"Morte D'Otello" ("Niun mi tema") from Verdi's Otello is sung by Giovanni Zenatello. This Edison Diamond Disc #82571 was recorded on June 14, 1920. There was no Blue Amberol or Royal Purple Amberol cylinder version of this Zenatello solo.
Some watching this video might be able to discern that this Edison Diamond Disc phonograph---model 250---is in mint condition, as well it should be as I purchased it new, "in the crate." Even though surface noise is clearly evident, the disc itself
also was purchased "new" and has had few playings over the years. I know, the lid should have been closed to make the video.
Edison collectors will notice that the gold-plated reproducer is not the standard issue. In addtion to the stock issue, I also have an Edisonic and an Edison Dance reproducer for this
machine. You're listening to the Edison Dance reproducer.
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This aria, "The Death of Otello," is sung by the Moor just at the close of the opera. He has killed his beloved wife Desdemona and discovers too late that she was innocent of the accusation of wrong doing.
Torn by hopeless remorse and grief at what he has done, Otello gazes tenderly upon the face of his dead wife, sings and sobs this final aria then, drawing his dagger, stabs himself and dies embracing the wronged Desdemona.
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Zenatello, one of the greatest Otellos of all time, was born in Verona, Italy in 1876; he died in New York City in 1949. His early training and debut as Silvio in Pagliacci in 1899 were as
a BARITONE. In 1904 he sang Pinkerton in the world premiere of Madama Butterfly at La Scala.
He sang Otello for the first time in 1906, a role he was to repeat over FIVE HUNDRED TIMES! He was considered, along with Paoli, one of the greatest interpreters of this part --after Tamagno's death in 1905.
Zenatello lived and sang with the Spanish contralto Maria Gay. Sources differ as to whether they actually married. He left the stage in 1934 to open a singing studio (with Gay) and taught singers who later bacame famous.
Giovlanni Zenatello recorded for G&T, Fonotipia, Columbia, and EDISON. He appears on one Blue Amberol cylinder in an Aida duet with Maria Rappold. His electrics were His Masters Voice recordings, issued in the U.S. on the Victor label.