audio:

Iconic Voices of the Past – Introductory Feature

Part of Iconic Voices of the Past, the latest series from Singers on Singing

(For more information about the Singers on Singing: Iconic Voices of the Past series, please visit the series page.)


MUSIC ITEMS IN THIS INTRODUCTORY FEATURE:

These are the music items that are heard in this introductory feature of Iconic Voices of the Past:

Opening sample music:

Ettore Bastianini (Dramatic Baritone)
VERDI: LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, “È salvo! È salvo! O gioia!”


Sopranos:

Bidú Sayão (Light Lyric)
BELLINI: LA SONNAMBULA, “Ah! non credea mirarti”

Giannina Arangi-Lombardi (Spinto)
VERDI: LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, “Madre, pietosa Vergine”

Kirsten Flagstad (Dramatic)
WAGNER: GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, “Fliegt heim, ihr Raben!”


Mezzo – sopranos:

Germaine Cernay (Lyric Mezzo)
SAINT-SÄENS: “La cloche”

Fiorenza Cossotto (Dramatic Mezzo)
VERDI: IL TROVATORE, “Condotta ell’era in ceppi”


Tenors & Countertenor:

Jussi Björling (Full Lyric)
PUCCINI: LA BOHÈME, “Che gelida manina”

Aureliano Pertile (Spinto)
PUCCINI: MANON LESCAUT, “Pazzo son, guardate!”

Lauritz Melchior (Heroic – Heldentenor)
WAGNER: DIE WALKÜRE, “Ein Schwert verhiesse mir der Vater”

Alfred Deller (Countertenor)
PURCELL: “Music for a while”


Baritones & Basses:

Giuseppe De Luca (Lyric Baritone)
DONIZETTI: LA FAVORITA, “A tanto amor”

Heinrich Schlusnus (Lyric Baritone)
LORTZING: ZAR UND ZIMMERMANN, “Sonst spielt’ ich”

Ettore Bastianini (Dramatic Baritone)
PUCCINI: IL TABARRO, “Nulla! Silenzio!”

George London (Heldenbariton)
WAGNER: DAS RHEINGOLD, “Abendlich strahlt”

Ezio Pinza (Basso Cantante)
VERDI: ERNANI, “Infelice”

Gottlob Frick (Schwarzer Bass)
WAGNER: GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, “Hier sitz’ ich zur Wacht”


Closing sample music as preview of the next program:

Galina Vishnevskaya (full lyric soprano)
TCHAIKOVSKY: EUGENE ONEGIN, “Bit mozhet, eto vsyo pustoye”

Ettore Bastianini (Dramatic Baritone)

VERDI: LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, “È salvo! È salvo! O gioia!”

Bidú Sayão (Light Lyric)

BELLINI: LA SONNAMBULA, “Ah! non credea mirarti”


After Amina’s fiancé Elvino unjustly accuses her of infidelity, the devastated girl is seen sleepwalking on a precarious bridge, and the villagers pray for her safety. On solid ground again, Amina – still oblivious to everyone – sadly laments that she hadn’t expected the flowers Elvino had given her to fade so quickly, just like Elvino’s love for her. “Perhaps my tears will revive the flowers,” Amina sings, “but those tears cannot revive love.”

Giannina Arangi-Lombardi (Spinto)

VERDI: LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, “Madre, pietosa Vergine”


Leonora’s lover, Don Alvaro, has accidentally killed her father, the Marquis of Calatrava. During their flight from the Marquis’s castle, the two are separated. The distraught Leonora finds her way to the monastery of Hornachuelos, where she prays to the Blessed Virgin for assistance and forgiveness.

Kirsten Flagstad (Dramatic)

WAGNER: GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, “Fliegt heim, ihr Raben!”

Brünnhilde, the Valkyrie, has built and lit a funeral pyre for her dead lover, the hero Siegfried. Calling to her horse, Grane, she exhorts him to greet Siegfried. Rejoicing that her heart is glowing like the flames, she cries, “Siegfried, see – Brünnhilde greets you in ecstasy” before galloping onto the pyre.

Germaine Cernay (Lyric Mezzo)

SAINT-SÄENS: “La cloche”

(Summary of Victor Hugo’s poem): Alone in its dark tower, the bell hangs as if in the clouds. It sleeps in the shadows. But then a certain silent spirit flies up to it. Does it know that a soul is there beside it, making a somber sound of its own – a lover’s lament – just as the bell does in the sky?

Fiorenza Cossotto (Dramatic Mezzo)

VERDI: IL TROVATORE, “Condotta ell’era in ceppi”

Alone with the wounded hero Manrico (whom she has raised as her own son), Azucena tells him about how her mother was burned at the stake for supposedly bewitching a nobleman’s baby son. Azucena kidnapped the baby and raced to the pyre, intending to throw him into the still-smoldering flames, but when she came to her senses, she realized that she had thrown her own child onto the fire instead. She concludes in quiet terror, “I can still feel the hair on my head standing on end.”

Jussi Björling (Full Lyric)

PUCCINI: LA BOHÈME, “Che gelida manina”

On Christmas night, a frail young seamstress, Mimì, knocks at the door of a neighbor, the poet Rodolfo. After he re-lights her candle, she is about to leave when she drops her key. Both of their candles blow out, and in the darkness, as they search for her key, Rodolfo suddenly touches Mimì’s hand. In his aria, he first asks her to let him warm her cold hand, and then tells her all about himself: his is a life lived in poverty, but when it comes to dreams and castles in the air, his soul is that of a millionaire.

Aureliano Pertile (Spinto)

PUCCINI: MANON LESCAUT, “Pazzo son, guardate!”

Manon has been arrested for theft and is about to be deported by ship from Le Havre to America with other condemned women. Driven nearly mad by his love for Manon and his desperate desire to remain with her, her lover, Chevalier Des Grieux, begs the ship’s captain to be allowed to accompany her to the New World.

Lauritz Melchior (Heroic - Heldentenor)

WAGNER: DIE WALKÜRE, “Ein Schwert verhiesse mir der Vater”

Hunding, who by laws of hospitality must shelter Siegmund for the night, realizes that his guest is actually his enemy. After Hunding retires for the night – having warned Siegmund that he should arm himself for their fight the next day – Siegmund, who is at this moment without a weapon, recalls his father, Wälse, telling him that he’d find a sword to protect him in his hour of need. He cries out to his father, “Wälse, where is your sword that can serve me in the fight?” Suddenly he sees a sword in the ash tree in Hunding’s hut. He describes the sword’s gleam, which seems to pierce his heart.

Alfred Deller (Countertenor)

PURCELL: “Music for a while”

Music for a while / Shall all your cares beguile.

Wond'ring how your pains were eas'd

And disdaining to be pleas'd

Till Alecto free the dead

From their eternal bands,

Till the snakes drop from her head,

And the whip from out her hands.

Music for a while / Shall all your cares beguile.

Giuseppe De Luca (Lyric Baritone)

DONIZETTI: LA FAVORITA, "A tanto amor"

Léonor is the mistress of the married King Alfonso of Spain. In his soliloquy, the king declares that if she loved him, she would never regret the gift of his throne and his power.

Heinrich Schlusnus (Lyric Baritone)

LORTZING: ZAR UND ZIMMERMANN, “Sonst spielt’ ich”

Disguised as a laborer, Russia’s Tsar Peter the Great has been working for a year in a Dutch shipyard, attempting to acquire new knowledge that can ultimately help his navy. After hearing from one of his generals that a revolt against him happening at home, Peter becomes more and more dismayed about his own life. In his aria, he recalls his father’s love and the innocent days of his childhood. He feels overcome by nostalgia, noting sadly that despite his devotion to his people, they continue to ignore everything he’s accomplished for them.

Ettore Bastianini (Dramatic Baritone)

PUCCINI: IL TABARRO, “Nulla! Silenzio!”

On the barge where he and his wife live, Michele sings his monologue. From outside, he looks through the window and sees that his wife, Giorgetta, hasn’t undressed for the night. It’s clear to him that she’s waiting for her lover, but who could it be? Whoever it is, Michele imagines seizing him and shouting, “So it’s you! Now join your fate with mine. Peace is in death!”

George London (Heldenbariton)

WAGNER: DAS RHEINGOLD, “Abendlich strahlt”

The gods’ new home, the fortress Valhalla, is finally built. Wotan, king of the gods, hails its beauty and describes it as a safe haven that can protect the gods from all unhappiness and fear. Turning to his wife, Fricka, he invites her to follow him to Valhalla and live there with him.

Ezio Pinza (Basso Cantante)

VERDI: ERNANI, “Infelice”

The aging nobleman Silva, who had intended to marry his niece Elvira, enters her room in his castle only to find two other men there, each hoping to win Elvira’s love. In his cavatina, Silva castigates himself for being so foolish that he believed Elvira was “pure as a lily.” Feeling deeply dishonored, Silva laments that at his age, he still has a youthful heart. Now he hopes the passing years will turn that heart to ice.

Gottlob Frick (Schwarzer Bass)

WAGNER: GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, “Hier sitz’ ich zur Wacht”

Hagen, son of Alberich the Nibelung, sits keeping watch at the Gibichungs’ hall where he lives with his half-

brother Gunther and half-sister Gutrune. In his monologue, Hagen notes that Gunther and the hero Siegfried are now journeying to Siegfried’s bride, Brünnhilde, whom he and Gunther will then escort to the hall. With them will come the ring, currently held by Brünnhilde but craved by Hagen. “You may scorn me,” he says of Siegfried and Gunther, “but you’ll soon serve me – the son of the Nibelung!”

Galina Vishnevskaya (full lyric soprano)

TCHAIKOVSKY: EUGENE ONEGIN, “Bit mozhet, eto vsyo pustoye”

Included in

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Singers on Singing:
Iconic Voices of the Past

Related Resources

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Singers on Singing: The Performer’s Perspective

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Singers on Singing: Great Artists in Conversation