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PRIMA VOCE, Lucrezia Bori

In Opera and Song

In Opera and Song image
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  • Disc One
  • 1 AMOUR MOUILÉ, Varney, Valse d’oiseau 3.06
  • Rec: 30 December 1927 Matrix: BVE 30275-6 Victor Cat: 1333
  • 2 MIGNON, Thomas, Connais-tu le pays? 3.04
  • Rec: 18 May 1928 Matrix: BVE 45153-2 Victor Cat: 1361
  • 3 MIGNON, Thomas, Me voici dans son boudoir (Gavotte) 2.40
  • Rec: 18 May 1928 Matrix: BVE 45154-3 Victor Cat: 1361
  • 4 LOUISE, Charpentier, Depuis le jour 4.17
  • Rec: 2 December 1925 Matrix: CVE 33475-6 Victor Cat: 6561
  • 5 MANON, Massenet, Adieu, notre petite table 4.09
  • Rec: 13 August 1937 Matrix: CSO 11718-1 Victor Cat: 14616
  • 6 MANON, Massenet, Obéissons quand leur voix appelle (Gavotte) 3.18
  • Rec: 22 July 1937 Matrix: BSO 11416-1 Victor Cat: 1846
  • 7 LA RONDINE, Puccini, Ore dolci e divine 4.30
  • Rec: 13 August 1937 Matrix: CSO 11716-1 Victor Cat: 14615
  • 8 LA BOHÈME, Puccini, Sì. Mi chiamano Mimì 4.41
  • Rec: 5 May 1926 Matrix: CVE 14477-13 Victor Cat: 6790
  • 9 LA BOHÈME, Puccini, Quando me’n vo 2.41
  • Rec: 30 December 1927 Matrix: BVE 28620-11 Victor Cat: 1333
  • 10 LA BOHÈME, Puccini, Donde lieta 2.51
  • Rec: 21 November 1925 Matrix: CVE 33476-5 Victor Cat: 6561
  • 11 LA BOHÈME, Puccini, Sono andati? ... O Dio, Mimì 7.42 with Tito Scipa, tenor
  • Rec: 24 November 1925 Matrix: CVE 33943-3/33944-2 Victor Cat: 8068
  • 12 MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Puccini, Un bel dì 4.05
  • Rec: 4 January 1928 Matrix: CVE 38061-5 Victor Cat: 6790
  • 13 LA TRAVIATA, Verdi, Ah, fors’ è lui ... Sempre libera 6.54
  • Rec: 20 July 1928 Matrix: CVE 41441-3 Victor Cat: 7438
  • Rec: 4 January 1928 Matrix: CVE 41442-1 Victor Cat: 11-8569
  • 14 IL SEGRETO DI SUSANNA, Wolf-Ferrari, O gioia, la nube leggera 4.40
  • Rec: 13 August 1937 Matrix: CSO 11417-3 Victor Cat: 14616
  • 15 DON GIOVANNI, Mozart, Batti, batti o bel Masetto 4.20
  • Rec: 22 July 1937 Matrix: CSO 11414-2 Victor Cat: 14614
  • 16 DON GIOVANNI, Mozart, Vedrai, carino 3.53
  • Rec: 13 August 1937 Matrix: BSO 11715-1 Victor Cat: 1846
  • 17 LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Mozart, Deh vieni non tardar 4.40
  • Rec: 22 July 1937 Matrix: CSO 11415-1 Victor Cat: 14614
  • Tracks 1, 8, 9, 11, 13 : Victor Orchestra, Rosario Bourdon, conductor
  • Tracks 2, 3, 4, 12 : Victor Orchestra, Josef Pasternack, conductor
  • Tracks 5, 6, 7, 14 -17 : Victor Orchestra, Frank Black, conductor
  • Track 10 : Victor Orchestra, Nat Shilkrit, conductor
  • Disc Two
  • 1 Arditi, Il Bacio 3.30
  • Rec: 27 May 1927 Matrix: BVE 28619-11 Victor Cat: 1262
  • 2 Schumann, Into the Woods (Unterm Fenster) op.34 no.3 2.03 with John McCormack, tenor
  • Rec: 18 December 1925 Matrix: BVE 34167-2 Victor Cat: unpub
  • 3 Pestalozza, Ciribiribin 3.42
  • Rec: 27 May 1927 Matrix: BVE 28643-8 Victor Cat: 1262
  • 4 Goring-Thomas, Night Hymn at Sea (Sur la grande mer) 2.43 with John McCormack, tenor
  • Rec: 24 December 1925 Matrix: BVE 34166-5 Victor Cat: unpub
  • 5 Glazunov, (arr. La Forge), La primavera d’or 3.55
  • Rec: 2 December 1925 Matrix: CVE 33959-4 Victor Cat: 6699
  • 6 Novello, The Little Damozel 3.15
  • Rec: 21 November 1925 Matrix: BVE 33478-3 Victor Cat: 1162
  • 7 J. Strauss, (arr. La Forge), Tales from the Vienna Woods 4.26
  • Rec: 27 May 1927 Matrix: CVE 33960-10 Victor Cat: 6699
  • 8 Götze, Calm as the Night 3.39 with Lawrence Tibbett, baritone
  • Rec: 1 June 1927 Matrix: BVE 38854-3 Victor Cat: 3043
  • 9 Rumbold, Simonetta 3.05
  • Rec: 8 December 1925 Matrix: CVE 33477-7 Victor Cat: 1162
  • 10 LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN, Offenbach, Barcarolle 2.58 with Lawrence Tibbett, baritone
  • Rec: 1 June 1927 Matrix: BVE 38855-3 Victor Cat: 3043
  • 11 Valverde, Cruz de majo 3.30
  • Rec: 8 December 1925 Matrix: CVE 33977-2 Victor Cat: 1190
  • 12 Valverde, Clavelitos 2.10
  • Rec: 1 June 1927 Matrix: BVE 15823-5 Victor Cat: 1385
  • 13 Joves, Patotero sentimental 2.49
  • Rec: 8 December 1925 Matrix: CVE 33978-1 Victor Cat: 1190
  • 14 Pagans, Malagueña 1.58
  • Rec: 13 January 1928 Matrix: BVE 14643-4 Victor Cat: 1385
  • 15 Goetz, Padilla, La Violetera 3.14
  • Rec: 22 May 1928 Matrix: BVE 45164-2 Victor Cat: 1348
  • 16 Riemann, Seguidilla 1.44
  • Rec: 22 May 1928 Matrix: BVE 45165-2 Victor Cat: 1348
  • 17 LA VIDA BREVE, Falla, Vivan los que rien 4.47
  • Rec: 13 August 1937 Matrix: CSO 11717-1 Victor Cat: 14615
  • 18 Falla, Siete canciones populares españolas - Jota 3.18
  • Rec: 19 November 1937 Matrix: BSO 17090-1 Victor Cat: 1978
  • 19 Falla, Siete canciones populares españolas - Seguidilla marciana 3.05
  • Rec: 19 November 1937 Matrix: BSO 17095-2 Victor Cat: 1984
  • 20 Nin, Jota totosina 1.37
  • Rec: 19 November 1937 Matrix: BSO 17095-2 Victor Cat: 1984
  • 21 Nin, Malagueña 2.34
  • Rec: 19 November 1937 Matrix: BSO 17094-2 Victor Cat: 1984
  • 22 Nin, Copias de curro dulce 2.30
  • Rec: 24 December 1937 Matrix: BSO 11712-1 Victor Cat: unpub
  • 23 Nin, Canto andaluz 2.46
  • Rec: 24 December 1937 Matrix: BSO 11715-1 Victor Cat: unpub
  • 24 ACIS Y GALATEA, Literes, (arr. Nin), Confiando jilguerillo 3.34
  • Rec: 19 November 1937 Matrix: BSO 17091-1 Victor Cat: 2201
  • 25 AMANTES CHASQUEAOS, Laserna, (arr. Nin), Jilguerito con pico de oro 2.52
  • Rec: 19 November 1937 Matrix: BSO 17092-1 Victor Cat: 2201
  • 26 DON QUIJOTE DE LA MANCHA, Obradors, Consejo 2.14
  • Rec: 19 November 1937 Matrix: BSO 17093-1 Victor Cat: 1984
  • Tracks 1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 12 : Victor Orchestra, Rosario Bourdon, conductor
  • Tracks 2, 4, 6 : Victor Orchestra, Nat Shilkrit, conductor
  • Tracks 5, 9, 11, 13-16 : Victor Orchestra, Josef Pasternack, conductor
  • Track 17 : Victor Orchestra, Frank Black, conductor
  • Tracks 18 - 25 : George Copeland, piano
  • PRIMA VOCE - serie
  • Lucrezia Bori - soprano
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49.00 PLN

2 CD:

Nr kat.: NI7932
Label  : Nimbus Records

These two CDs present all the published recordings Bori made for Victor in New York from 1925-28, plus the final sessions accompanied by George Copeland in 1937. Bori, who was born in Spain but studied in Italy, made her debut in 1908 in Rome and moved swiftly to Paris (1910) and the Metropolitan, New York (1912) where she sang until 1936. Her voice was of modest size, but produced with a clear and delicate timbre, and her performances are always passionate, charming and intensely musical. LUCREZIA BORI It has always been a puzzle to me why in years gone by singers, especially sopranos, began their careers when they were around twenty and ended them short of 50, where today few really get going until they are 30 and then continue well into their 50s. The late start seems regrettable, the early laudable - and here is Lucrezia Bori to prove the point. She took to the stage in 1908 when she was 21 at such an auspicious theatre as the Teatro Adriano in Rome in as taxing a role as Micaela and was in the Victor recording studios only six years later in her late 20s. Yet here she is on these, her electrically recorded discs, in her 40s singing with the same freshness as on her earlier, acoustic recordings. No sign here that'starting too early' (as pseudo-experts would put it today) spoiled her voice. But then Bori had one of those natural talents exhibited in a voice and with a sense of communication that cannot be denied. The tone is typically Spanish in its character and its owner uses it with equally typical Spanish joy. Bori's heroines smile and cry with the spirit of a woman who wants to live life to the full. No wonder she charmed her audiences at the Metropolitan in New York for some twenty years - and how loth were they to let her go when she decided to retire in 1936. The voice of this singular artist, now silent in person, lives on happily on disc - as immortal as anything can be in this world of mortality. Received opinion has it that her early, acoustic recordings are the best, but these examples of her electrics prove conclusively that the older self has nothing to fear in comparison with the younger, and the obvious superiority of the later sound make them the Bori souvenirs to have. Bori doubtless benefited from a musical upbringing. Born in Valencia on Christmas Eve 1887, Lucrezia Borja Gonzales de Riancho, as she was christened, is said to have sung Arditi's "Il bacio', later to become a favourite with her audiences, at the age of six. However that may be, she entered her local conservatory and must have received excellent training for she was soon off to Milan to study at the school of Melchiorre Vidal, a noted teacher of the day whose pupils included Bori's coeval and Spanish compatriot Graziella Pareto. After her debut already mentioned she sang around Italy gaining stage experience as Nedda, Mimi, Violetta, Manon and Butterfly - portents of what she would sing later in her career. In 1910 when the Met visited the Chatelet in Paris and Lina Cavalieri fell ill, Bori - she had been heard and admired by the Met bass De Segurola and recommended to the house's supremo Gatti-Casazza took over the title role in Manon Lescaut. Both Gatti-Casazza and Paris were at her feet. Before she could appear in New York itself, she made her debut at La Scala in 1911 as Carolina in Cimarosa's 11 matrimonio segreto. Appearances at the San Carlo, Naples, and in South America followed. She made her Met debut on the opening night of the 1912-13 season as Manon Lescaut in the company of Caruso and Scotti. One critic wrote that 'she surprised the audience, critical and uncritical alike, by the real fineness of her vocal art - by an exquisite diction, impeccable intonation and moving pathos' - thus creating at once an impression that was not to alter throughout her long and distinguished career in the house. In the following seasons she triumphed as Gilda, Mimi, Nedda, Norma, Micaela, Antonia, Fiora (L'amore dei tre re) and Iris. At the same time she re-appeared in Italy, most notably as Nanetta in Falstaff during the 1913 centennial celebrations of Verdi's birth and opposite Caruso at La Scala in Pagliacci. At the end of the 1915 season nodules were discovered on her vocal cords. These had to be removed in a series of delicate operations that threatened to end her burgeoning career. It took her four years to recover completely while the operatic world held its collective breath. To her great relief 'all of a sudden it (her voice) was there again'. On 15 March 1919 she re-appeared, opposite Gigh, in La boheme, at Monte Carlo. Another season there regaining confidence and she was ready to face her New York public in 1921. After a tentative start - as Mimi - she soon regained her old control over her audience and the evening was a triumph. She now added Manon to her Met repertory, then - there or at Chicago - Suzel, Melisande, Concepción (L'heure espagnole), Snow Maiden, Salud (La vida breve) and Magda (La rondine). On this CD we catch her Mimi in the narration and farewell, just as rewarding as the acoustic versions, and she adds the Act 4 duet with Schipa as her Rodolfo, both near ideal in the way that they convey the recollection of their love. Maybe she is just a shade too ladylike in Musetta's Waltz Song, but this version reminds us that Musetta was a vulnerable woman as much as a showgirl. Bori often stated that Cio-Ciossan was her favourite role but she seldom sang it in the USA as it was the province of other sopranos, most particularly Geraldine Farrar. Her 'Un bet di' shows just what they were missing in terms of sure singing and characterisation. At the beginning and end of the recital we are reminded of Bori's accomplishments in French opera. Louise's 'Depuis le jour' has seldom sounded so poised, Manon's Gavotte seldom so alluring and at the same time vulnerable. In all these heroines one can imagine in the mind's eye the character before us, simply because Bari makes the words live and through the words the emotions. The years between seem to peel away as we listen to such artless singing, or rather we wonder at the art that conceals art. Bori was also notable in what the Americans call 'concertising'. In the list of lighter items here she boxes the compass of vocal expression. She is teasing in 'Ciribiribin', a favourite then with sopranos of Bori's type, delightfully open and flirtatious in'Clavelitos', wistful in'La violetera'', vivacious in'Tales from the Vienna Woods' and touching in the solo from Literes's Acis y Galatea. In all she adds to her technical control an insouciance of manner lacked by so many modern singers. But she can subordinate that natural exuberance to the needs of perfect ensemble as she shows in the two duets with Lawrence Tibbett, where the two voices blend into a perfect unity of tone and approach. She sang no fewer than 628 performances at the Metropolitan, yet found time not only for these recitals but also for a deal of fund-raising, including the appeal in the early 1930s to save the Met, for which she organised events, addressed meetings and wrote letters. At her farewell, she was feted inordinately, the whole company being on stage when the curtain went up for Act 2 of La Traviata. It was right that she should say 'Adieu' as Violettą; the New York Times rightly praised'the subtle beauty of her voice, the penetrating musicianship, warmth and emotion as an actress'. Eventually she was rewarded by being the first woman to join the Met's Board of Directors and then became chairman of the Metropolitan Guild. She died in 1960, full of honours. ALAN BLYTH Producer's note The records chosen for this CD are taken from those made during the latter part of her career, 1925-1937. Being electrical recordings they are far more vivid than the earlier, acoustically made sides. They also show a fine mature artist with little or no loss of vocal powers, indeed many show the opposite. Strangely, her later records have not been popular with collectors despite their quality. A few discerning connoisseurs however have always regarded them as treasures. This may be partly due to that problem of speeds for her earlier and more common electrics: some such the Boheme duet with Schipa should be played at 74rpm or less. Playing at 78rpm causes Bori's rather penetrating voice to take on an unnatural acid quality which with certain older pick-ups became most unpleasant to listen to. There is also more than a hint of resonance in the recording system which may help to accentuate it. Played properly her records are gems to be enjoyed. Most of Bori's electrics were available for some years by which time surfaces had improved, however several were in and out of the catalogues very fast. The Tales From the Vienna Woods (18) is one Such, appearing only on very noisy early Victor pressings or similarly bad HMVs. The nature of the noise, wideband and dense, makes it difficult to remove too much without affecting the voice, how ever what is left is considered reasonably unobtrusive. That particular disc is perhaps Bori's rarest -electric - and being delightful was a must for this collection.