This is without a doubt the Madama Butterfly to own above all others, though an earlier Decca recording with Renata Tebaldi
, Bergonzi again and Tullio Serafin conducting comes fairly close.
and Ettore Bastianini, with Tullio Serafin conducting, ripped my heart out in their Act III confrontation, while Mirella Freni reduced me to a mess during her death scene with Pavarotti and Karajan at the helm.
She died in 1977, the acclaimed La Divina, Prima Donna Absoluta, tormentor of Renata Tebaldi
, one-time mistress of Aristotle Onassis who rejected her to marry Jacqueline Kennedy, the fiery temperament of the gossip colu mns, but according to Galatopoulos, a shy and very private woman.
As a teenager, Strummer was electrified by "the most influential experience I can remember": the Boris Goldovsky Opera Company performed La boheme in the Winnipeg Playhouse Theatre, and he was amazed by "the size of those voices that carried so effortlessly." He also thrilled to European films in local movie theatres, where he heard the magic voices of Mirella Freni in La boheme and Renata Tebaldi
When he was seven, he got a spanking because he refused to go to church choir practice, where he was a leading boy soprano; he felt it was more important to stay home and listen to Renata Tebaldi
's La Traviata on the radio.
The same qualities are evident in the recorded Aidas of the 1930s of Giannina Arangi-Lombardi (a true drammatico d'agilita) and Elisabeth Rethberg, and in the Desdemonas of Meta Seinemeyer and, a generation later, Renata Tebaldi
One of the most fascinating Verdi DVDs is La Forza del Destino starring Renata Tebaldi
, Franco corelli, Ettore Bastianini and Boris christoff.
The lineup ranges from sopranos Regine Crespin, Victoria de los Angeles, Eileen Farrell, Anna Moffo, Birgit Nilsson, Roberta Peters, Leontyne Price, Joan Sutherland and Renata Tebaldi
to mezzos Giulietta Simionato and Rise Stevens, baritone Robert Merrill and Canadian-born bassbaritone George London.
As well as singing with Callas, he performed regularly with Birgit Nilsson, Leonie Rysanek, Hans Hotter, Paul Schoeffler, George London, Christa Ludwig, Mirella Freni, Renata Tebaldi
and Tito Gobbi.
A generation ago, Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi
partisans argued about whose diva was the more stupendous.