THIS IS THE SUCCESSOR CHANNEL TO "liederoperagreats" WHICH WAS RECENTLY TERMINATED. Riccardo Stracciari--baritone 1925 =============== "Recently, I posted an article about my choices for the 10 best baritones of the 20th century. Absent from this list was Ricardo Stracciari (1875-1955). Stracciari was such a great singer that I am uncertain why I omitted him. He was born in Casalecchio di Reno and died in Rome. In between he sang at many of the worldâ€™s most important houses. He gave 96 performances with the Metropolitan Opera over just two seasons â€“ 1906-08. This was during his vocal prime. Why he disappeared from the companyâ€™s roster after 1908 is unknown to me.
Stracciariâ€™s middle and lower voice was dark and full with a virile and refulgent sound. At his peak, his high notes were astounding â€“ bright and rich. His best years coincided with a crowd of great baritones; nevertheless, he stood at its front. His sound was similar to that of Tita Ruffo who was just two years younger. Though he continued to sing until 1944, his prime was during the 20th centuryâ€™s first two decades. He also taught; among his pupils was Boris Christoff. His money ran out before he did, and he had to sell many of his costumes and props.
The following recordings show him at his best, which was close to as good as a baritone can get. They are all in Italian, irrespective of their original language. His two most celebrated roles were Figaro in Rossiniâ€™s Barber and as Rigoletto. He is said to have sung the former role about 1000 times and latter almost as many. Largo al factotum (Barber) Cortigiani vil razza dannata (Rigoletto)
Stracciari sang all the great Verdi roles; here are a few of his Verdi interpretations. Lo vedremo veglio audace and Oh de verdanni miei are from the second and third acts of Ernani respectively. Eri tu che macchiavi is from Un Ballo in Maschera and Credo in un dio crudel is from Otello. These Verdi excerpts show Stracciariâ€™s complete mastery of the Verdi style. Great Verdi baritones are as rare as an on time flight.
Of course, Stracciari sang the verismo roles that were contemporary to his career. These operas are not as generous to baritones as are those of Verdi. Tâ€™amo ben io is from the first act of Catalaniâ€™s La Wally. Buona ZazÃ del mio buon tempo is from Act 2 of Leoncavalloâ€™s ZazÃ . Finally, here is O sole mio. This quintessential Neapolitan song is usually sung by a tenor, but a baritone of this vocal heft can do it justice. Though no Northern Italian can bring all the fire needed by this and the other great songs from Naples.
Fortunately, Stracciari was widely recorded. Most of his recording are still available."; Neil Kurtzman
Watch videos with other singers performing Cruda funesta smania:
ENRICO Cruda ... funesta, smania Tu m' hai destata in petto! E troppo, è troppo orribile Questo fatal sospetto! Mi fa gelare e fremere! Mi si solleva il criu! Colma di tanto obbrobrio Chi suora mia nascéa! - Pria che d' amor si perfido A me svelarti rea Se ti colpisse un fulmine; Fora men rio dolor.
NORMANNO Pietoso al tuo decoro, Io fui con te crudel!
RAIMONDO La tua clemenza imploro. Tu lo smentisci, o ciel!
English Libretto or Translation:
ENRICO A cruel, deadly frenzy you have roused in my heart! Too, too horrible is this fatal suspicion! I freeze and tremble, and my hair stands on end, ah! etc. So shameful is she who was born my sister!
NORMANNO Cherishing your honour, I had to be cruel to you.
RAIMONDO (aside) Your clemency I implore; say that it is not so, oh heaven!
ENRICO Ah, rather than see you guilty of so perfidious a love, if you were struck by a thunderbolt, my grief would be less bitter, etc.