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Magda Olivero 1910 - 2014


TruHart1
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TH... Thanks for posting. I heard about this yesterday, but was swamped at work and forgot to post...

 

Yes! If there ever was an operatic legend it was she!!! She actualy retired form singing and then Francesco Clilea the composer of Adriana Lecrouvreur asked her to return to the stage as Adriana... An amanzing career!

 

[video=youtube;udFnI_84DsM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udFnI_84DsM

IMG_0933_Sig_crop_46x20.jpg "Take it like a man!"
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NPR played a snippet of her singing "Paolo, date mi pace" when she was 99! I have always been a sucker for vibrato, but the recordings from her first career, when she had less of it, are among my favorites. I was not able to see her late career performances in Newark and her Met debut, but friends who attended them, expecting kind of a campy stunt, told me that instead they were vocally and dramatically stunning.

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TH... Thanks for posting. I heard about this yesterday, but was swamped at work and forgot to post...

 

Yes! If there ever was an operatic legend it was she!!! She actualy retired form singing and then Francesco Clilea the composer of Adriana Lecrouvreur asked her to return to the stage as Adriana... An amanzing career!

 

[video=youtube;udFnI_84DsM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udFnI_84DsM

She was only 31 the first time she retired, and supposedly returned to the stage ten years later only because Cilea, who was dying, asked her to come to his home and sing for him while he accompanied her on the piano, and then told her she must perform Adriana on stage again.

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NPR played a snippet of her singing "Paolo, date mi pace" when she was 99! I have always been a sucker for vibrato, but the recordings from her first career, when she had less of it, are among my favorites. I was not able to see her late career performances in Newark and her Met debut, but friends who attended them, expecting kind of a campy stunt, told me that instead they were vocally and dramatically stunning.

Olivero discusses her early voice, etc. in an interview with Stefan Zucker of the Bel Canto Society:

http://www.belcantosociety.org/store/z_storepage.php?page=An_Interview_with_Magda_Olivero

IMG_0933_Sig_crop_46x20.jpg "Take it like a man!"
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Magda Olivero, a great opera singer and operatic stage actress defied all the odds, singing well into her 80's (and still sounding great!) as a legendary interpreter of verismo opera:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P6HAwQAgK0

 

She made her Met debut at the age of 74!!!

 

TruHart1 :cool:

 

She was 65 when she made her Met debut as Tosca, 74 when she stopped giving fully staged opera performances.

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She was only 31 the first time she retired, and supposedly returned to the stage ten years later only because Cilea, who was dying, asked her to come to his home and sing for him while he accompanied her on the piano, and then told her she must perform Adriana on stage again.

 

Thanks for the comparative clips, WG. They are 30 years apart, when she was 53 and then when she was 83! IIRC, she retired the first time to raise her children but when she came out of retirement for Cilea, she was such a success that she continued singing until her husband passed away, 25 years or so later, when she finally retired for good. The thing about Olivero was that her main career was almost exclusively in Italy until she began her second career with Adriana Lecouvreur. She never achieved the cachet among the non-Italian public as did, for example, Maria Callas, whose career was so erratic and relatively short-lived while Olivero just steadily and solidly performed for decades.

 

I discovered her through first, hearing the 1939 recording from La Scala of Turandot, where she sang Liu (sounding like a lyric soprano with a slightly fluttery vibrato and an exciting edge,) through second, reading reviews of her performances in the 1960’s & 70’s which praised her acting (noting that it was a very old-school, chew the scenery, somewhat melodramatic but very exciting) ability and three, finally buying a few audio performances (one of which, was the Adriana performance with Franco Corelli from 1963, when she was 53) through a pirate source! In the 1960’s and 70’s her voice had become a true spinto instrument over which she had complete control, you could tell she was always using all of the voice to color the words, acting by the expressiveness, over which she had complete control.

 

She was always a very exciting artist to listen to and from the reviews she must have been thrilling to watch onstage! I must make a correction to my original post about her Metropolitan Opera debut, as noted by Charlie’s post above. It was actually in 1975, when she was 65 (not 74) years old, and she continued singing at the Met (only Tosca, though) until 1979, a total there of just 10 performances!

 

TruHart1 :cool:

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TH... Thanks for posting the obits...

 

A couple of thoughts...

 

I have always been a sucker for a tight vibrato... Think Supervia, Lorengar, Panerai...

 

Like other singers who were mostly ignored by the commercial recording industry... Lela Gencer comes immediately to mind... all I can say is thanks for the Jolly Roger! We are richer because of them!!!

IMG_0933_Sig_crop_46x20.jpg "Take it like a man!"
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Old Jolly Roger!

 

TH... Thanks for posting the obits...

 

A couple of thoughts...

 

I have always been a sucker for a tight vibrato... Think Supervia, Lorengar, Panerai...

 

Like other singers who were mostly ignored by the commercial recording industry... Lela Gencer comes immediately to mind... all I can say is thanks for the Jolly Roger! We are richer because of them!!!

 

So very true! Nowadays, with the internet, it is quite easy to find so many "private" recordings of live performances but back in the day, one had to find a source to order from, sometimes, as in the case of Mr. Tape, the source would suddenly dry up because they became embroiled in legal battles, usually ending quite badly for them. I would never had heard Madame Olivero, though, without those sources!

 

TruHart1 :cool:

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So very true! ...but back in the day, one had to find a source to order from, sometimes, as in the case of Mr. Tape, the source would suddenly dry up because they became embroiled in legal battles, usually ending quite badly for them.

LOL!!!! I still have an old Mr. Tape catalog hanging around for reference! Let's not forget "firms" such as Alan Fischer among others... and the grand daddy of them all... and still going strong last that I knew... Ed Rosen... Even bigger LOL! I stilll have a few of those old open reel tapes hanging around as well, at least one or two of which I transferred to digital.

 

Incidentally the best of the best from the "olden" days was BJR... Fortunately their Maria Callas Archive has been transferred to Divina Records for digital release.

IMG_0933_Sig_crop_46x20.jpg "Take it like a man!"
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LOL!!!! I still have an old Mr. Tape catalog hanging around for reference! Let's not forget "firms" such as Alan Fischer among others... and the grand daddy of them all... and still going strong last that I knew... Ed Rosen... Even bigger LOL! I stilll have a few of those old open reel tapes hanging around as well, at least one or two of which I transferred to digital.

 

Incidentally the best of the best from the "olden" days was BJR... Fortunately their Maria Callas Archive has been transferred to Divina Records for digital release.

 

It always seemed to me that the Callas legacy was always much more well-documented than most other operatic artists. As you mentioned above, without those old pirate transcriptions, Leyla Gencer and Olivero would be almost unknown as the great artists they were! I still remember ordering the 1959 performance of Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini from La Scala after hearing Leontyne Price’s haunting interpretation of “Paolo, datemi pace” on The Art of the Prima Donna and finding I loved the overblown poetry of the libretto based on d’Annuncio! Then, listening to the Debussy-on steroids-like score with Olivero and del Monaco giving everything they had making Francesca and Paolo live, I was just blown away, despite the sound fidelity of the recording being pretty bad. I will be forever grateful for those illegal reel-to-reels and cassettes!

 

TruHart1 :cool:

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Neither Gencer nor Olivero were ever really captured under perfect studio conditions, with the opportunity for retakes. That gives ammunition for their detractors. Yet it is the excitement and frisson of those live performances that defined these artists. Even a relatively dull singer such as Sutherland was more dynamic and incisive when heard live. There is something about the studio that results in inhibition. Callas was one of the few who could pull things off on recordings... but even she was often more than a bit more special live.

IMG_0933_Sig_crop_46x20.jpg "Take it like a man!"
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