JUNE issue

Breaking news

FRANCO ZEFFIRELLI the legendary film and opera producer died in Rome on 15 June at age 96.

Click here for his obituary + click here for his 1958 production -video!!!!- of Don Giovanni at the Teatro di Corte


(with Sutherland and Scotto)

(with Ricciarelli and late in life)


NEW !!

Having just issued his Chaliapine box (see below) Marston Records performs another miracle issuing the complete electrical recordings of JOHN MCCORMACK, be quick to order the set as apparently it is seling like hot cakes !!!!!!!!

Click here for all information and how ro order it

See below for Ward Marston youtube clip expanding on this release

This deluxe 16-CD set contains John McCormack’s complete electrically recorded output of 243 sides, 1925-1942, plus all extant alternative takes as well as 2 CDs of his surviving radio broadcasts. Each disc was newly transferred by Ward Marston from original sources. The set contains a comprehensive booklet of essays and notes on the recordings by the leading authorities on John McCormack: Gordon Ledbetter, author of two books on the tenor, and Michael Aspinall, the world’s acknowledged expert on the art of bel canto, of which McCormack was one of the greatest exponents. The final two CDs in the set comprises new restorations of all 57 of McCormack’s earliest recordings, made on cylinder and disc in 1904, following his victory in the Dublin Feis Ceoil national singing competition in 1903. These fascinating, if primitive, vocal documents allow us to hear the artist before his sojourn in Italy in 1905, when he trained under Maestro Sabatini.



French mezzo MICHELE VILMA (1932) died in Bois Guillaume/Honfleur on 28 May 2019.

Click here for her biography (French only)

Click here to listen to her Azucena in a complete Trovatore in French (Le Trouvère) in 1966 in Marseille (see an in memoriam video below)




Israeli contralto MIRA ZAKAI (b. 1942) died in Givatayim on 20th May.

(w. Leonard Bernstein)

Click here for her website

Click here for her youtube channel

Click here for an obituary


Maria MOTOLYGINA wins the 10th Moniuszko singing Competition

Click here for the results

Click here for the competition's website with past winners, participants etc.

Click here to watch the high level competition




Yoel Arbeitman has just published a scholarly in-depth paper about "Hector Berlioz and the Jewish question in Weimar Benvenuto Cellini"

Click here to read the article !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Click here to watch the 2007 Salzburg performance of B.C

*Click here to listen to the RAI 1973 b'cast with Franco Bonisolli singing in French

*Click here to watch the 1987 performance with Cecila Gasdia and Chris Merritt


RIP !!!

In Memoriam PAUL DE DECKER ( 1932 - 2019), he was the son of the famous Flemish bass Eduard De Decker about who he wrote book, he also published two CD's with rare live recordings of his father. Paul was a friend. He sadly passed away on 29 April in his residence in Spain. May his soul rest in piece.

(Paul De Decker receiving congratulations for his publication)



RIP : The French website resmusic announced the recent death of the Canadian baritone NORMAN MITTELMANN (b. 1932), no exact date is yet available


* German-Austrian soprano HILDE ZADEK died at age 101 in Karlsruhe

"Ich habe die allerbesten Erinnerungen an sehr viele Italianische Tenore. Von Mario Del Monaco bis Giuseppe di Stefano, von Franco Corelli bis zu Nicht-Italienern wie Richard Tucker in New York and Ernst Kozub in Deutschland."

Zadek was born in Bromberg on 15 December 1917. After her hometown became Polish after World War I, her parents moved to Stettin in 1920,where Zadek spent her youth. However as a Jewess she left Germany in 1935 and settled in then Palestine, where she worked as a nurse in Jerusalem, while studying voice at the Jerusalem conservatory where she studied with Edith Boroscheck who also fled Nazi Germany. In 1944 she met Rose Pauly who coached her for the role of Tosca. In 1945, she returned to Europe and studied in Zurich with Ria Ginster.

Zadek made her operatic debut in 1947, at the Vienna State Opera, as Aida (opposite Mirto Picchi, Hoengen and Taddei) to great acclaim, she remained with this theatre for twenty years. The following year she first appeared at the Salzburg Festival, where she sang as Donna Anna and Vitellia. Her repertory also included Elsa, Desdemona (opposite Max Lorenz), Amelia (Ballo), Elisabetta (Don Carlos), Santuzza, Saffi, Tosca (opposite Franco Corelli), Salome etc.

Zadek took part in the creation of Carl Orff's Antigonae in 1949, and sang Magda Sorel in the local premiere in Vienna of Menotti's The Consul in 1950. She also appeared in Munich and the Berlin State Opera. She made guest appearances at Covent Garden in London, the Glyndebourne  and the Holland Festivals (Rotterdam), at the Paris Opéra, in Brussels, la Scala in Milan, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Bolshoi in Moscow, Leningrad, Rio de Janeiro, Edinburgh, Riga, Monte Carlo, Bregenz, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Seattle, etc..

She sang at the Metropolitan in New York during the 1952–53 season (Aida opposite Mario Del Monaco). She retired from the stage in 1971.

Rudi van den Bulck, February 2019

PS Contrary to the article on Zadek on wikipedia she never sang in San Francisco (info courtesy Herbert Scholder) nor at the Colon (courtesy Juan Dzazopulos)


(Walkuere, Prince Igor, Tosca, early photos going back to then Palestine)



NEW !!! 25 years of Australian singers and singing : THE GOLDEN YEARS 1948 - 1973

A new wonderful 4 CD set released by Desirée records, click here for our review + click here to order this treasure trove on ebay !!!

Click here to order other CD releases by Desirée records at reduced prices on ebay



RECORDED OPERA GOLDMINE IN BERKELEY, click here to read about it all

(Jeffrey McMillan author of the article)



Click here for Conrad L. Osborne's extended in-depth review of the set !!!!! A must read

Click here for more info and to order the set

This very handsome 13cd set with a lavishly illustrated, hard cover, 324 page book with tons of great photos and translations of all the Russian-language arias and songs is the perfect gift this season for the opera, song-lover or the person who collects complete anthologies. Of all the great Marston releases to date, this has to be Ward’s masterpiece. The project shows so much love and respect for the subject, and seems the “last word” on this great artist,



NEW !! JARMILA NOVOTNA, my life in song. A new publication edited by William Madison.

Click here to read our review illustrated with rare photos and videoclips

(photos courtesy Charles Mintzer coll.)


NEW !!! The definitive book on MARIO BASIOLA has been written by who else than Maurizio Tiberi

Click here for our review and all info

(another path in music Andy BASIOLA, grandson of the famous baritone on the left)



* Chilean baritone CARLOS HAIQUEL died at age 89 in Santiago on 27 November (all info courtesy Juan Dzazopulos, photo operanostalgia archive)

Of Lebanese origin, Haiquel traveled to Italy in 1954 to study singing. In Milan he had several teachers, but the main one was the baritone Giovanni Inghilleri. He was selected among 318 applicants in the Young Singing Competition of 1956 and debuted in Milan in 1956, singing the role of Silvio in Pagliacci.

He debuted at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago on September 18, 1957, singing the role of Germont in La Traviata, along with soprano Virginia Zeani and tenor Bruno Landi. On October 3 he sang the role of Marcello in La Boheme, along with Claudia Parada, Rena Gary Falacchi and Bruno Landi.

Carlos Haiquel sang practically in all the lyrical seasons of the Municipal Theater, between 1957 and 1989. His roles included: Ford in Falstaff, Lescaut in Manon Lescaut. Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Iago in Otello, Schlemil in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, the Great Priest in Samson et Dalila, Escamillo in Carmen, Valentin in Faust, Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Scarpia in Tosca, Albert in Werther, Michelle in Il Tabarro , Schicchi in Gianni Schicchi, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, both by Rossini and Paisiello.
His last appeaance at the Municipal Theater was in the season of 1989, in Madama Butterfly.



  • NEW ON DVD !!!!!

  • NEW : THE OPERA HOUSE, making the new Met starring Leontyne Price; A Susan Froemke Film, click here for our review !!!!!!!

    (Charles Mintzer and his friend Arthur Naftal at the opening of the new house, poster of the new season 1966)

    This DVD is a product of the 50th anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera’s move to its new theatre at Lincoln Center from its old Broadway andWest 39th Street opera house. Although the DVD is Met and New York City-specific, the cast is international and the story told has wide appeal. It was brilliant that Ms. Froemke was able to enlist 90-year old Leontyne Price to narrate the story. Miss Price, who in recent years has been fairly low-profile, turns in a true diva performance as narrator, full of humor and is non self-deprecating; the lady knows her worth!

    (Arthur Naftal, Justino Diaz as Antony and Leontyne Price seems to be getting quite a kick of cutting the first swatch from the old Met’s famous golden curtain, 18 July 1966)


    A NEW BOOK ON RICHARD TUCKER HAS BEEN WRITTEN BY HIS SON DAVID : The Hard Bargain: Music, Medicine, and My Father. Click here to read our review

    (father and son)



    A luxurious biography on 'verismo' soprano MARIA FARNETI has been published in Italy.

    MARIA FARNETI nel cielo di Puccini e Mascagni : click here for our review and how to order this splendid publication

    (photos courtesy Charles Mintzer collection)

    The best release of her recordings can be found on the TrueSound transfer series :



    NEW !!! The Belgian-Walloon CD label "Musique en Wallonie" issued a two CD set of the Belgian basso PIERRE D'ASSY (1868-1910)

    Click here for an extended review of this very welcome release + click here to order the CD

    (cd cover) (the only LP release of some of his recordings)


    NEW !!

    Maurizio Tiberi from Rome just released his new state-of-the-art biography of BENVENUTO FRANCI

    Click here for our review and how and where to order this magnificent publication


    NEW : a wonderful and moving documentary of the life and career of REGINA RESNIK produced by her son !!



    REYNALDO HAHN TRIBUTE : A Proust/Hahn and music conference.

    Click here to watch the videos of the conference


    Remarkable and heart-warming : a museum devoted to the tenor AMEDEO BASSI has been opened in Montespertoli. Click here for more information

    Exclusive : a few photos from the Amedeo Bassi museum (courtesy and copyright Museo Amedeo Bassi/Francesca Di Natali)