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FRANCO CORELLI 1921
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Corelli ~ Di Stefano ~ Vickers - Telecasts from the Bell Telephone Hour 1962-1964
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These vivid color telecasts showcase tenor titans Franco Corelli, Giuseppe Di Stefano, and Jon Vickers - three of the opera world;s most distinctive voices and personalities. They are partnered by three equally distinguished prima donnas: Régine Crespin, Lisa Della Casa, and Giulietta Simionato. Performing some of opera;s greatest arias and duets, these singers evoke the romance and drama of the lyric theater as few have since.


GIUSEPPE DI STEFANO
Telecast of November 5, 1963
MANON (Massenet)
Je suis seul . . . Ah, fuyez, douce image (4:49)

FRANCO CORELLI
Telecast of March 16, 1962
TOSCA (Puccini)
Vissi d´arte (3:06)
E lucevan le stelle (2:45)
Amaro sol per te (4:48)
with Lisa Della Casa, soprano

Telecast of March 24, 1964
UN BALLO IN MASCHERA (Verdi) Teco io sto! (9:02)
with Régine Crespin, soprano

JON VICKERS
Telecast of May 5, 1964
AIDA (Verdi) abborrita rivale a me sfuggia (8:53)
with Giulietta Simionato, mezzo-soprano

The Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra conducted by Donald Vorhees

A Production of Henry Jaffe Enterprises, Inc.
©2000 Jaffe Partners Limited Partnership (All Rights Reserved)
Originally produced for the Bell Telephone Hour television series

35 minutes, USA, 1962/1963/1964, Color
Packaging & Design ©2000 Video Artists International

Corelli's Favorite Corelli.

Aïda, Carmen, Trovatore, Cavalleria, Turandot, Requiem (Verdi),Granada, Gioconda. 38m. Color

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This is the singing for which I want to be remembered.Franco Corelli

One of Corelli`s trademarks is diminuendos on high notes. At the end of Celeste Aïda he approaches the B-flat with a tiny scoop from the F below.I did that to keep my throat open, he says. On the B-flat itself he surpasses himself, attacking full voice then making a very gradual, protracted diminuendo without changing to a fundamentally different quality of tone.
Corelli performed his debut role, José, more than any other and sometimes says it was his favorite. (On other occasions he cites Rodolfo and Chénier.) In La fleur he gives us the lyrical side of the character, beginning the aria softly but letting the final B-flat peal forth, in accordance not with the score but Italian tradition.
In Ah! sì, ben mio he sings with excellent continuity of dynamics. His voice gleams on the B-flat although, like nearly everyone else, he omits the two trills. In Di quella pira he gives more than one spinal chill. His high Cs ring out and he holds the second one a long time. (He doesn`t transpose here but once explained to me, I always did in complete performances, to feel more at ease.)
Corelli was born for Turiddu. In Addio alla madre his voice is especially brilliant, full of core, punch and fervor. I don`t think of Corelli as a plaintive singer, yet at the end he`s quite affecting.
At the beginning of Nessun dorma he finds an almost bass-like quality for the low Ds and is blazing in the climax. He wears a colorful red costume, quite unlike the one he wore at the Met.
This Ingemisco is one of the two best things I ever did. (The other is my recording of Ombra mai fù), says Corelli. His voice has lots of squillo (ring or ping) and yet is sweet, lovely in the quiet sections, fresh-sounding, flowing, youthful. He does a lot of soft singing. You wouldn`t think from this selection that he used a lowered-larynx technique, where such qualities tend to be sacrificed on the altar of power. The B-flats are very brilliant; he`s quite thrilling on the last one and yet full-bodied on the middle-voice E-flat immediately following it.
When he was voted Favorite Tenor of the Century, he remarked that he was lucky the world had begun to forget Gigli. Corelli feels, though, that his singing of this piece can bear comparison with anyone elses.
Granada, to me, is vulgar, but Corelli sounds terrific in it and interpolates a ringing C at the end.
He sings Cielo e mar heavily, darkening the Italian vowel so that altar sounds like altawr. His tone quality is fatter. Unlike everyone else who comes to mind, he forgoes the breath before the first B-flat (at al bacio).
Corelli in Concert

(1971). Venturi, cond. Rigoletto, Chénier, Africana, Bohème, Fanciulla, Cid + songs. 51m. Color

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Today we speak of the Three Tenors, but 25 years ago there was only one tenorFranco Corelli. Since he retired from the stage, there has been no adequate Radamès, Manrico or Andrea Chénier. This recital was taped in color in 1971, with Mr. Corelli in marvelous form. Arias from a half-dozen operas are paired with a handful of Neapolitan songs. A major souvenir of a giant singer.

On this tape Franco is very much himself. He sings to the audience as he sings to me in his living room with the same gestures and mannerisms. And they love it! He flings himself into the encores with wild abandon. Gives spinal chills. The most personality of any Corelli video.

If you are a Corelli fan you will find this video indispensable. Many of his fans women, in particular say it is their favorite of all his tapes.
LA FORZA DEL DESTINO
LA FORZA D'AMOR PATERNO
Musica de GIUSEPPE VERDI
NAPOLES , 15/3/1958
Registraccion del vivo
LEONORA RENATA TEBALDI
DON CARLO ETTORE BASTIANINI
DON ALVARO FRANCO CORELLI
PREZIOSILLA ORALIA DOMINGUEZ
PADRE GUARDIANO BORIS CHRISTOFF
MASTRO TRABUCO MARIANO CARUSO
CURRA ANNA DI STASIO
FRA MELITONE RENATO CAPECCHI
IL MARCHESE DI CALATRAVA GIORGIO ALGORTA
CORO DEL TEATRO SAN CARLO DE NAPOLES
Maestro del coro MICHELE LAURO
ORCHESTRA DEL TEATRO SAN CARLO DI NAPOLI
DIRECTOR:FRANCESCO MOLINARI PRADELLI
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This Video Should Come With a Warning Label.
Beware - once you have seen this performance of Forza Del Destino, you will never, never be satisfied with any other version. This is, simply, the best of the best. Once you get past the absolutely hilarious stage sets and Franco Corelli's hairnet, you will be completely mesmerized by this Forza. There will never be singers like this again. I would advise listening to it (just turn off the TV picture) at least once a week for the rest of your life. I have the CD as well, and prefer the sound on the video. Each of the stars is unsurpassed in this performance but Corelli's Alvaro (to me at least) is what brings it all together.) All of Corelli's Forza's (indeed all of his singing) is superb, but this is the jewel in his crown. The only reason to take one tiny point from one star is that the "sleale" scene is omitted.
The Best Performance Ever Existing on the Video.
This is really unbelievable and incredable what is going on on this video tape. It's not just names that really matters. What matters is how these outstanding singers are performing and acting. I don't know to whom address at first. I guess, I start with Renata Tebaldi. She was known as Callas's greatest rival and this performance explains it why. As dramatic soprano, Leonora's role siuts to Tebaldi's voice to perfection. The only other soprano who can be compared to Tebaldi is Leontyne Price. Nobody gets even closer to these two. But Tebaldi has even advantage over Price: she is defenitely better in duets than Price used to be. When I've been watching and listening to the duet from the first act, tears came out from my eyes. Only one phrase: "Alvaro, Io t'amo" is sung with such impression and with such sadness in eyes and in voice that it's truly difficult to discribe in words. The second act duet with Christoff Tebaldi is really like an angle searching for the place of God. These is incredable. Franco Corelli...what can I say? From the first notes as he appears: "A per sempre..." in the first act, it is clear that he would triumph that night and he did. His voice is incredable and here Franco is at his peak. So brilliant at the high notes and what a perfect performance of "La vita il ferno..." in the second act. Ettore Bastianini is my favourite baritone forever and here his is splendid, his voice is full, his singing and acting is perfect. And he never falls behind in the duets with Franco Corelli. Boris Christoff - I've never heard such a strong bass performance in my life. Duet with Leonora and then his "Maledizione" is terryfing and makes you cry once again. I can review this video forever. this is top class, must have and really the best opera performance ever existing on the video tape. I have many recordings. None is even closer to this. This recording made me love "La forza" even more than I loved it.
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"Among the irresistible treasures in Great Moments are a dazzling 'O luce di quest anima' with a youthful Beverly Sills, Maria Callas wonderfully poignant 'Vissi d´arte' and a rather competitive 'Mira, O Norma' with Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne. The program also contains the only performance footage I know of with the inimitable Eileen Farrell ('Un bel di' and a brilliant, stand-and-deliver 'Pace, pace, mio dio'). If you augment these with Leontyne Price, Roberta Peters, Robert Merrill, Anna Moffo, Richard Tucker, Birgit Nilsson, Jan Peerce, Lily Pons, Renata Tebaldi, Franco Corelli, Dorothy Kirsten and two further scenes with Joan Sutherland (including a spectacular 'Quando rapita' from Lucia), you have quite an operatic document indeed! This is the complete collection, not the truncated version offered by PBS."

Eric Myers, reviewing in Opera News

"The TV variety show is as extinct as the pterodactyl, but there was a time, thirty years ago, when Ed Sullivan ruled the Sunday-night prime-time lineup. In between his acrobats and stand-up comics were some of the biggest stars of the Metropolitan Opera. This new video gives us a sampling of these singers, and there´s more glamour, guts and style here than in all eight hours of the Levine gala.
"Fashion and hairdo fanatics will have a field day with this tape, which draws mainly from shows of the late sixties and early seventies. There´s enough eyeshadow and pink lipstick for a cross-dressers convention, and Anna Moffo´s towering, pneumatic bouffant seems in imminent danger of explosion. Earlier footage from the show´s black-and-white era includes a past-her-vocal-prime Lily Pons doing the polonaise from Mignon, plus two Eileen Farrell appearances a thrilling 'Un bel dì,' which she sings in a frumpy house dress while wearing a wristwatch, and 'Pace, mio Dio,' delivered by remote from the amphitheater in Spoleto, Italy, with an unidentified Thomas Schippers accompanying at the piano.
"Robert Merrill´s 'Largo al factotum' is elegantly hammy, and he is paired with an impassioned Roberta Peters for the second-act Traviata duet. Jan Peerce, nearing the end of his career, joins him for the final Carlo-Alvaro duet from Forza, and a lot of howling goes on between them.
"Leontyne Price stands and delivers a 'Vissi d´arte' so ravishing that she doesn´t need to move a muscle. A fresh-voiced Beverly Sills tosses off the fioriture of 'O luce di quest anima' as easily as if she were merely breathing. Birgit Nilsson punches out 'Pace, mio Dio' with her trademark vocal heft and stagewise economy of gesture. Maria Callas, vocally steady but unflatteringly filmed, does 'Vissi d´arte' in costume on a makeshift set. Richard Tucker gives 110 percent in 'Vesti la giubba,' and Franco Corelli demonstrates star charisma in duets with a nervous Dorothy Kirsten and an edgy-toned but determined Renata Tebaldi. Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne work pure magic in 'Mira, o Norma.' "
 
Tosca

Corelli and the voices of Caniglia and Guelfi; De Fabritiis; Rome Opera Chor. & Orch.; Gallone, dir. In Italian, with English narration. (1956). 112m. Color
The film that made Corelli a star

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This is the Cavaradossi of post-World War II opera and, as such, a performance not to be missed.
If ever an opera had the makings of a crackerjack film, Tosca is it. The tersely constructed libretto has the purposeful compression of a cinematic thriller, while the action transpires in a series of grand Roman settings through which the characters skulk and conspire. Though this 1956 affair doesn´t wholly cash in on Tosca´s cinematic potential, it passes two hours very entertainingly. It´s certainly more fluent than many comparable syntheses of opera and film that emerged from Italy in the 1950s. Some of these were the handiwork of Carmine Gallone (1886-1973), who helms this Tosca and whose career displayed survival skills even Talleyrand might envy. A veteran of the silent era, Gallone emerged as one of the prominent directors of the white telephone era of Italian filmmaking under Mussolini. He directed the Beniamino Gigli vehicle Solo per te (and its German-language version, Mutterlied) and earned himself permanent infamy with his Scipione l´Africano (1937). A cinematic panegyric to Mussolini´s imperial ambitions in Africa (and with a screenplay allegedly touched up by Il Duce himself), Scipione´s wristwatch-wearing Roman senators and papier-mâché elephants have become classic filmic solecisms.
After World War II, Gallone rehabilitated himself with a series of adaptations of Giovanni Guareschi´s Don Camillo books. He also made movie versions of famous operas, including La forza del destino [available through our full catalog] and Rigoletto, both with Tito Gobbi. Ironically, one of his precursors to this Tosca was a 1946 flick entitled E avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma. Gallone would eventually shoot approximately ninety feature films, the last in 1963.
The action plays out in large, lavish sets, which to facilitate Giuseppe Rotunno´s deep-focus photography are flooded with light, giving the proceedings that hothouse look familiar from the early days of Cinemascope, before the aesthetic challenges of the medium had really been cracked. Gallone´s direction favors lengthy takes and a roving camera, with little cross-cutting and rarely anything closer than a waist-shot. This doesn´t always do the actors a favor, as they sometimes find themselves stranded in long shots (both in distance and duration) with insufficient direction, lending the proceedings a seriocomic awkwardness.
That said, it must be acknowledged that Gallone generally handles the action in a basically sensible way. There is little or nothing that seems just plain idiotic (as opposed to any of Franco Zeffirelli´s filmed-opera imbecilities). The one place where Gallone just plain falls down on the job is the Te Deum, where he fails to keep tabs on Scarpia, concentrating his visuals on a sheepish crowd of extras who form a procession of school-play tentativeness. There are some passing foibles, as when a couple of altar boys are shown lounging about during Cavaradossi and Tosca´s ostensibly intimate encounter in act 1. The diva favors the camera with an Oops! take when she finds the knife, and Scarpia isn´t stabbed near any particularly vital organ. After a beautiful visual treatment of the shepherd boy´s vignette, set amid old Roman ruins in a beautiful dawnscape, the action shifts to a lamentably obvious soundstage evocation of the Castel Sant´Angelo (complete with painted backcloth), and the opera´s finale looks no different than any stage production you half expect a swag curtain to drop.
Not all cinematic opportunities are missed, though. At the very start, we are shown Angelotti descending the Castel Sant´Angelo ramparts, and Gallone vouchsafes us a good, long look at the workings of Scarpia´s torture chamber. Scarpia´s henchmen are a forbidding bunch, with a Spoletta who´s a dead ringer for Franz Liszt. The courtly gavotte in act 2 gets extended play treatment, presumably to justify the large set and numerous supernumeraries involved. All that´s missing is battle footage from Marengo, but Gallone generally keeps the focus of his drama where Puccini did´squarely on the three protagonists.
No question the star is Franco Corelli, a dashing, playful Mario, as handsome as the contemporaneous Rock Hudson and only minimally stagy in his acting. He´s attentive to his leading lady, feigns indifference to Scarpia´s interrogatories wonderfully well, and conveys a moving, last-second premonition of death. Better still, Corelli´s voice rings out with a freedom, clarity, and brilliance that are sorely missed today. Recondita armonia is sung with smooth, rich tone and graceful turns of phrase. One can forgive him small liberties here and there, or an overgenerosity of forte, in exchange for singing like this. When the film was released in America, one critic scolded Corelli for a Vittoria! that could easily be heard clear to Marengo. So it could, but that´s part of the fun, especially when voiced in such lusty tones as these (Corelli looks pleased as punch, as well he might be). The recitative preceding E lucevan le stelle has ambrosial tenderness, and the aria itself is sung in rubicund tones and with plangent, stylish phrasing. Corelli delivers a master class in Puccini style, with the passion in his singing, not in a superimposed vehemence. Basically, this is the Cavaradossi of post-World War II opera and, as such, a performance not to be missed.
While we get to hear and see Corelli, his costars come in duplicate. Maria Caniglia and Giangiacomo Guelfi supply the voices of Tosca and Scarpia, while Franca Duval and Afro Poli mime for the camera. The matronly, unsteady tone of Caniglia´s offstage Mario! doesn´t augur favorably, but she quickly proves herself a first-class technician, and Caniglia´s inflections are those of a master. Her voice can be harsh at forte, giving way to some hooting in Tosca´s moments of distress, and her B-flat is wiry. However, she can still float a piano with the best of them, and Vissi d´arte is spun out splendidly. The soprano is always communicating, limning a character, as in her gripping recapitulation of Scarpia´s murder. Her visual counterpart, Duval, is not so adept at nuance. In fact, she´s an extraordinarily laid-back Tosca, whose stately return to Sant´Andrea della Valle in act 1 belies the score´s agitation. Is she even hearing the music? Duval´s certainly oblivious to the little behavioral clues embedded in its fabric. Her Tosca is more calculating than impulsive, one whose physical expression doesn´t measure up to that of Caniglia´s singing. Looking like a hybrid of Lollobrigida and Streisand, with her full, sensual lips and long, elegantly tapered nose, Duval´s easy enough on the eyes. Yet, when recoiling from Scarpia with an Oh, Dio! she could be just complaining of indigestion. Caniglia´s vocalism suggests a tougher adversary, particularly during the murder (Avanti a lei tremava tutta Roma!)
Tosca´s would-be seducer, on the other hand, ravishes her like he really means business. The split performance of Poli and Guelfi plays as one. The character doesn´t get off to a good start, ambling downstage in unmenacing fashion. If Poli pitches his reactions to the balcony, he has craggy features, leonine eyebrows, and a good line in baleful glares. As for Guelfi, he rolls his voice around Scarpia´s phrases with relish and intent, his voice taking on a tenorish sheen up top.
Vito de Taranto´s Sacristan is standard buffo issue, here outfitted with a limp as well as a tic. The bass´s plump tonal pudding is more voice than this part usually gets, though. The Angelotti, though basically handsome of aspect and voice, is pretty stiff at both singing and acting. The uncredited shepherd is quite fine, the chorus quite dreadful.
Though a little careless of detail (and working with an orchestra that´s scarcely top-notch), Oliviero De Fabritiis offers an object lesson in how Tosca should go. He´s alert and responsive to the nuances of the score. For instance, the Sacristan´s entrance has a wonted, sprightly lilt, while the love duet is paced with sensuous flexibility, both of phrasing and pulsation.
If you fancy Tosca-as-a-Movie, this is the version to obtain. The more high-tech, gimmicky live, on location telecast on Teldec isn´t much more acute dramaturgically. As for its protagonists (Malfitano, Raimondi, and an aging Domingo), they´re not a patch on Caniglia, Guelfi, and Corelli at his youthful finest
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Puccini's famous opera gets a royal treatment, a few million dollars worth of it, in costumes and sets for this 1960 cinematic production. Although this is filmed opera performed on a stage, the singing and the performance, as well as the visuals, are excellent. Floria Tosca (sung by Maria Caniglia, performed by Franca Duval) has fallen in love with Mario (Franco Corelli), an artist who helped Floria's brother when he needed to escape the evil clutches of Scarpia (Afro Poli), the nasty local police chief. Scarpia gets his revenge -- and Floria -- when he arrests Mario and is willing to release him only on the condition that Floria complies with his amorous demands.
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Franco Corelli at His Best!!
My mother and I just love Franco and this opera in which he stars is beautiful and his voice is wonderful. He's the greatest tenor that ever was in many people's opionions. Not only is his performance moving but the other players who star with him are great too....and the music is very good. I've been getting this video out of our local library a couple times a month for the last year or more just because we love it so much and love Franco so much. Now we want a copy of our own! We also own other operas he stars in, one of which is Tosca. And a few other concert appearances, one of which, was a joyfully received concert filmed in 1973 in Japan when he was 50, yet still in excellent form. God bless Franco Corelli, his beautiful face, elegant yet masculine acting and of course his most superb voice will live on forever! Even though this video is in black and white, it's still the best Franco ever did as captured on camera.
Renata Tebaldi & Franco Corelli (1959-1963)
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"The Voice of Firestone" brought the world's greatest opera singers into the homes of music lovers through their innovative telecasts. This series offers many opera lovers their first opportunity to see some of the century's most renowned artists in actual performance. In this program, Renata Tebaldi and Franco Corelli, two of the century's greatest Italian singers, team up to sing the music of Mascagni, Puccini, and more.
Great Stars of Opera (1960-1966)
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The Bell Telephone Hour was a series of television specials which ran from 1960 to 1966 and showcased some of the biggest talents in contemporary opera. The best performances from these telecasts have been compiled onto this one spectacular video release, which features topnotch singing from the likes of divas including Anna Moffo, Joan Sutherland, and Leontyne Price, plus "Carusos" including Richard Tucker, Guiseppe Di Stefano, and Franco Corelli.
The Great Tenors: Classic Performances 1950-1963 (1950-1963)
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A compilation of classic performances from the greatest tenors to appear on The Voice of Firestone TV series from television's golden age, including great performances from the top stars of the era, including Jussi Bjoerling singing the Flower Song from "Carmen", Lauritz Melchior singing from Wagner's "Lohengrin", Richard Tucker singing Puccini, and more.