March issue

NOTE due to the urgent hospitalisation of the editor the site won't be updated until his return and full recovery

Breaking news :

RIP : Berlin born ANDRE PREVIN died in Manhattan at age 89 on 28th February.

Click here for his website

*click here to watch him conduct Arthur Rubinstein in Chopin's 2nd piano concerto

*click here to watch him accompany Kiri Te Kanawa in "it never was you" + click here to see Renée Fleming sing an aria from " A streetcar named desire"

* click here to listen to his conducting of Richard Strauss's four last songs with Anneliese Rothenberger


Carlos GOMES's LO SCHIAVO gets its first Italian performance, Click here for all info !!!!!

Listen to three great tenors singing the most famous aria from the opera : quando nascesti tu

*Click here to listen to Giacomo Lauri-Volpi + click here to listen to Caruso + Click here to listen Gigli



*click here to watch a concert performance of the piece from last year

*Click here to watch a staged performance from Belèm in 1999

(Assis Pacheco as Américo in Lo Schiavo)

Hungarian bass IVAN SARDI died in Berlin at age 88 on 23rd February.

Click here to listen to him in Confutatis from Verdi's Requiem


* French baritone JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BENOIT (b. 1925) aged 93 died on 21st February

Click here to listen to a radio programme featuring the baritone + click here to listen to him in French operette

* 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)



*German bass-baritone EKKEHARD WLASCHIHA died on 20th February.

Click here for his biography + click here for a long video interview illustrated with opera fragments (German only)

(in Salome at the Met and CD cover)

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


HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY VLADIMIR ATLANTOW !!!!! Click here for his biography

* Click here for a portrait (interview illustrated with rare videoclips, in Russian)

* Click here for a filmed Butterfly duet with Maria Bieshu + click here for his Don José




* American baritone MICHAEL DAVIDSON (b. 1935) died in Mannheim on 19 January.

Click here to listen to him singing

Born in Long Beach, California, Michael Davidson studied voice with the Bolshoi's Verdi baritone Vladimir Dubinsky (a student of Antonio Cotogni's), while Hugo Strelitzer and Herbert Weisskopf were his coaches. Michael gave his European debut at the Concertgebouw presenting a variety of Verdi arias, later he returned there to sing the title-roles in Leoncavallo's Edipo Re (a role concipated for Titta Ruffo) and Dallapiccola's Il Prigionero. Further engagements include the Royal Opera Stockholm, National Theater Mannheim, Royal Opera Antwerp, Vancouver Opera, the Staatsopern in Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and the Gran Teatro de Liceu. Additionally the operas in Cologne, Karlsruhe, Portland, Hannover, Wuppertal, Basel, Frankfurt, Nürnberg, Dortmund and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf-Duisburg. Among his stage-partners have been Luciano Pavarotti (Rigoletto), Mirella Freni (La Boheme), Raina Kabaivanska (Madama Butterfly), Lucia Popp (Der Rosenkavalier), Eva Marton (Tosca), Montserrat Caballe (Aida), Martina Arroyo (Aida), Tatjana Troyanos (Carmen), Nadine Connor (La Traviata), Maria Chiara (Otello), Anton Dermota (Palestrina), Ileana Cotrubas (Rosenkavalier), Fiorenza Cossotto (Il Trovatore), Agnes Baltsa (Rosenkavalier), Diana Damrau (Hänsel und Gretel, Rigoletto, Der Freischütz) and Waltraud Meier (Cardillac, Carmen, Il Trovatore, Der Rosenkavalier, Rigoletto). Michael Davidson has appeared in concerts with Mario del Monaco, Erika Köth and Renee Kollo and with such conductors as Giuseppe Patane, Alberto Erede, Kees Bakels, Hans Wallat, Horst Stein, Donald Runnicles and Nello Santi. Mr. Davidson also performed the King in Die Kluge under the direction of the composer Carl Orff. For his artistic accomplishments he has been awarded the title of Kammersänger. Michael Davidson retired from the stage in 1999 as Tonio (I Pagliacci), over 40 years after his debut. His son Robert is now an aspiring young baritone. Throughout his career Mr. Davidson's repertoire has had a particular focus on the works of Giuseppe Verdi, singing the lead baritone roles in Otello, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Forza del Destino, Il Trovatore, Luisa Miller, La Traviata, Falstaff, Aida, Attila, Don Carlo and I Masnadieri and the title-roles of Rigoletto, Macbeth, Simon Boccanegra, and Nabucco. He however also frequently portrayed such roles as the four demons (Les Contes D'Hoffmann), Scarpia (Tosca), Michele (Il Tabarro), Rance (La Fanciulla del West), Marcello (La Boheme), Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor), Tonio (I Pagliacci), Alfio (Cavalleria Rusticana), Barnaba (La Gioconda), Escamillo (Carmen), Amfortas (Parsifal), Wolfram (Tannhäuser), Faninal (Der Rosenkavalier), the High Priest of Dagon (Samson e Dalilah), Valentin (Faust), Dunois (Joan of Arc), Gerard (Andrea Chenier), Sebastiano (Tiefland), the count in Capriccio as well as the title-roles in Gianni Schicci, Edipo Re, Eugene Onegin, Guglielmo Tell and Cardillac.



* Austrian coloratura WILMA LIPP and Serbian baritone NIKOLA MITIC died on 26 January (info courtesy James Lockwood)

Click here for Lipp's biography + click here to listen to her in one of her best recordings

Click here to listen to a compilation of Mitic's singing !!



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

(Jeffrey McMillan author of the article)



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 !!! 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 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)