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Giacomo Lauri-Volpi (Prima Voce)
Luigi Borgonovo, Vincenzo Bellini, Arrigo Boito
Giacomo Lauri-Volpi (Prima Voce)
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #1


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CD Reviews

jfmaniaci | Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia | 04/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This CD is a stunning and exquisite collection of Giacomo Lauri-Volpi's golden voice recordings when he was at the peak of his career between 1922 and 1942. Three elements contribute to the CD rare and historic value. The tenor magnificent artistry, the rich biographical introduction, which gives an insight to the temperamental man besides the artist, and the masterful transfer by Nimbus of fine and well-preserved old 78s. I particularly liked the recordings chronological sequence because it illustrates vividly the voice development. In the first period, 1922-30, the sensuous legato singing or "bel canto" is predominant as in " A te, o cara" (I Puritani by Bellini) and "Salut! Demeure chaste et pure" (Faust by Gounod) but not devoid of lyric passion as in "Addio alla madre"(Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni) and "Vesti la giubba" (Pagliacci by Leoncavallo). Lauri-Volpi's choice to put on record in 1929 his excellent rendition of "Quando nascesti tu" (Lo Schiavo by Gomez), an aria not well known, intrigued me. The great Caruso had recorded it previously and I feel that Lauri-Volpi wished to measure his legato talent against that of Caruso, the standard of tenor voice supremacy. In the second period, 1934-42, the lirico-spinto voice comes into full bloom as in "Un di, all'azzurro spazio" (Andrea Chenier by Giordano) and "Addio, fiorito asil" (Madama Butterfly by Puccini). Top heroic notes abound but there is always the feeling for theatrical interpretation. The clear diction is unsurpassable, intonation unequalled in the phrasing of "Nessun dorma" and Lauri-Volpi's extended top note of "Vincero'..."(Turandot by Puccini) is as vibrant as Pavarotti's, whose fortunes and popularity rest a lot on that note. Roland Vernon's biographical introduction, enclosed with the CD package, is well researched and presented. However, I do not altogether agree to the claim that deterioration of Lauri-Volpi's voice in the late 1940s (he was well over 50 years of age) was accentuated by indulgence on "heavily-driven top notes". The human voice is part of the body and inevitably deteriorates as the body does with age and exertion. Caruso's voice lost its ringing tone with age and "matured", to put it lightly, into a baritone quality. Gigli, the artistic archrival of Lauri-Volpi in the bel canto department, developed a "sobbing" voice as the years went by. The CD belongs to the Prima Voce series issued by Nimbus Records and their engineers have excelled in transferring the old 78s into a superb compact disc with scarcely any surface noise. I cannot wait to listen another CD of the same series " Giacomo Lauri-Volpi sings Verdi", which according to the general consensus is a beauty!"