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Renata Tebaldi

Renata Tebaldi was one of the dominant lyrico-spinto sopranos of the 1950s and 1960s, with a large, powerful voice that, despite a severely flawed top, was described by many of her admirers as one of the most beautiful of the 20th century. In many ways she and Maria Callas were defined by one another, although often far too simplistically, assuming that what one had, the other did not. (Rather like the cats versus dogs debates among pet lovers, in which all dogs are loving but dumb and all cats are bright but treacherous.) Those who backed Callas against Tebaldi denounced Tebaldi as a stodgy singer of the "this is about showing off my voice" school and lauded Callas as the genuine operatic artist who let the voice be subservient to the opera and to the drama; those who held Tebaldi to be the prima donna denounced Callas as overly erratic, with an unattractive voice that was on the edge of disaster. In fact, Tebaldi was not without a sense of the stage and of dramatic presentation, and for much of her career, in many ways Callas had the more reliable and versatile technique.

She studied at the Arrigo Boito Conservatory in Parma, and her stage debut was as Elena (Helen of Troy) in Boito's Mefistofele in 1944 at Rovigo. Her career took off with a concert performance rather than an operatic one. In 1946, Toscanini was performing the Verdi Te Deum to reopen the La Scala opera house, and he engaged her to perform the soprano solo. Whether he was referring to the way that she was physically placed considerably above the other soloists, exhorting her to sing like an angel, or in fact describing her voice as "la voce d' angelo" (the voice of an angel), a question which has aroused some controversy, she was soon identified by that phrase. Her stage debut was three months later as Eva in Wagner's Die Meistersinger. She made her London debut in 1950 as Desdemona in Verdi's Otello as part of a La Scala tour, the year of her United States debut in San Francisco as Tosca, and her Paris and Rio de Janiero debuts the next year. Her Met debut was in 1955, also as Desdemona, and thereafter it became something of a home base for her. While she had performed relative rarities earlier in her career, even including such unlikely composers as Handel (Giulio Cesare) and Rossini (Le siege de Corinthe) and obscure works by Spontini (La vestale and Fernando Cortez) and Refice' s Cecilia, she began to narrow her repertoire to mainstream works by Verdi, Puccini, and some of the verismo composers. In the early 1960s, a problematic technique and personal crisis (the death of her mother, to whom she had been especially close), led to a vocal crisis, and in 1963, she left the stage to rest and rework. While her vocal condition had not especially improved by the time of her return, her acting received far more praise than before. Her physical mobility was still limited by the after-effects of childhood polio, but she had become more expressive, and better able to use gestures and expressions to convey drama. In the early 1970s, she began her retirement, and her final stage performance was at La Scala in 1976.

Among her recordings, her Liu on the Leinsdorf Turandot with Nilsson and Bjoerling (RCA Living Stero 62687) shows her at her best; the tempo is not allowed to become lugubrious, and the role lies particularly low for a soprano, allowing the velvety richness of her middle and lower range to be displayed without the flatness or harshness that plagued her upper range throughout her career. ~ Ann Feeney
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Puccini: La fanciulla del West (1961)

Disc 1
Disc 2
x

Track List: Un Bel Dì Vedremo

1. La Traviata: "Libiamo Ne' Lieti Calici"

2. La Traviata: "E' Strano… Follie… Sempre Libera"

3. La Traviata: "Addio Del Passato"

4. Tosca: "Vissi D'arte"

5. La Wally: "Ebben? Ne Andrò Lontana" (2011)

6. Il Trovatore: "Tacea La Notte Placida"

7. Manon Lescaut: "In Quelle Trine Morbide"

8. Andrea Chenier: "La Mamma Morta"

9. La Forza Del Destino: "Pace, Pace, Mio Dio"

10. La Boheme: "Si, Mi Chiamano Mimì"

11. Metistofele: "L'altra Notte In Fondo Al Mare"

12. Aida: "Ritorna Vincitor!"

13. Madama Butterfly: "Un Bel Dì Vedremo"

x

Track List: Renata Tebaldi - Voice of Gold

1. La Forza del Destino: "Son guinta!...Madre pietosa Vergine"

2. La Forza del Destino: "Le vergine degli angeli"

3. La Forza del Destino: "Pace, pace mio Dio"

4. Il Trovatore: "Timor di me...D'Amor sull'ali rosee"

5. Aida: "O patria mia"

6. La Traviata: "Addio del passato"

7. Otello: "Era più calma...Canzone del Salce...Ave Maria"

8. Andrea Chenier: "La mamma morta"

9. Adriana Lecouvrer: "Ecco: respiro appena...Io son l'umile ancella"

10. Adriana Lecouvrer: "Poveri fiori"

11. La Wally: "Nè mai dunque avro pace"

12. Lodoletta: "Ah! il suo nome...Flammen, perdonami"

13. Manon Lescaut: "Sola, perduta, abbandonata"

14. Turandot: "Signore, ascolta"

15. Turandot: "Tu che di gel sei cinta"

x

Track List: Vissi D'arte…

1. Libiamo Ne' Lieti Calici - La Traviata

2. E' Strano… Follie… Sempre Libera - La Traviata

3. Addio Al Passato - La Traviata

4. Vissi D'arte - Tosca

5. La Wally: Ebben? Ne Andrò Lontana

6. Tacea La Notte Placida - Il Trovatore

7. In Quelle Trine Morbide - Manon Lescaut

8. La Mamma Morta - Andrea Chenier

9. Pace, Pace, Mio Dio - La Forza Del Destino

10. Si, Mi Chiamano Mimì - La Boheme

11. Donde Lieta Uscì - La Boheme

12. L'altra Notte In Fondo Al Mare - Mefistofele

13. Ritorna Vincitor! - Aida

14. O Patria Mia… O Cieli Azzurri - Aida

15. Un Bel Dì Vedremo - Madama Butterfly

16. Tu, Tu Piccolo Iddio - Madama Butterfly

x

Track List: Spontini: Fernando Cortez, Ou La Conquete Du Mexique (1950, 1951)

Disc 1

1. Act I: Overture

2. Act I: O Iberia Mia (Alvaro, Prigionieri Spagnoli)

3. Act I: Del Dio Delle Tempeste (Sommo Sacerdote)

4. Act I: Del Fatal Sacrifizio (Montezuma)

5. Act I: O Mio Prence (Amazily)

6. Act I: Empio Ministro D'implacabil Dio (Amazily)

7. Act I: O Mio Fratel (Amazily)

8. Act I: Perduti Siam (Montezuma)

9. Act II: Un Agguato Fatale (Official)

10. Act II: O Miei Fidi Seguaci (Cortez)

11. Act II: Alvaro E In Vita Ancor (Amazily)

12. Act II: Ella Mori (Amazily)

13. Act II: Della Gloria Il Riposo (Chorus)

14. Act II: O Tu, Cui Cieca Sorte (Telasco)

15. Act II: O Figli Al Dio (Chorus)

Disc 2

1. Act II: Ballo Nazionale Messicano

2. Act II: Qual Indegno Terror (Cortez)

3. Act II: Voliam Di Gloria In Gloria (Cortez)

4. Act III: Ad Infiammar Nostra Audacia (Chorus)

5. Act III: O Patria Mia (Telasco)

6. Act III: Ah, Dunque Invano (Amazily)

7. Act III: A Re Dei Miei Destini (Amazily)

8. Act III: Incendiate La Citta (Montezuma)

9. Act III: Trionfo, Vittoria (All)

10. La Traviata, Act III: Teneste La Promessa … Addio Al Passato

11. Aida, Act III: O Cieli Azzurri

12. Act IV: Piangea Cantando Nell'erma Landa

13. Act IV: Ave Maria

14. Le Nozze Di Figaro (The Marriage Of Figaro), K. 492, Act IV: Deh Vieni, Non Tardar

15. La Wally, Act I: Ebben? Ne Andro Lontana

x

Track List: Voce d'Angelo

1. Si, Mi Chiamono Mimi (from La Boheme)

2. Donde Lieta Usci (from La Boheme)

3. Sono Andati? (from La Boheme)

4. In Quelle Trine Morbide (from Manon Lescaut)

5. Vissi D'arte (from Tosca)

6. Ah! ...Ancora Un Passo Or Via (from Madam Butterfly)

7. Un Bel Di Vedremo (from Madam Butterfly)

8. Con Onor muore...Tu? Piccolo Iddio! (from Madam Butterfly)

9. La Mamma Morta (from Andrea Chenier)

10. Ballad of the King of Thule...Jewel Song (from Faust)

11. Ritorna Vincitor (from Aida)

12. Tacea La Notte Placida (from Il Trovatore)

13. Libera Me, Domine (from The Requiem)

x

Track List: Renata Tebaldi

Disc 1

1. Verdi: Giovanna D'Arco: Ben S'addice

2. Verdi: Giovanna D'Arco: Pronta Sono!

3. Verdi: La Traviata: E Strano

4. Verdi: La Forza Del Destino: Me Pellegrina Ed Orfana... Ah Per Sempre O Mio Bell'angelo

5. Verdi: La Forza Del Destino: Son Giunta

6. Verdi: La Forza Del Destino: La Vergine Degli Angeli

7. Verdi: La Forza Del Destino: Pace, Pace Mio Dio

8. Catalani: La Wally: Ebben? Ne Andro Lontana

Disc 2

1. Puccini: Manon Lescaut: Sola, Perduta, Abbandonata... Fra Le Tue Braccia

2. Puccini: La Boheme: Si, Mi Chiamano Mimi

3. Puccini: La Boheme: O Soave Fanciulla

4. Puccini: La Fanciulla Del West: Laggiu Nel Soledad

5. Puccini: La Fanciulla Del West: Basta Uomo D'inferno!

6. Giordano: Andrea Chenier: La Mamma Morta

7. Giordano: Andrea Chenier: Ecco L'altare... Eravate Possente

x

Track List: Verdi, G.: Giovanna D'Arco (Opera) (1951)

Disc 1

1. Prologue: Sinfonia

2. Prologue: Qual V'ha Speme? (Chorus)

3. Prologue: Il Re! (Delil)

4. Prologue: Sotto Una Quercia (Carlo)

5. Prologue: Pondo E Letal, Martiro (Carlo)

6. Prologue: Gelo, Terror M'invade (Giacomo)

7. Prologue: Oh, Ben S'addice … Sempre All'alba (Giovanna)

8. Prologue: Paventi, Carlo … Tu Sei Bella (Carlo, Chorus)

9. Prologue: Pronta Sono! (Giovanna)

10. Act I: Ai Lari! … Alla Partia! (Chorus)

11. Act I: Franco, Son Io (Giacomo)

12. Act I: Qui, Qui … Dove S'apre (Giovanna)

13. Act I: O Fatidica Foresta (Giovanna)

14. Act I: Ho Risolto … E In Tai Momenti (Giovanna)

15. Act I: T'arretri E Palpiti (Carlo)

16. Act I: Vieni! Le Vie Traboccano (Carlo)

17. Act I: Vieni Al Tempio (Carlo)

Disc 2

1. Act II: Da Cielo A Noi (Chorus)

2. Act II: Ecco Il Luogo … Speme Al Vecchio (Giacomo)

3. Act II: Te, Dio, Lodiam (Chorus)

4. Act II: Compiuto E Il Rito! (Giovanna, Carlo, Giacomo, Delil, Talbot, Chorus)

5. Act II: Comparire Il Ciel (Giacomo)

6. Act II: No! Forme D'angelo (Giovanna, Carlo, Giacomo, Delil, Talbot, Chorus)

7. Act II: Ti Discolpa … Del Sacrilego Misfatto (Giovanna, Carlo, Giacomo, Delil, Talbot, Chorus)

8. Act III: I Franchi! (Chorus)

9. Act III: A Te Fidente … Amai, Ma Un Solo Istante (Giovanna)

10. Act III: Ecco! Ella Vola (Giacomo)

11. Act III: Quale Piu Fido Amico (Carlo)

12. Act III: Che Mai Fu? (Giovanna)

13. Act III: S'apre Il Cielo (Giovanna, Carlo, Giacomo, Delil, Talbot, Chorus)

x

Track List: Verdi, G.: Messa Da Requiem (Toscanini) (1940-1950)

Disc 1

1. Requiem Aeternam

2. Kyrie Eleison

3. Dies Irae

4. Tuba Mirum

5. Liber Scriptus

6. Quid Sum Miser

7. Rex Tremendae

8. Recordare

9. Ingemisco

10. Confutatis

11. Lacrymosa

12. Offertorio: Domine Jesu

13. Offertorio: Hostias Et Preces Tibi

14. Sanctus

15. Agnus Dei

16. Lux Aeterna

Disc 2

1. Libera Me

2. Requiem Aeternam

3. Libera Me, Domine

4. Te Deum

5. Aida: Sinfonia

6. Prelude To Act I

7. Prelude To Act III

8. La Forza Del Destino: Sinfonia

9. I Vespri Siciliani: Sinfonia

10. Luisa Miller: Sinfonia

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Please add more by Renata Tebaldi - very famous soprano & u only have one song!
Need more sopranos from 50s and 60s.

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