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NIMBUS RECORDS, TETRAZZINI, PRIMA VOICE

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, December 2, 1992
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 2, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nimbus Records
  • ASIN: B0000037J9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,310 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Sasha VINE VOICE on July 20, 2007
Format: Audio CD
In her time Luisa Tetrazzini and Enrico Caruso were the biggest stars on planet.In fact,there is even a funny anecdote where upon seeing Caruso in train station,one woman excitedly claimed to her friend:"You see,I told you it was Tetrazzini!" Wealth and fame were not kind to Tetrazzini who died alone and forgotten in 1940. with the state paying for her funeral - but on this compilation we can hear why she was so famous.To put it simply,woman was bundle of joy,almost cartoonish coloratura who chirped like a drunken canary bird and her oompa-pah version of "Ah!Non giunge" from "La Somnabula" and "Una Voce poco fa" by Rossini are pure delight,it never fails to cheer me up.(Occasionaly,I find myself singing along with her when Im shaving,she is SO good) In some paralel universe I would introduce Tetrazzini to Mrs.Miller and let them sing me to Heaven.
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Luisa Tetrazzini (1871-1940), the legendary coloratura soprano from Florence, was indeed a worldwide sensation. Her coloratura was quite brilliant, and she often tailored her scores to better demonstrate her technique. Despite her fame, she never performed at La Scala and did only a single season at the Met (1911-12). Tetrazzini retired in 1932 and, at least according to legend, died in poverty (April 1940, Milan), her vast fortune squandered away by her 3rd husband.

At 74.35", 19 tracks, this Nimbus Records offering is a wonderful compilation for the new listener interested in the coloratura sound as heard at the turn of the (20th) century. While she largely left opera for the concert stage after World War I, these 19 tracks come from 1909-1914 when she was still performing opera.

Tetrazzini was no one-hit wonder. The CD features several non-coloratura tracks like La Traviata's "Addio del passato," the song "Tre Giorni son che Nina," and even an Italian version of a Brahms song.

The recorded sound is not bad at all. The volume is even; you can set your stereo to one level without having to worry about any sudden blasts or diminutions of sound. It's not HDMI, but important details are not washed out. For example, in Track 18, "I Vespri Siciliani," the castanets are clearly heard.

By the way, "tetrazzini" is an American dish named after her. In case you're wondering, it's a kind of "super sauce" that's poured over pasta noodles or baked as a noodle casserole. Types of tetrazzini are named according to ingredients (chicken ~, tuna, ~, turkey ~).

All tracks are performed with orchestra.
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For those of us who were not around to experience this brillian talent this CD is a wonderful look into the Golden Era of opera! Tetrazzini had a beautiful color to her voice and it is just magic to hear the way she flys up and down the scales like a little bird. If you have the chance I encourage you to experience Tetrazzini for yourself and I know you will love her just as much as I.
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Luisa Tetrazzini was one of the great sopranos at the turn of the twentieth century. Trying to gauge her skills from those ancient recordings is a real challenge. The recordings were made between 1911 and 1914, when she was over forty years old.

A sampling of the cuts on this CD (filled with 19 different offerings). . . .

From Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor," "Regnava nel silenzio." Tetrazzini displays a clean, light voice (given the sound quality of the recording). Even though she was 40 years old, her voice still had a fresh sound. Her lower tones were a bit weak. Her trill was weak in this cut. She floated a nice high note at the end. There was not a great deal of ornamentation. A bit bland, in the final analysis.

Rossini's "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" features a terrific bel canto piece--"Una voce poco fa." At the outset, there is some nice coloratura singing. She displays a decent trill in this work. She features an agile voice; her final high note is a bit thin and strained (something that I think shows up on a number of cuts--although that may be a function of the primitive recording technique).

From Donizetti's "La Sonnambula," two illustrations of her art. "Ah non credea mirarti" features a decent trill. That rather weak lower register also is manifest. She has a nice soft high note to conclude the piece. The cabaletta, "Ah! Non giunge" follows. Appoggiaturas are well done. No trilling; the repeat features otherwise nice coloratura technique. There are some weird effects toward the end of this work. The final high note has an unpleasant tone.

She sings "Ardon gl'incensi" from Lucia di Lammermoor "Mad Scene." Regrettably, the great cabaletta, "Spargi d'amaro pianto" is not included.
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This is a sumptuous recording of Tetrazzini. She was so beloved that the Italian dish, "Chicken Tetrazzini", was named after her.
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