Episode 100. Claudia Muzio

Episode 100. Claudia Muzio

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Countermelody celebrates its landmark 100th episode with a tribute to the artist that is my ne plus ultra, the Italian soprano Claudia Muzio (1889-1936). What better artist to salute on this occasion, as her voice is heard at the top of every episode of the podcast, and her beautiful presence graces the Countermelody logo. I discuss my theory that each individual listener has a singer whose voice penetrates to the core of their being. For me, as for many others, Claudia Muzio is that singer. I explore her recorded legacy, which falls into three distinct periods recording for three distinct record companies. In the case of “L’altra notte,” the classic aria from Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele, Muzio left three different recordings, one from each period. I examine these, and many of her other roles, in my attempt to plumb the depths of the Muzio mystique. Incidentally, there is a special bonus episode on Muzio that has been concurrently published for my Patreon supporters. What better time to celebrate this artist, and this occasion, than by signing up to become a monthly supporter on Patreon? (www.patreon.com/countermelody)

The episode begins with a tribute to the late Italian dramatic tenor Giuseppe Giacomini, who died this past week at the age of 80.

RECORDINGS HEARD IN THIS EPISODE

Giuseppe Giacomini (1940 – 2021)

Giacomo Puccini: Ch’ella mi creda (La Fanciulla del West). Giuseppe Giacomini, Guido Maria Guida, Symphonia Perusina (rec. ca. 1994)

Magda Olivero as Fedora

Umberto Giordano: Amor ti vieta (Fedora). Giuseppe Giacomini, Magda Olivero, Ferruccio Scaglia, Orchestra dell’Angelicum di Milano [live Como, February 1971]

Licinio Refice: Per amor di Gesù (Cecilia). Claudia Muzio, Orchestra conducted by Licinio Refice [recorded 1934]

Giuseppe Verdi: Mercè, dilette amiche (I vespri siciliani). Claudia Muzio [recorded 1918]

Not as Suor Angelica, but as Giorgetta, alongside Giulio Crimi as Luigi, in the roles they created in the Met world premiere production of Il Tabarro, the first installment of Puccini’s Il Trittico.

Giacomo Puccini: Senza mamma (Suor Angelica). Claudia Muzio [recorded 1918]

As Tatyana opposite Giuseppe de Luca as Onegin in the US stage premiere of Eugene Onegin at the Met, 1920

Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky: Sei forse l’angelo fedele [Tatyana’s Letter Scene] (Eugene Onegin). Claudia Muzio [recorded 1920]

Again with de Luca, this time in the Met premiere
of Andrea Chénier, 1921

Umberto Giordano: La mamma morta (Andrea Chénier). Claudia Muzio, Orchestra conducted by Lorenzo Molajoli [recorded 1935]

Alfredo Catalani: Dove son? (Loreley). Claudia Muzio [recorded 1922]

Alfredo Catalani: Ebben? Ne andrò lontana (La Wally). Claudia Muzio [recorded 1920]

As Fidalma in Respighi’s La Fiamma

Arrigo Boito: L’altra notte in fondo al mare (Mefistofele). Claudia Muzio [three recordings, 1917, 1922, and 1935 (Orchestra in the 1935 recording conducted by Lorenzo Molajoli)

Verdi: Pace, pace mio Dio (La forza del destino). Claudia Muzio, Orchestra conducted by Lorenzo Molajoli [recorded 1935]

Giuseppe Verdi: D’amor sull’ali rosee (Il trovatore). Claudia Muzio [recorded 1920]

Victor Herbert: A Kiss in the Dark (Orange Blossoms). Claudia Muzio [recorded 1924]

Frédéric Chopin: Aspiration. Claudia Muzio [recorded 1921]

Giuseppe Verdi: Teneste la promessa… Addio del passato (La traviata). Claudia Muzio, Orchestra conducted by Lorenzo Molajoli [recorded 1935]

Stefano Donaudy: O del mio amato ben. Claudia Muzio [recorded in 1922 and 1935; 1935 recording conducted by Lorenzo Molajoli]

Marie Antoinette (possibly spurious), Jean Pierre Claris de Florian, arr. Bainbridge Crist: C’est mon ami. Claudia Muzio, Orchestra conducted by Lorenzo Molajoli [recorded 1935]

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