The legendary verista and Verdian celebrates the (official) 100th anniversary of her birth today.
Happy 100th, Licia! To hear Albanese in one of her final staged opera performances, check out the 1974 Newark “Turandot” in which she sings Liù with Nilsson and Domingo. 76 minutes of highlights include all of Liù’s music starting with “Signore, ascolta!” Just click on:
Thanks for this link! I’m now listening to the Muzio Act I Tosca. Lots of treasures on your site.
Thanks kashania, principe di Persia! I hope that I can keep Parterriani entertained. Before I leave for Bregenz -- and in honor of the opening of Bayreuth -- I will post the complete Simon Rattle Aix/Salzburg “Ring” (one act per post) later in the week.
Terrific. I have now bookmarked your site!
Caro Principe, your alte Jungfrau is honored!
Many Happy Returns! And THANKS, Jungfer Marianne, for posting excerpts from that memorable performance of TURANDOT. The only time I heard Madame Albanese sing was an odd one. The slightly premature Cincinnati Opera’s Farewell to the Zoo featured a number of honored guests who did not sing, and these included Albanese. Afterward, backstage, I was standing next to Madame Albanese, who was deep in conversation with Stella Roman about musical matters, and they were singing snatches of arias to each other. Roman sang a phrase so beautiful that I dropped my jaw in astonishment. I still don’t know what it was, but she floated a heavenly pianissimo phrase. I was young then. Today I might have recognized it. However, that’s the only time I heard Albanese sing live.
I neglected to add the central point that, after Roman’s beautiful phrase, Albanese said a few words and then sang a magical phrase of her own.
Happy Birthday! I like Albanese but she is neither a particular favorite nor a desert island singer of mine. Due to her age and long career, she IS a living link to various and multiple former generations, having sung with conductors such as Toscanini, Walter, Panizza, Beecham, Busch, Reiner, Mitropoulos, Schippers, Stokowski, etc.
Her singing colleagues on stage and in recording studios across the generations incuded Pinza, Martinelli, Rethberg, Gigli, De Luca, Novotna, Tibbett, Stevens, Björling, Baccaloni, Warren, Vinay, Peerce, Tucker, Di Stefano, Merrill, Güeden, Corelli, Bastianini, Corena, Bergonzi, London, Nilsson, Del Monaco and many, many others. Remarkable!
Happy Birthday and more than Cent’Anni! I do have some interesting memories including a joint concert at Carnegie Hall with Di Stefano. And then there is that charming Barese accent.
The Vicar calls up from the garden plot:
She sang with Our Own Dame Eva Turner in the Coronation Season TURANDOT!
I don’t know why a caveat “but she is neither a particular favourite nor a desert island singer of mine”- is appropriate in a tribute column. Its a comment that just make me scratch my head and wonder who cares?…does it really have to be said? As Benedetta points out herself Licia’s place in the history of opera is well marked.
Many years ago Mme. Albanese said of her husband, Joseph Gimma, “When Joe dies, I’ll soon follow.” Mr Gimma dies a couple of decades ago, but fortunately her Cosima Wagner-like prophecy has not come true. I saw and heard her live twice, as Mimi at age 11 and as Liu many years later, still in impressive voice. Her Manon Lescaut recording stands as one of the most impressive vocal characterizations of any operatic character I have ever heard. Sincerest Happy Birthday wishes!
My first opera performance ever was Manon Lescaut on March 31, 1956 with Licia and Jussi. It was an auspicious beginning to a long and still ongoing opera-loving life. The performance is available on Myto or Walhall.
Happy Birthday, Licia.
As a kid I saw/heard her Violetta and Butterfly. A unique voice, not to everyone’s taste, but always totally committed performances. In the 60s I saw/heard her Liu, certainly the most dramatic performance of that role I have seen.
I also own a Tosca with Barioni and Warren, a broadcast of 23 March 1957. it was a role she had only undertaken shortly before, and it too has that total commitment that you speak of. She, like so many of the greats of her age had the uniqueness of sound that we so sorely miss these days.
This evening at 6 (New York time) Radio Österreich International will broadcast a 1958 Met Boheme with Licia Albanese and Carlo Bergonzi, Thomas Schippers conducting.
Licia is an amazing person and a unique artist and teacher. Words fail in connection with her career, because so many years have past, but the memory of her live and on recordings is indelible. I hope she has a beautiful day and good health for the future. Happy birthday Licia.
Official 100th is right -- more likely she’s 103 or 104!
Brava la Centenaria!
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