Hina Spani;  Apollo Granforte   (Preiser 89037)
Item# V1107
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Product Description

Hina Spani;  Apollo Granforte   (Preiser 89037)
V1107. HINA SPANI: Songs by Ugarte & Buchardo; Arias from Ballo, Il Trovatore, Manon Lescaut, La Wally, La Boheme, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Faust, Manon & Lohengrin; w. APOLLO GRANFORTE: Pagliacci – Decidi il mio destin. (Austria) Preiser 89037, recorded 1927-30. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 717281890373


“This superb compilation shines a light on an undervalued spinto soprano from the first half of the 20th century, the Argentinian Hina Spani (1890–1969). Because her career was limited largely to Italy, Spain, and South America (she never appeared in England or the United States), Spani did not command the kind of attention from record companies that her talent merited. She was a mainstay at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and other South American opera houses, often singing with the likes of Caruso and Titta Ruffo.

In 1920 her career took off in Italy. She sang Elsa in LOHENGRIN in Parma under Tulio Serafin with Aureliano Pertile and Cesare Formichi, and roles as disparate as Sieglinde in DIE WALKÜRE, Santuzza in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, Mimì in LA BOHÈME, and the title role in LA WALLY. A second breakthrough came in 1924 when Puccini on his deathbed asked that Spani sing at his funeral, a service held in the Duomo in Milan. Toscanini led the La Scala chorus and orchestra, and the program was then repeated at La Scala. Although she had sung there in a secondary role in 1915, this event turned Spani into one of La Scala’s leading sopranos. She also appeared throughout Italy and Spain, singing a wide range of operas, concerts, and recitals. She sang her final operatic performances in 1940 but continued giving recitals until 1946. As related in Potter’s booklet essay, Spani had a heart condition, and on the advice of her doctor she made the decision to stop singing. devoting her later years to teaching.

The one constant is the sheer beauty of tone. Spani’s voice gleams with an attractive shine and a rapid vibrato that is just the right degree to add expressivity, never so strong as to distract. She easily spans the long lines of Aida’s music and Leonora’s in IL TROVATORE. Elsa’s solos from LOHENGRIN, although sung in Italian, are particularly beautiful. Her legato is impeccable, and her imaginative use of dynamic shading is breathtaking. The other recording that I treasure here is the Nedda-Silvio duet from PAGLIACCI, sung with Apollo Granforte. Despite his imposing name, Granforte was an extremely sensitive baritone and a far classier one than is usually cast as Silvio. I doubt that this duet has ever received a superior recording...."

- Henry Fogel, FANFARE, July, 2022

"To build up their catalogue, La Voce del Padrone really needed a dramatic soprano to replace Celestina Boninsegna, whose acoustic records had sold so well; Spani was a robust lirico spinto, and Maestro Sabajno, who planned and conducted most of her operatic records, led her from one success to another….Spani greatly admired Claudia Muzio, and perhaps occasionally we catch a fleeting glimpse of a ‘Muzio effect’ in Spani’s records….Reviewing the [two following] arias in GRAMOPHONE in 1928, Herman Klein wrote that the disc was ‘of surpassing excellence. It would be difficult to imagine a more delicate and refined rendering either of the ‘Addio di Mimì’ or the charming page, ‘In quelle trine morbide’, from MANON LESCAUT. This singer offers a lesson in naturalness, sweetness, and steadiness of tone’.

Maestro Sabajno also supports her with wonderful conducting in what may be her most beautiful record, and also one of the rarest. Two pages from LOHENGRIN reveal a perfect Wagner singer, despite her rather earthy type of vocal timbre, warm and ripe - a southern voice…. Wagner longed to hear his operas sung in the Italian manner, and this Spani can provide, as well as very long phrases without having to snatch breaths. She may not have the pure, virginal timbre that might be thought appropriate to a royal lady of Brabant, but she has other weapons: a voice floating securely on the breath, clear diction, a true musician’s command of rhythm and the dreamy piano and pianissimo that this music demands but rarely gets."

- Michael Aspinall