Episode 30. Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Madness I)

Episode 30. Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Mania I)



Today’s episode, a celebration of the delicious and versatile Italian mezzo-soprano Giulietta Simionato (1910-2010), kicks off a miniseries in celebration of the mezzo-soprano voice. The centerpiece of the episode is a 10-inch London/Decca recording entitled Operatic Recital by Giulietta Simionato which features arias of Rossini, Bellini, and Verdi. The remainder of the episode features live and studio recordings, primarily from La Scala and Salzburg, by Simionato with distinguished partners, including Maria Callas, Franco Corelli, Jon Vickers, Ettore Bastianini, Gianadrea Gavazzeni, Antonino Votto, Carlo Maria Giulini, and Herbert von Karajan. Works include Il barbiere di Siviglia, Cavalleria rusticana, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Don Carlo, Adriana Lecouvreur, Orfeo ed Euridice, Norma, La Cenerentola, Gli Ugonotti, L’Italiana in Algeri, and Aida, with one special Easter egg at the end. This episode, dedicated to my dear friend Gloria Parker, also features a tribute to the late German mezzo-soprano Hertha Töpper. A te la buona Pasqua!

Here is a wonderful series of written exchanges between the music journalist Bruce Duffie and Simionato that occurred in 1986.


Giuseppe Verdi: Verhängnisvoll war das Geschenk [O don fatale] (Don Carlos). Hertha Töpper, Horst Stein, Die Berliner Symphoniker [1963]

The remainder of today’s recordings all feature Giulietta Simionato (12 May 1910 – 5 May 2010). Those conducted by Franco Ghione are all from the 10-inch 1954 London/Decca studio recording depicted below.

Simionato and Corelli as Santuzza and Turiddu at La Scala
in the same December 1963 performance heard on the podcast

Pietro Mascagni: No, no Turiddo (Cavalleria rusticana) Giulietta Simionato, Franco Corelli, Gianandrea Gavazzeni [La Scala 07 December 1963]. I had mentioned that there is a video of these two dynamos in rehearsal for this very production. Here it is.

Simionato as Orfeo, Salzburg 1959

Christoph Willibald Gluck: Che farò senza Euridice (Orfeo ed Euridice) Giulietta Simionato, Herbert von Karajan, Wiener Philharmoniker [5 August 1959]

Vincenzo Bellini: Deh! tu bell’anima (I Capuleti e i Montecchi). Giulietta Simionato, Franco Ghione, Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Roma [1954]

Giulietta Simionato as Eboli

Giuseppe Verdi: Canzone del velo (Don Carlo) Giulietta Simionato, Margarete Sjöstedt, Herbert von Karajan, Wiener Philharmoniker [Salzburg 26 July 1958]

Simionato’s Eboli in a dramatic pose

Giuseppe Verdi: O don fatale (Don Carlo) Giulietta Simonato, Franco Ghione

Gioacchino Rossini: Una voce poco fa (Il barbiere di Siviglia) Giulietta Simonato, Franco Ghione

Gioacchino Rossini: Nacqui all’affanno… Non più mesta (La Cenerentola) Giulietta Simionato, Franco Ghione

Vincenzo Bellini: Oh, rimembranza (Norma) Giulietta Simionato, Maria Callas, Antonino Votto [La Scala 07 December 1955]

Olivero, Corelli, and Simionato backstage at the historic Adriana performance in Napoli

Francesco Cilea: Acerba voluttà (Adriana Lecouvreur) Giulietta Simionato, Mario Rossi, Orchestra del Teatro San Carlo [Napoli 28 November 1958]

A screenshot from the Bell Telephone Hour telecast.

Giuseppe Verdi: Già i sacerdoti adunansi (Aida) Giulietta Simionato, Jon Vickers, Donald Voorhees [Bell Telephone Hour 05 May 1964]

Giulietta Simionato as Isabella at La Scala, 1954

Gioacchino Rossini: Per lui che adoro (L’Italiana in Algeri) Giulietta Simionato, Cesare Valletti, Mario Petri, Marcello Cortis, Carlo Maria Giulini, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala [1954]

Giulietta Simionato as Valentine and Franco Corelli as Raoul
in the legendary 1962 La Scala production of Gli Ugonotti [Les Huguenots].

Giacomo Meyerbeer: Act IV Duet (Gli Ugonotti [Les Huguenots]) Giulietta Simionato, Franco Corelli, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala [Milano 07 June 1962]

Ettore Bastianini

Irving Berlin: Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better (Annie Get Your Gun) Giulietta Simionato, Ettore Bastianini, Herbert von Karajan, Wiener Philharmoniker [1960]

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