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Songs and Arias

A review from Gramophone, June 1997 ("A Tebaldi Festival" was also reviewed in this same article but only the text concerning "Songs and Arias" is included here. For the complete article, see "A Tebaldi Festival")

...For all its splendour, though, the later Tebaldi voice doesn’t have the seductive beauty of the 1950s. The two recitals of Italian songs, rare in their LP form I should think, can be recommended without reservation. The repertory is interesting, including the little-known song-cycle, La canzone dei ricordi by Giuseppe Martucci, from which Tebaldi sings three of the settings of poems by Pagliara. Although dating from the 1880s, this must be the most ‘modern’ music she ever sang.

Rossini’s Venetian regatta songs are on both sets, with the original piano accompaniment on the Double Decca set, and with orchestral accompaniment conducted by Richard Bonynge on the "Festival". Both performances are delightful, the latter one sounding slightly more playful. Tosti’s A vucchella reappears as well, but here the earlier version, slower more romantic, is preferable. The 1957 recital ends with a beautiful little Tuscan folk-song, O luna che fa lume, sung with the beauty of tone and directness one associates with Tebaldi. The Festival set concludes with one of her favourite encores from later days, "If I loved you" from Carousel. It used to drive the audience into a frenzy of adoration; that it really doesn’t suit Tebaldi’s voice or style is neither here nor there. Both sets are a fine memorial to a much-loved artist, but the earlier songs are more than that, exemplary versions of bel canto song.



Renata Tebaldi, soprano

Giorgio Favaretto, piano

Bellini, Davico, Händel, Martucci,
Mascagni, Masetti, Mozart, Respighi,
Rossini, Sarti, A. Scarlatti, Tosti,
Turina, Verdi

Decca 452 472-2


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