Glorious recitals - the essence of charm, elegance and beaut
jonsj | New York, NY United States | 07/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cesare Valletti was a pupil of the great tenor Tito Schipa's, and had a relatively short operatic career in the 1950s and 60s. A true tenore di grazia, on records he was a notable Count Almaviva and Don Ottavio (respectively) in Leinsdorf's Barber of Seville and Don Giovanni, and appeared on a number of Cetra opera sets including L'Elisir D'Amore and Don Pasquale. Thankfully, most of these have been reissued over the years.
But Valletti was also a wonderful recitalist who made a number of classic solo records for RCA that have been collector's items for years. Testament has once again jumped in to rescue these records from oblivion and presents 3 of these recital discs here in this superbly remastered and annotated set. Included are "The Art of Song" and the "Town Hall" recitals from 1959 and 1960. Among other pleasures, we get hear what a marvelous linguist Valletti was - in German, English, French and Italian - with selections by Schubert, Schuman, Cilea, Berlioz and others.
Valletti's gorgeous honeyed sound and his melting and often unforgettable phrasing make these, in my view, Golden Age performances - and just about the ultimate in the art of lyric tenor singing. I simply can not imagine anyone listening to, say, Valletti's rendition of Grieg's "I Love Thee" (sung in utterly charming English) and not being totally won over. These discs will offer endless pleasure to anyone who loves great singing and I urge people to buy this set and support the tremendously valuable work Testament has done to preserve Valletti's work. And hopefully, Testament will release the 2 remaining Valletti records (one of Schumann's Dichterliebe and the other of French art songs)!"