Episode 198. Cesare Valletti

Episode 198. Cesare Valletti



Today’s episode celebrates the Italian tenore di grazia Cesare Valletti (18 December 1923 – 13 May 2000), perhaps the last in a lineage of Italian lyric tenors. Valletti studied under his illustrious predecessor Tito Schipa and rapidly conquered first the Italian opera houses, and then the world stages, with his small-scale but superbly produced voice and his spontaneous yet exacting musicianship. From 1953 through 1960 he was a mainstay of the Metropolitan Opera and also performed at opera houses and festivals worldwide under some of the greatest conductors and at the side of the greatest singers of his day. We hear a sampling of his greatest operatic roles, including duets with Eleanor Steber, Rosanna Carteri, and Maria Callas, as well as the repertoire in which – nearly unique for an Italian singer – he excelled: art song. The combination of his Italianate timbre with his scrupulous and imaginative musicianship makes for an ineffable and deeply satisfying artistic experience. He made five LPs of recital repertoire, including two live recitals from the stage of Town Hall in New York City, excerpts of which are all offered here. The episode begins with a tribute to the beloved Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll Tina Turner, who died on Tuesday at the age of 83.


David Bowie, Iggy Pop: Tonight. Tina Turner, David Bowie [live Private Dancer tour 1985]

Gioacchino Rossini, Angelo Anelli: Languir per una bella (L’italiana in Algeri). Cesare Valletti, Carlo Maria Giulini, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano [1954]

Alessandro Scarlatti, Adriano Morselli: Le violette (Pirro e Demetrio). Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [1958]

Jules Massenet, Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet, Georges Hartmann [after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]: Pourquoi me réveiller (Werther). Cesare Valletti, Renato Cellini, Orchestra of the New Orleans Opera Society [New Orleans 1956]

Hugo Wolf, Eduard Mörike: Der Gärtner. Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [live Town Hall 16.X.58]

Robert Schumann, Heinrich Heine: Ich grolle nicht (Dichterliebe, Op. 48/7). Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [1960]

Pietro Mascagni, P. Suardon [né Nicola Daspuro, after Émile Erckmann and Pierre-Alexandre Chatrian]: Suzel, buon dì (L’amico Fritz). Tito Schipa, Mafalda Favero, Giuseppe Antonicelli, Orchestra del Tearo alla Scala di Milano [1939]

Pietro Mascagni, P. Suardon [né Nicola Daspuro, after Émile Erckmann and Pierre-Alexandre Chatrian]: Tutto tace, e poi tutto al core mi parla (L’amico Fritz). Cesare Valletti, Rosanna Carteri, Vittorio Gui, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI Milano [25.IV.53]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Lorenzo da Ponte [English language version by Ruth and Thomas Martin]: Always obey your heart’s true feeling [Volgi a me pietoso il ciglio] (Così fan tutte) [live New York 17.XII.55]. Cesare Valletti, Eleanor Steber, Fritz Stiedry, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra [live New York 17.XII.55]

Giuseppe Verdi, Francesco Maria Piave [after Alexandre Dumas]: Un dì, felice, eterea (La traviata). Cesare Valletti, Maria Callas, Nicola Rescigno, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden [live 20.VI.58]

Gaetano Donizetti, Felice Romani [after Eugène Scribe]: Una furtiva lagrima (L’elisir d’amore). Cesare Valletti, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma della RAI [1952]

Leo Taubman

Alessandro Scarlatti, Matteo Noris: Chi vuole innamorarsi (Il Flavio). Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [1958]

Stefano Donaudy, Alberto Donaudy: O del mio amato ben. Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [live Town Hall 28.X.60]

Fernando Obradors, Traditional Spanish text: Del cabello más sutil. Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [live Town Hall 16 October 1959]

Traditional British, arr. Roger Quilter, Ben Jonson: Drink to me only with thine eyes. Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [live Town Hall 28.X.60]

Ildebrando Pizzetti, Gabriele D’Annunzio: I pastori. Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [1958]

Hector Berlioz, Théophile Gautier: Sur les lagunes (Les nuits d’été, Op. 7/3). Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [live Town Hall 16.X.58]

Gabriel Fauré, Romand Bussine: Après un rêve, Op. 7/1. Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [1965]

Edvard Grieg, Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt: Ein Traum [sung in English as A Dream], Op. 48/6. Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [live Town Hall 28.X.60]

Franz Schubert, Matthäus von Collin: Nacht und Träume, D. 827. Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [1958]

Robert Schumann, Heinrich Heine: Allnächtlich im Traume; Aus alten Märchen winkt es; Die alten, bösen Lieder (Dichterliebe, Op. 48, Nos. 14-16). Cesare Valletti, Leo Taubman [1960]

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