Verdi at the Met: Legendary Performances from the Metropolitan Opera

By Ashpole, Barry R. | ARSC Journal, Fall 2014 | Go to article overview

Verdi at the Met: Legendary Performances from the Metropolitan Opera


Ashpole, Barry R., ARSC Journal


Verdi at the Met: Legendary Performances from the Metropolitan Opera. The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Chorus with various artists and conductors. Sony Classical 88883721202-1-88883721202-10 (20 CD Box Set).

There is much to enjoy in this "limited-edition, deluxe" set, one of the Met's contributions last year to the international celebration--Verdi 200--marking the anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). It comprises ten complete operas, each of which was heard in the long-running Metropolitan Opera Saturday matinee radio broadcasts. Collectively, they capture the great theatre that was to be enjoyed over a 45-year period in what are some of the Italian composer's most popular operatic works, beginning with a celebrated performance of La traviata (1935) and concluding with a magnificent Aida (1967). The set is described in the accompanying booklet as the first "commercial" release. Many have long been available, however, on a variety of offshore or private labels, albeit with mixed results, sonically speaking that is.

Showcased are American singers or singers whose artistic home was the Met. In particular, it serves as a vivid reminder of the rich legacy of Leonard Warren (19111960), who died 4 March 1960 onstage from a massive cerebral haemorrhage during a performance of La forza del destino. The American baritone appears in five of the ten operas (not four as stated in the accompanying booklet). He is to be heard in some of his most memorable roles--as Rigoletto, Falstaff, Simon Boccanegra, La forza del destino's Don Carlo, and Macbeth. Warren recorded commercially three of the operas in this set: Rigoletto (RCA's first recording of a complete opera, 1950), La forza del destino (Decca, 1958), and Macbeth (RCA, 1959), the last mentioned based on the Met performance of that year, and with the same casting and conductor. Dramatically speaking, Warren's studio recordings pale somewhat in comparison.

That Rosa Ponselle (1897-1981), Elisabeth Rethberg (1894-1976), Giovanni Martinelli (1885-1969) and Lawrence Tibbett (1896-1960) did not commercially record a complete opera adds another layer of interest and value.

Principal and guest conductors in this set are truly echoes of past glories: Erich Leinsdorf (1912-1993), Fritz Reiner (1888-1963), Thomas Schippers (1930-1977), Cesare Sodero (1886-1947), and Fritz Stiedry (1883-1968). Of particular importance is the "presence" of Ettore Panizza (1875-1967), conducting three of the earliest operas in the set. For all his mastery, particularly in the Italian repertoire, as is evidenced here, the Argentine-born maestro's recorded legacy is sparse. In Italy (he was born of Italian parents), Panizza enjoyed an impressive career as both a composer and a conductor before joining La Scala as Arturo Toscaninis assistant (1921-1931). He went on to succeed Tullio Serafin (1878-1968) in 1933 in charge of the Met's Italian wing, remaining with the company until 1941.

Missing is one voice that for more than four decades was synonymous with the Met's broadcast series and which belonged to a man who was very much a part of the opera scene in New York--Milton Cross (1897-1975). Cross is to be heard on some of the "unofficial" issues of these and other Met performances. The veteran broadcaster is heard, for example, "setting the stage" on the NAXOS releases of a 1935 La traviata and a 1938 Otello. He hosted the Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts for an unprecedented 43 years, from the time of their inception in 1931 until his death in 1975. In all that time he missed only two broadcasts, due to the death of his wife, Lillian. Cross never retired, but died suddenly from a heart attack during the season of 1974-1975. Cross' distinctive voice--he repeatedly won an annual national award for clarity of speech--conveyed the excitement of live performance "from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City for generations of radio listeners, a far cry from the rather slick, choreographed approach of today. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Verdi at the Met: Legendary Performances from the Metropolitan Opera
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.