V2616. LEO SLEZAK: Arias from Guillaume Tell, Les Huguenots, La Dame Blanche, Barbe-Bleue, Aïda, Ballo, Cavalleria, Pagliacci, Otello, La Boheme, Euryanthe & Die Königin von Saba. (France) Malibran AMR 193. [Remarkably brilliant transfers; AMR titles are issued without rear tray-cards]
“Slezak recorded extensively from 1901...into the electric period. His recordings provide abundant testimony as to the size and fine quality of his voice....He is at his best in music that requires style and technique as much as voice.”
- Michael Scott, THE RECORD OF SINGING
“For the 30 years that opened the twentieth century, Leo Slezak was one of the outstanding dramatic tenors, and is best known today for his Wagnerian roles, but he was also capable of the shading and subtleties required for French opera, and was greatly admired in such roles as Gerald in Delibes' LAKMÉ and des Grieux in Massenet's MANON.
Having studied with Adolf Robinson, his operatic début was as Lohengrin in Brno, in 1896. Two years later, he made his Berlin début in the same role, and in 1900, performed it again at Covent Garden, when the Breslau company, which he joined the year before, toured abroad. In 1901, his rise to fame began when he came to the attention of Gustav Mahler, who invited him to join the Vienna State Opera. He made his début as Arnold in GUILLAME TELL, beginning a 32-year association with that house. In 1907, however, when Mahler left, Slezak also left to pursue an international career. In Paris, he studied the French operatic repertoire with Jean de Reszke and song with Reynaldo Hahn. Moving on to the United States, his Met début was as Otello in 1909. Though he returned to the Vienna State Opera in 1913, he continued to make international appearances until his farewell performance as Canio in 1933.
While he was not considered one of the great operatic actors, after his retirement he appeared in cameo roles in various films. Walter Slezak wrote WHAT TIME'S THE NEXT SWAN?, an affectionate and humorous combination of autobiography and biography of his parents' lives, and Slezak himself wrote several volumes of memoirs.”
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com