(*Note : Be sure to hear this with 480P settings and a pair of functioning stereo speakers or ear/headphones!)
The famed Italian tenor of 19th century, Fernando de Lucia (1860.10.11 ~ 1925.2.21.) sings the famous aria, "Recondita armonia", from the first act of Puccini's opera, Tosca. Recorded in 1903 for G&T in Millan, Italy. The present copy is a late 1930s or early 1940s special repressing made by RCA Victor, for the William Speckin's Historical Record Society.
De Lucia's style of singing, as George Bernard Shaw have noted in one of his musical reviews, is that of "artificial tenor"; one of the last genuine hand-me-down manner from the "Bel Canto" singing tradition that has no modern equivalent. One can sense a fluttery way of singing with excessive amount of rubato, limpid phrasing and portamento. It is very unusual to hear one of the most famous verismo arias in this manner, even though De Lucia achieved most of his fame with his effective portrayals of verismo operas on stage.
Since De Lucia's singing is quite unusual for modern listeners, it is quite difficult to pitch his records at correct speed. A lot of reissue LPs or CDs pitch him at totally wrong speed, usually at much faster speed than it should be, therefore distorting the tonal quality quite badly as well as exaggerating his vibrato too much. I have experimented with this record for quite a bit, and concluded that this record should be played at around 71.92rpm - the same speed for most of Caruso's first recordings of 1902.
Played on the Audio Technica ATLP-120 turntable with Shure M78S cartridge and custom-made 2.5mil Truncated Eliptical stylus. Despite the fact the quality of shellac (*one of the "Z" type shellac, reserved for Red Seal records) is far much superior to the original G&T or Victor pressings, it was obviously pressed with a defective original stamper that had a wavy surface and signs of corrosions and wear. I tried to reduce much of clicks and noises but the overall background noise is quite severe, although it gets better as the record proceeds. Also, one can sense a bit of cutting needle malfunction present on the recording itself. As with all the recent videos I have uploaded, I have applied a 10 miliseconds of delay on the right channel to give a semi-stereo effect.
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