Vesti la Giubba - I Pagliacci by Edward Johnson of the Met : 1915? & 1928.
Opera Administrator 1935-1950
In May 1935 Johnson succeeded Herbert Witherspoon as general manager of the Metropolitan. His regime of 15 years coincided with many unprecedented problems, among them increasing labour union demands, rising taxes, and the advent of World War II. The successes and failures of his tenure are chronicled fully in Irving Kolodin's monumental history of the Metropolitan; but no assessment, however brief, should overlook the fact that it was Johnson who introduced to the company such esteemed artists as Licia Albanese, Jussi Björling, Raoul Jobin, Robert Merrill, Zinka Milanov, Jan Peerce, Bidú Sayão, Eleanor Steber, Giuseppe di Stefano, Risë Stevens, Richard Tucker, Leonard Warren, and Ljuba Welitsch. During the Johnson years, too, Metropolitan Opera subscribers heard for the first time such masterworks as Gluck's Alceste, Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio, Britten's Peter Grimes, and Mussorgsky's Khovanschina.
Recordings by James B. McPherson:
Edward Johnson's recordings are few. The first 10 (which include excerpts from Andrea Chénier and Parsifal) were European Columbias generally supposed to have been made in Italy about 1915.(*) He made many 1919-28 for American Victor, mostly of trivial ballads of the moment, but also arias from Carmen, Pagliacci, La Bohème, and Fedora and (among his very best) 'If, with all your hearts' from Mendelssohn's Elijah, recorded in 1920. (A discography can be found in The Tenor of His Time.) In recent years, off-the-air transcriptions of complete performances of Pelléas, Peter Ibbetson, and Hanson's Merry Mount have received limited circulation. His recordings are reissued on Met Stars in the New World (MET 216CD, 1992), RCA/Met Singers, 100 Years (RCA Red Seat 09026-61580-2, 1984) and Great Voices of Canada, vol 2 (Analekta AN2 7802, 1993).A plaque commemorating Johnson's life and career has been mounted in Guelph, Ontario. In 1992 his archives were deposited at the University of Guelph Library.
Ruggiero Leoncavallo, 1858-1919
(*)note de balletamie: He recorded with Italian alias Edoardo di Giovanni as in that time was a bit rare for europeans to buy an Italian Opera aria by a non-italian tenor.