THIS PROJECT IS RESERVED ONLY FOR THE GREATEST! Italian mezzo-soprano Ebe Stignani here in this list? Please comment!
Ebe Stignani, Mezzo-soprano (1904, other sources 1905-1974)
Giuseppe Verdi - Don Carlo O don fatale, o don crudel (Recorded 1940)
My personal opinion: I like women with darkly tinted voices, but I don´t like singing with open vulgar chest voice, a dramatic effect most used by verismo trained mezzo-sopranos or contraltos. I´ve heard it many times by Fiorenza Cossotto (apart from that she was an amazing mezzo). You don´t find this on Stignani-recordings. It was a rich voice with volume and a soprano-like high register. Some say, they miss a personal view of the character she portrayed, but for me this is hair-splitting. I really like Grace Bumbrys Eboli, but just listen to Stignanis "ti maledico, ti maledico. " From 1929 to 1953 Ebe Stignani was a member of La Scala, acclaimed as its leading dramatic mezzo. With her rich and large tone she wasn´t an exponent for light Rossini roles, she was predestined for Verdi and some Wagner parts. The United States saw her only in San Francisco (1938 and 1948) and in Chicago, where her appearances included the famous 1955 Il trovatore with Maria Callas and Jussi Björling (against all hope no in-house-recording exists). A recital at Carnegie Hall in 1948 failed to produce another offer from the Metropolitan Opera (a 1939 contract was voided by the outbreak of WWII), but she sang with big success in South America as well as throughout Europe. The role she loved above all others was Glucks Orfeo. Stignani on Stignani: "I was given a magnificent gift, and in a way I am like a priestess, for I feel that it is my responsibility to keep the flame lit in the best possible manner... I am Stignani because of my voice". Please let me add again, in a project like this it never comes easy, to prefer one singer and put aside another. For me, Stignani only had one rival in the post war era, but I feel Stignani was more talented. But unfortunately, Ebe Stignani was very small and a little bit stubby, probably an obstruction for a great career in public.
Watch videos with other singers performing O don fatale o don crudel:
O don fatale, o don crudel che in suo furor mi fece il ciel! Tu che ci fai sì vane, altere, ti maledico, ti maledico,o mia beltà ! Versar, versar sol posso il pianto, speme non ho, soffrir dovrò! Il mio delitto è orribil tanto che cancellar mai nol potrò! Ti maledico,ti maledico o mia beltà , O mia Regina, io t'immolai al folle error di questo cor. Solo in un chiostro al mondo omai dovrò celar il mio dolor! Ohimè! Ohimè! O mia Regina, Oh ciel! E Carlo! a morte domani, gran Dio! a morte andar Ah, un dì mi resta, la speme mi arride, ah, sia benedetto il ciel! Lo salverò! Un dì mi resta, ah, sia benedetto il ciel! Ah! lo salverò!
English Libretto or Translation:
O terrible gift, o cruel gift that an irate heaven made me! You make us so vain and proud, I curse you, I curse you, o beauty! I can only shed my tears I've no hope,I can only suffer! My crime is so horrible that it will never fade! I curse you, I curse you, o beauty, O my Queen, I sacrificed you to the crazed passion of my heart. Only in a cloister I can now hide my suffering from the world! Alas! Alas! O my Queen, O God! Carlos! tomorrow he will die, vedrò!o great God! Tomorrow I'll see him die! Ah! I've one day more, there is hope, ah, Heaven be blessed! I'll save him! One more day, ah, Heaven be blessed! I'll save him!