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Leonard Warren: His First Recordings
Leonard Warren, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Giuseppe Verdi
Leonard Warren: His First Recordings
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1


      
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A voice unmatched
Dan | University of Illinois | 11/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The 29 year old baritone made some of his very first recordings on behalf of the New York Post--the Post was recording opera excerpts as a way to beef up its cultural reputation around the area. This CD contains opera excerpts from this recording series and reveals Warren's voice in its most glorious form. The magnificent size of his voice can be heard on any of his recordings. However, here, his voice has a ring and brilliance to it that he lost in later years. He had the tendency to cover more and not always use the core of his voice during his later, more common recordings. But in these excerpts, his voice is consistant all the way through his incredible range. And his "Cortigiani, vil razza dannata" is the most heartfelt, believable rendition I have heard to this day (he puts more popular renditions--like Sherrill Milnes'--to shame). His voice is so exquisitely beautiful, but yet torn and angry at being unable to find his daughter, Gilda. No doubt his time in Italy several years earlier had something to do with his completely assimilating the role of Rigoletto (he spent some time there learning huge Verdi roles through his own study...simply to prepare them for later life). His voice is unique not for its size, but for its remarkable consistency throughout and for the fact that--especially in this recording--he is able to capture that same brilliance in his voice that other mere mortals must push and force out at the expense of their technique and depth. His technique is remarkable at such a young age. No one on these recordings can really begin to compete with the presence inherent in his voice. However, his voice blends very well with most sopranos and his ensemble numbers often contain his best singing. His Traviata excerpts with a young Eleanor Steber are quite exquisite. Warren's voice really is the most magnificent ever bestowed on a baritone."
Exciting Early Warren
Culture Vulture | Oakland, CA | 01/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Leonard Warren must have been electric in person. His ended tragically on stage in 1960, but these recordings, made in 1940, show his voice at its most youthful. The highlight, for me, is the prologue from Pagliacci. Several of the other excerpts feature less-than-ideal soloists (except for Eleanor Steber in Traviata who is terrific) and faster than normal tempi (perhaps because of timing constraints of 78rpm recordings), but if you want to hear Warren at the beginning of his career, this is the recording to get."