Franco Corelli – Il Principe di Tenori

You may recall that a bit ago, I posted about my latest visit to the record shop. And one of the CDs I bought was (for only £5.99!) The Perfect (Italian) Tenor, a collection of Italian arias sung by Franco Corelli.

This is the track list:

Giuseppe VERDI(1813 – 1901)
1.Se quel guerrier io fossi … Celeste Aida
2.Merce diletti amici … Come rugiada al cespite
I Lombardi
3.La mia letizia infondere
La forza del destino
4.La vita inferno … O tu che seno in angeli
Il trovatore
5.Deserto sulla terra
6.Ah, si ben mio … Di quella pira
Umberto GIORDANO(1867 – 1948)
Andrea Chenier
7.Improvviso: Un di all’azzuro spazio
8.Come un bel di di maggio
9.Amor ti vieta
10.Mia madre, la mia vecchia madre … Vedi io piango
Pietro MASCAGNI(1863 – 1945)
Cavalleria rusticana
11.Mamma quell vino e generoso
12.Se Franz dicesse il vero
Francesco CILEA(1866 – 1950)
Adriana Lecouvreur
13.La dolcissima effige
Giacomo PUCCINI(1858 – 1924)
La fanciulla del West
14.Una parola sola! … Or son sei mesi
Madama Butterfly
15.Addio fiorito asil
16.E lucevan le stelle
17.Non piangere Liù
18.Nessun dorma

Well, what can I say? It’s not perfect, but it’s as close to perfection as anyone could hope for it to be. It’s (obviously) an old recording, but Corelli’s voice manages to shine through almost all the sound quality problems. I say almost all, because the Nessun dorma at the end has the classic this-was-recorded-underwater sound to it, which distorts his high notes a bit.

My picks for the best tracks of this album are as follows:

Celeste Aida – This rendition has the simultaneous bravado and tenderness that perfectly captures the emotions of this song. Comparing this to Roberto Alagna’s version certainly clears up the mystery of why the loggionisti booed Alagna when he tried to sing it at La Scala.

Deserto sulla terra – Perfect if you need to convert somebody to Corellism, but only have a couple of minutes to do it in.

Di quella pira – This is the only recording of this aria that I’ve heard that can equal Pavarotti’s. Again, I love how his tone changes from romantic to heroic in a matter of seconds. The sound’s fine on this one, apart from some strange whizzing noises in the background.

Come un bel di di maggio – In my opinion, this is the best track in the album. Heartbreakingly soft and painfully strong by turns, this is my favourite of all recordings of this aria.

Mamma, quel vino e generoso – A gorgeous piece of verismo opera, which suits Corelli’s voice perfectly. The stifled sobs work better in this aria than in some of the others.

Or son sei mesi – I’m not really a fan of La Fanciulla del West but his singing brings the rather flat emotions completely to life again and breathes his magic into the music.

E lucevan le stelle – One of my favourite arias, one of my favourite tenors, perfection. Need I say more?

Non piangere Liu – Again, you can hear Calaf’s emotional struggle reflected in his voice. (In case you’re wondering, there is no input from Liu or Timur in this rendition)

So all in all, I would seriously recommend this recording to anyone who likes this kind of repertoire and/or wants to discover one of the greatest tenors who ever lived. You won’t be disappointed.

New Purchases

So, earlier this morning I went down to my (amazing, wonderful, brilliant) well-stocked local record shop with £20. I am now back at home with £5.02 and two new CDs. The rest of my morning has been spent in the delightful anticipation of listening to these CDs, but first I will just tell you what they are.


Very excited to have this recording, because Franco Corelli is one of my all-time FAV 🙂 URITE tenors. Apart from the arias listed on the cover, it also has arias from Ernani, I Lombardi, La Forza del Destino, Andrea Chenier, Cavalleria Rusticana, Adriana Lecouvreur and Madama Butterfly. Obviously the sound quality won’t be perfect because the recordings were made in the ’50s but who cares, it’s still Corelli.

And also:

Now, I know that a lot of people don’t like La G (aka Draculette) because of her cancellations and her temperament and the various stories about her diva-ishness. I don’t know how many of these are true but all rumours have at least 1% truth and the cancellations are certainly no lie. But whatever people may think, you can’t deny that this woman has THE VOICE. She can SING. Which, when you think about it, is quite a good quality for a singer to have (*cough cough* pop music industry). So, leaving aside the arguments about her attendance record, this CD has arias from Butterfly, Tosca, Boheme, La Fanciulla del West, Manon Lescaut, Edgar (that’s the one that is never performed), her trademark Rondine, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Le Villi (also rarely performed) and Turandot. Quite predictable stuff, but hopefully the singing will live up to the name.