout the world. He made his début at the Metropolitan in 1964 as Fenton, and sang there regularly until 1975; he enjoyed especial acclaim for his Nemorino in 1971.
Alva possessed one of the most expressive lyrical tenor voices of his generation. He was especially notable as an interpreter of Mozart and Rossini, and was equally successful in Donizetti’s comic operas DON PASQUALE, L’ELISIR D’AMORE (Nemorino was his favorite role) and LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT, which he sang in both the French and Italian versions. A man of great personal charm and integrity, as well as an infectious sense of humour, he brought the same qualities to all his stage appearances. He appeared in eighteen productions directed by Franco Zeffirelli, including FALSTAFF at Covent Garden in 1961, which Alva has recalled as ‘very beautiful’ (interview with Silvia Luraghi, 2001). His discography is extensive. These partnerships with outstanding conductors reflect the esteem in which Alva was held for both his beautiful voice and his outstanding musicianship.”
- David Patmore, Naxos' A–Z of Singers