JUNE ISSUE : A TRIBUTE TO TENOR CHARLES HOLLAND AND BARITONE HEINZ REHFUSS
(early Charles Holland and later as Nadir in Paris)
Charles Holland was a lyric tenor who sang with jazz bands in the 1930s but fled the racial prejudice of his native land to become a successful Monostatos in Mozart's "The Magic Flute" and a well-known Nadir in Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers," amongst others.
Holland was 77 when he died at his home in The Netherlands.
Holland began singing when he was only 14 but was unable to secure regular work in the operatic and concert fields because of his race. He sang for a time with Benny Carter's and Fletcher Henderson's jazz bands and secured a 13-week concert program on NBC radio. That brief series made him prominent enough to land roles in Marc Connelly's drama "Green Pastures," the 1941 film "Hullabaloo" and Virgil Thomson's "Four Saints in Three Acts."
Mr. Holland moved to France in 1949. Prejudice even followed him abroad: In 1961, another American tenor, Eddie Ruhl, was fired by the Norwegian Opera because he refused to share a dressing room with Mr. Holland. (see article in the clip for more)
Still, his career prospered in Europe. He sang on French and Dutch radio and television, made his debut at the Paris Opera in Mozart's ''Zauberflote'' in 1954, and became the first black singer at the Opera-Comique the following year. His voice having darkened since 1940, he sang Verdi's ''Otello'' in London and appeared throughout Europe in operatic roles and lieder recitals.
In 1969, Mr. Holland performed in this country for the first time in 20 years. Donal Henahan reported in The Times that he ''sang with considerable power and elegance'' and ''lifted the program into the realm of exciting music.''
At a 1977 concert in California, the performance artist Laurie Anderson heard Mr. Holland sing Massenet's aria ''O Souverain'' from ''Le Cid,'' which apparently became the inspiration for her hit single, ''O Superman.''
Mr. Holland's most recent New York appearance was in 1984. ''He sang from a full heart and with a conviction that need not give place to anyone,'' wrote Will Crutchfield in The Times. ''His voice failed him at times; his spirit never.''
As a tribute we uploaded several extremely rare broadcast and never before available recordings of him singing operatic arias and oratorio for Dutch radio. Click on the youtube clip for more details.
On May 25 we celebrated the centenary of the German-Swiss baritone HEINZ REHFUSS (1917 - 1988)
Click here for an interview
Click here for a video interview together with Erna Spoorenberg and Herman Scherchen !!!!
BREAKING NEWS !!!
American tenor BARRY BUSSE (click here for more info) died on 15th May and American mezzo BARBARA CONRAD died on 22nd May. (click here for more info)
(photo and info Barry Busse, courtesy Manfred Krugmann, photo as Siegmund courtesy Charles Mintzer - info and photos Barbara Conrad, courtesy Metropolitan Opera Archive)
NEW BOOK RELEASE : DIVAS, MATHILDE MARCHESI AND HER PUPILS by Roger Neill
(Salvatore en Blanche Marchesi, courtesy Charles Mintzer)
A fascinating look at the relationship between legendary vocal teacher MATHILDE MARCHESI and her numerous star pupils such as Australian diva Nellie Melba is what this new book offers. How did the Marchesi name become a byword internationally for female vocal excellence and operatic success? Click here to read our review and how to order the book.
New fabulous release from Desirée records in their Great Australian Voices series : the Art of JENIFER EDDY
Click here for our review and here to order it
NEW : ENRICO CARUSO RELEASES !!
RAI has released its television series CARUSO, la voce dell'amore on two dvd's. Alongside this DVD set, EMI released a CD with Gianluca Terranova -the tenor who also plays Caruso in the film - singing the songs and arias from the series.
Click here to order the DVD set + click here to order the CD
RCA re-released their 1990 Caruso set (click here) while Marston's Naxos series is still available (click here).
NEW !!!! Musicfromthepast has just released two wonderful CDs featuring the greatest opera singers in rare radio broadcasts.
Click here for our review !!!!
Click here for their website
LOTTE LEHMANN, the accoustic recordings a 4 CD release by Marstonrecords and not to be missed !!!
Lotte Lehmann enjoyed a forty-year career spanning 1910 to 1950 on stage in opera and on the concert platform. Remembered now primarily for her portrayals of Wagner and Strauss roles and as a consummate interpreter of German lieder, her early recordings, not widely known, give us a broader picture of this great artist. It will, perhaps, not come as a surprise to hear Lehmann in her now familiar roles: Sieglinde, Elsa, Eva, and the Marschallin. What really makes these records outstanding is the ease and beauty of Lehmann's vocal production, and the opportunity of hearing her in repertoire not associated with her. We are treated to a generous sprinkling of Mozart, including three duets with baritone Heinrich Schlusnus, as well as arias by Weber, Lortzing, and Nicolai. Although she sings in German, you can hear French opera arias from La Juive, Faust, Mignon, Carmen, Tales of Hoffmann, and Manon. From Italian opera, we hear the Willow Song from Otello and Puccini arias from Manon Lescaut, La Bohème, Tosca, Butterfly, and two rare recordings from Suor Angelica. Other highlights include Lehmann's recording of Tatyana's Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin, an aria from d'Albert's Die toten Augen, and the exquisite aria and duet from Korngold's Die tote Stadt with tenor Richard Tauber. These are among the greatest treasures of the acoustic recording era. The booklet contains a biographical essay by Dr. Daniel Jacobson, Professor of Music at Western Michigan University, an essay on the recordings by Michael Aspinall, and a personal reminiscence by André Tubeuf, who has also provided numerous rare and lovely photos from Lehmann’s early career prior to her emergence on to the international operatic scene. Since there is some extra space at the end of the fourth CD, we are offering a selection of operatic and lieder recordings from her electric Odeon discography, 1927-1932.
Click here to read all about it
INA BOURSKAYA (1888-1954) a former Metropolitan Opera mezzo remembered by Charles Mintzer
An operagoer of the 20's and 30's wrote upon the singer's death the following about her : "with a tantalizingly warm voice and personal magnetism and beauty, she brought to the American opera possibly the first completely integrated synthesis of voice, drama, costume, form, and color."
Click here for the illustrated article on this now forgotten singer once acclaimed as the "greatest Carmen since Calvé"
(photos courtesy Charles Mintzer collection)
Click here to watch the videos of the conference
Johann Hofer wrote the definitive CARL GOLDMARK biography. Click here to order the book
Carl Goldmark was alive one of the most famous Austrian composers of the late 19th century. His opera "The Queen of Sheba premiered at the Vienna Court Opera met with enormous success and eventually reached worldwide acclaim. Until his death in 1915 Goldmark's operas and orchestral works were regularly performed in prestigious venues and in all the major concert halls in the world.
The greatest conductors, famous singers and violinists took Goldmark in their repertoire. But soon after his death, his works slowly vanished from the repertoire not least by the performance ban of Jewish music by the Nazis. The music teacher Johann Hofer has done his research into Goldmark's life consulting information and documents scattered all over the world resulting in the definitive Goldmark biography.
The 285 page opus not only deals with the composer's life and works in great detail but there's also a discography and a chronology of the creations of his operas worldwide. There's an index and greatly welcomed by me a detailed family tree as well. A major addition to the world of composer biographies.
The recording REVELATION of the year, a must have recording for all operetta fans !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A great new operetta recording JOSEPH BEER's "Polish wedding" has just been released by cpo.
Click here for a review AND sound examples
Click here for the composer's website
A FRENCH OPERA FESTIVAL : a survey of must-have rare recordings
Click here to read about Gounod's opera (French only) + click here to listen to the most famous aria from this opera Nuit resplendissante
Click here to read a review of Félicien David's Herculanum (English)
Click here to read a review of Victorin Joncières's Dimitri (English)
Click here to listen to clips from these new recordings
Click here to read for a review of Saint-Saens Les Barbares
Click here to read for a review of Massenet's Le Mage
Click here for the BRUZANE website
Click here to read all about Maurice Emmanuel and his opera Salamine (French only)
GREAT REDISCOVERY OF A 19th CENTURY OPERA :
Carlo Enrico PASTA, cousin of Giuditta Pasta, at least some sources claim him to be, was an Italian opera composer who fled to Peru and became a sort of Carlo Gomes for the Peruvian nation. His Atahualpa has now been released, read all about it here and get the release before it's sold out as it is a must-have recording for every lover of 19th century opera.
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)