RARE !!! the final concert ever MARIO DEL MONACO gave (1975) : listen to him in the Otello duet partnered by the underrated American soprano IRENE OLIVER in the town of Vincenza.



RIP : Italian bass CARLO CAVA died on 1st September in the Lazio hospital. He had just celebrated his 90th birthday. He was buried in Viterbo (info courtesy James Lockwood, photos courtesy Charles Mintzer)


NEW !!! FEDERICO GAMBARELLI, a now forgotten tenor but one praised by both Leoncavallo and Puccini, now remembered by Aurora Cantini in a new biography. Click here to read our comments.




NEW !!!! A wonderful book on the tragic life and career of ANGELES GULIN, click here to read our review and how to order the book


German soprano HILDEGARD HILLEBRECHT died on October 7

(with Del Monaco in Walkuere 1966 + LP cover)

Click here to listen to her alongside Astrid Varnay in a live video of Jenufa

Click here to hear her sing Ritorna vincitor



Adeu MONTSERRAT (1933 - 2018)........

Click here to read Charles Mintzer's memoir of the soprano's legendary American debut

Click here to listen to her desert island appearance

Click here for an English obituary from the Catalan press


RIP : CHARLES AZNAVOUR, the last of the titans died at age 94

Click here for his biography

(with tenor giants Mario Del Monaco and Carlo Bergonzi and below with Domingo and Callas)


  • 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)


    On 27th August the Danish tenor ERIK SCHMEDES had his sesquicentennial (photos courtesy Charles Mintzer collection)


    Erik Anton Julius Schmedes was a tenor particularly known for his roles in operas by Richard Wagner. His career remained largely based at the Vienna State opera, where he was a Kammersänger and one of the most prominent tenors during the years of Gustav Mahler's direction of the company.

    Schmedes sang frequently at Bayreuth from 1899 through 1906. He also appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1908–09 season.

    During his career, he sang 1,130 performances of forty-two roles and recorded for several companies, including Gramophone and Pathé, from 1902 to 1912.

    The Heldentenor recorded excerpts from Der EvangelimannDie WalküreLohengrinDas RheingoldSiegfriedPagliacciDie MeistersingerRienziDaliborCavalleria rusticanaTristan und IsoldeParsifalOtelloCarmenIl trovatoreLucia di LammermoorFaustTannhäuserNormaDie Rose vom LiebesgartenPique-dameDer Templer und die JüdinRigolettoGuillaume TellLe prophèteManonLe muette de PorticiDie Königin von Saba,Samson et DalilaGötterdämmerungIphigénie en TaurideWerther, and, in Italian, Tosca.

    Schmedes's last performance was in 1924 in the title role of Wilhelm Kienzl's Der Evangelimann. When he retired from the stage, he became a voice teacher in Vienna. Among his pupils were Maria Müller and Anny Konetzni.

    Erik Schmedes is a character in the 2012 novel, Death and the Maiden: A Max Liebermann Mystery, by Frank Tallis.


    NEW !!! BELGIUM'S STAR DIVA VINA BOVY GOT A NEW BIOGRAPHY, click here to read our review and how to order it



    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 !!




    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 JuiveFaustMignonCarmenTales of Hoffmann, and Manon. From Italian opera, we hear the Willow Song from Otello and Puccini arias from Manon LescautLa BohèmeToscaButterfly, 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


    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)