A LEGENDARY TENOR IN GREAT VERDIAN ROLES
jfmaniaci | Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia | 05/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This stupendous CD provides 78 minutes of glorious singing by Giacomo Lauri-Volpi in formidable company. His partners, Elisabeth Rethberg, Giuseppe De Luca, Maria Caniglia , Gino Bechi and Mario Basiola (his old buddy at the Santa Cecilia academy in Rome) are legendary operatic stars on their own.
The CD operatic excerpts include demanding tenor roles such as Alvaro (Forza), Radames (Aida) and Otello (Otello). Giacomo Lauri-Volpi comes out with sublime artistry and heroism.
For me, he is the greatest Italian tenor to grace the operatic stage. This is a tall statement. He emitted exquisite and unequalled "mezza voce" notes. He used his magnificent lirico-spinto armour to sing verismo operas. In Verdi, he resorted to bel canto, lyric passion and a powerful upper register. Coupled to sublime artistry and "full grasp of the composer's musical intentions", they define eternal greatness.
The CD is an admirable record of his voice extraordinary range. In !"Quando le sere al placido" (Luisa Miller) and "Ella mi fu rapita" (Rigoletto) I revelled the solidly anchored bel canto technique and, at full throttle, the fioriture are all there. I am not a fan of "Forza" but, hearing the splendid duet of Lauri-Volpi and Bechi in " Solenne in quest'ora" and "Invano Alvaro...", I discovered new dramatic values in the score.
The great Nile scene from Aida is presented in its entirety. The arias were recorded at different times between 1927 and 1930. Yet, the masterful transfer by Nimbus was so coherent that the whole act is beautifully balanced. Rethberg , Lauri-Volpi and De Luca are transcendental in their singing. In "Io sono disonorato" and the final phrase of the act "O sacerdote, io resto a te", Lauri-Volpi sustains a top note which has unique timbre and resonance. In comparison, Martinelli, Pertile, more recently Pavarotti, Corelli and Del Monaco top note is simply volume.
The six excerpts from Otello recorded in 1941 are! the icing on the sumptuous cake. Lauri-Volpi shows his sublime artistry, dramatic phrasing and superb clarity (I should know, being my mother-tongue) in all the arias. It is no wonder that he has been hailed his generation's finest Otello. I particularly liked his thrilling "Si, pel ciel marmoreo giuro!", the oath-taking duet with Iago. This is the crown of the stupendous CD and a memorable treat to all "Otello" fans."