Il Mito Dell'opera - Giuseppe Giacomini
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IL MITO DELL’OPERA—GIUSEPPE GIACOMINI • Giuseppe Giacomini (ten); Various accompaniments • BONGIOVANNI 1211 (78:31) Live: 1969–1996
BELLINI Norma: Meco all’altar . . . Me protegge. VERDi Ernani: Come rugiada al cespite. Il trovatore: Ah si, ben mio; Di quella pira. Don Carlo: Io la vidi. Aida: Celeste Aida. Otello: Esultate!; Ora e per sempre addio; Dio mi potevi scagliar; Niun mi tema. PUCCINI La bohème: Che gelida manina; Mimi è un civetta; Marcello finalmente. Tosca: Recondita armonia; E lucevan le stelle. La fanciulla del West: Or son sei mesi; Ch’ella mi creda. Turandot: Nessun dorma! GIORDANO Andrea Chénier: Un di all’azzurro spazio; Credo a una possanza arcana; Si fui soldato; Come un bel dì di maggio
In the Autumn 2009 issue of Classic Record Collector , John T. Hughes wrote, “The first time I saw the splendid but underrated Giuseppe Giacomini was at a recording session of Norma , when he was flinging out top notes in Pollione’s aria as though they were part of an operatic tenor’s everyday conversation.” Fittingly, the first selection on this CD illustrates Hughes’s comment. Bongiovanni issued an earlier CD recital of Giacomini. In the notes to that recording, Fernando Battaglia wrote (translated by Candace Smith), “His excellent technique enables him to overcome any difficulty of tessitura with ease, and to flaunt an excellent legato, indispensable for the execution of that type of phrasing which is invariably noble and expressive.”
Even though Giacomini was a fine dramatic tenor, in his career he was not a fine actor, nor was he handsome. Thus he was overshadowed during his career by two great rivals, Mario del Monaco, whom he earlier studied with, and Franco Corelli. Giacomini’s commercial recordings are rare, outside of the earlier CD release on Bongiovanni. There was first an LP issued on the private Legendary label which contained live selections from a Metropolitan Opera performance of La forza del destino with Leontyne Price, conducted by James Levine, and a CD on the Phoenix label of religious arias and songs. On a complete Norma , he sang Pollione with Renata Scotto as Norma.
The selections on this disc are presented in chronological order of the year of the opera’s presentation. The audience responds to the Ernani aria with deserved thunderous applause. “Di quella pira” from Trovatore is lowered a half tone. Both the Don Carlo and Aida arias feature the bright shining sound that he had. He first sang Otello in San Diego in 1986. His monologue, “Dio mi potevi scagliar” is excellent, displaying his use of mezza voce and soft head tones in the aria. His version of “E lucevan le stelle” rivals di Stefano’s early recording. He sings the beginning softly, as he should, since Cavaradossi is in a reverie recalling the past. “Oh! dolci baci, o languide carezze” (Oh, sweet kisses and tender caresses) is sung in the head voice as it should be, and when the singer returns to the present at “L’ora è fuggito,” then he should sing forte. Giacomini’s wonderful performance of this aria is, in my opinion, worth the price of the disc.
All of the arias from La fanciulla del West, Andrea Chénier , and Turandot confirm Giacomini’s excellent technique and bright, vivid vocal quality. The sound is variable, as is usually the case with live recordings, but on the whole quite acceptable. The booklet contains notes and a listing of bands and timings. Anyone who likes fine tenor singing should not hesitate to get this record. Strongly recommended.
FANFARE: Bob Rose
Catalog Number: GB1211-2
Composer: Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Verdi, Umberto Giordano, Vincenzo Bellini
Performer: Giuseppe Giacomini