Taking an extended break from youtube, will be back in about 2 months.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this excerpt from what has been called Magda Olivero's greatest ever performance of Adriana. The supporting cast isn't quite the caliber of that in the 1959 Naples production, but Olivero easily makes up for all this and then some.
*Note that because of youtube's time limit I had to cut a short segment out in the middle (at 6:50).
Live performance, Amsterdam, 6 November 1965.
Conducted by Fulvio Vernizzi.
Adriana Lecouvreur - Magda Olivero
Michonnet - Renato Capecchi
Maurizio - Ferrando Ferrari
Principessa di Bouillion - Mimi Aarden
This is Adriana's final duet with Maurizio that begins 'No, la mia fronte, che pensier non muta' and Adriana's death scene 'Ecco la luce'.
Listen for Olivero's diminuendo (at 7:30) on the A natural when she sings 'Ei mama!' I played this recording for my grandparents and they said, 'From this note alone, you could tell she was one of the greatest singers who ever lived.'
Trivia: Cilea considered Olivero the ideal voice for Adriana, saying to her: "You have gone beyond the notes. You have grasped what I felt in composing the opera and have entered into the spirit of Adriana as I have felt it." His dying wish was to have Olivero sing Adriana again. He died (in November 1950) a few months before she came out of retirement (in January 1951), but he was instrumental in convincing her to return to the stage. Thank God she did!
In an interview with Stefan Zucker, Olivero said this about singing Adriana's death scene: "the last act of Adriana produced such a strong and violent sensation within me that I actually suffered while singing it. In the death scene I felt as if I really were dying. Something inside me seemed to break."
*This autographed photo is of Olivero as Adriana. Not really a collector of singers' autographs myself, but a friend gave this to me as a gift a few months ago.
I'll post more excerpts from this performance when I return.