Episode 24. Freni in Duet (Mirella In Memoriam I)

Episode 24. Freni in Duet (Mirella in Memoriam I)



Today, in the first of two consecutive episodes. I pay tribute to the great Mirella Freni, who died on February 7 and who would have celebrated her 85th birthday on February 27th. Celebrated for the freshness of her timbre, her musical integrity and commitment, her vocal prowess and longevity, and her expressivity, Freni sang a repertoire which covered a wide range of styles and languages. Today’s selections, from over the course of her entire career, feature her exclusively in duet, and include selections from Gianni Schicchi, I Puritani, L’Elisir d’amore, Le nozze di Figaro, La Bohème, Otello, Manon Lescaut, Don Carlo, Le due illustri rivali, Don Giovanni, and La Traviata with Alfredo Kraus, Nicolai Gedda, Gundula Janowitz, Franco Corelli, Luciano Pavarotti, Peter Dvorsky, Luis Lima, Renata Scotto, and her husband Nicolai Ghiaurov. Three selections from a rare 1977 LP of Puccini and Verdi duets with the superlative (and notorious!) Italian tenor Franco form the centerpiece of this loving tribute.


Giacomo Puccini: Lauretta mia (Gianni Schicchi) (Mirella Freni, Franco Bonisolli) (1977)

Mirella Freni and Alfredo Kraus in Manon, La Scala 1970

Vincenzo Bellini: Vieni fra queste braccia (I Puritani) (Mirella Freni, Alfredo Kraus) (1962)

Gaetano Donizetti: Chiedi all’aura lusinghiera (L’Elisir d’amore) (Mirella Freni, Nicolai Gedda) (1965)

Mirella Freni as Susanna in the 1976 Jean-Pierre Ponnelle film of Le nozze di Figaro.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sull’aria (Le nozze di Figaro) (Mirella Freni, Gundula Janowitz) (1973)

Giacomo Puccini: O soave fanciulla (La Bohème) (Mirella Freni, Franco Corelli) (1971)

Freni and Corelli as Mimi and Rodolfo, Video still from Corelli Gala, Hamburg 1971.
Mirella and Luciano in L’elisir d’amore.

Giacomo Puccini: Sono andati? (La Bohème) (Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti) (1985)

Franco Bonisolli

Giuseppe Verdi: Già nella notte densa (Otello) (Mirella Freni, Franco Bonisolli) (1977)

Morella Freni and Peter Dvorsky in Manon Lescaut.

Giacomo Puccini: Final Scene (Manon Lescaut) (Mirella Freni, Peter Dvorsky) (1987)

Mirella Freni and Luis Lima in Giordano’s Fedora, Vienna 1995.

Giuseppe Verdi: Io vengo a domandar (Don Carlo) (Mirella Freni, Luis Lima) (1989)

Saverio Mercadante: Leggo già nel vostro cor (Le due illustri rivali) (Mirella Freni, Renata Scotto) (ca. 1977)

Mirella Freni as Violetta in the 1973 film of La Traviata.

Giuseppe Verdi: È strano… Ah, fors’è lui… Sempre libera (La Traviata) (Mirella Freni, Franco Bonisolli) (1973)

Mirella Freni and Nicolai Ghiaurov sing Là ci darem la mano.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Là ci darem la mano (Don Giovanni) (Mirella Freni, Nicolai Ghiaurov)

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