Breaking news !!!!: THEO ADAM died on 10 January (see below for more, info courtesy Jan Jansky)

To all our readers we wish you the very best for 2019

(A 2019 toast from Mario Del Monaco)



* Listen to a unique and fabulous concert with orchestra VICTORIA DE LOS ANGELES gave in Lisbon in 1957. Seldom did I hear her sing better and the voice shines as never before. This is De Los Angeles at her very best !!!! Click here to listen to the clip illustrated with rare memorabilia



Click here to listen to the clip illustrated with rare memorabilia

This document is the 20 minute unedited version of the interview Ben Grauer conducted in New York with Raisa shortly before her death in September 1963. This interview was part of Grauer’s series: “Toscanini, the Man Behind the Myth.” This reel-to-reel version was sent to Raisa’s family for approval shortly after her death. The final edited version is only 12 minutes. There are spontaneous back-and-forth comments and lapses into Italian that make this version interesting. We also get a glimpse into Raisa’s personality at the end when she wants Grauer’s praise for her interview performance.



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

(Jeffrey McMillan author of the article)


RIP: German bass-baritone THEO ADAM died in Dresden at age 92 on 10 January 2019 (photos courtesy Charles Mintzer collection)

* Click here for his biography

* Click here to listen to one of his earliest recordings + click here for a recital of Russian opera arias

* Click here for a video interview


RIP : Argentinian basso buffo CARLOS FELLER (b. 1925) died on 21 December (photos courtesy Charles Mintzer)


NEW YEAR'S CONCERT : Click here for a live transmission of a concert the Polish countertenor Jakub Jozef ORLINSKI gave in Paris last month and with which he's touring all over Europe. !!!





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)



Breaking news :

RIP : German-Hungarian coloratura soprano SYLVIA GESZTY (b. 1934) died on 15th December in Stuttgart.

Click here for an interview + cllick here for her biography

Click here to listen to her in I Puritani (with nice variations)


RIP : Italian tenor GIANFRANCO CECCHELE passed away at age 80.

Click here for a unique and exclusive interview Jan Neckers had with the tenor + listen to the tenor in a rare live recording: singing a song by Marcello Del Monaco his teacher.


RIP : Egyptian tenor HASSAN KAMI died on 14th December in Cairo. Click here for his obituary + click here to listen to him in Tosca


RIP : American bass-baritone ANDREW FRIERSON died on 6th December. Click here to listen to him in Porgy and Bess



* 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.


* Italian tenor UMBERTO BORSO (b. 1923) died at age 95 in Rome on 26 November. (info courtesy Juan Dzazopulos, photos courtesy Charles Mintzer))

Click here to read Jan Neckers's article on the tenor's published biography + click here for his biography








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.




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


  • 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)



    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 !!



    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)