I'll start this love letter by saying that relative to her career, which
was really pretty lousy, she has more stuff on CD than ANYONE I KNOW,
so obviously, someone is listening to her.
The voice is like molten lava, in a granite secure technique, able to
do just about anything except float those ethereal pianissimi that some
require in the Great Verdi Roles. They're nice but I don't "must
have them". Hers was for me the most evocative and beautiful natural
*female* sound to come out of Italy, probably in this Century.
Oh no, she is not unremembered at all, she is truly loved and idolized
by many. Her Decca recital is at a certain level, defining in the *dramatic*
repertoire, though she does, for reasons unknown to me, eschew the cabalettas.
In fact, at one time she had a nickname (which a couple of you love),
Deleta Cabaletta, always spoken with the greatest of affection.Now,
lets do her recorded legacy.The Decca/London recital - If only for "O
Re dei Ceili" from Agnese di Hohenstauffen, it would be one of
the greatest of its genre. But it has wonderful scenes from Ernani,
Nabucco, Tosca etc. You have to own it, and play it. It is a core requirement
for graduation.Gioconda - Decca/London - Simionato, Del Monaco, Bastianini,
Siepi. She sings flat a little bit, but, not to worry, it is of a grandeur
that you rarely hear. They are all pretty good on this one.That's it
for her commercial output.Ernani - Del Monaco, Bastianini, Christoff.
You can't go wrong, though again there are a few top notes that come
in a little short.Forza del Destino - RAI - She and Christoff are formidable
and their scenes are sung with a sweep that only Callas and Rossi Lemeni
are able to muster. Again, some pitchiness at the very top, and I won't
mention that again, because it's always there to one degree or another,
but it doesn't much matter.Vespri Siciliani - Again with Christoff,
again magnificent, equalling the Callas effort, and without any trouble
at the top.Oberon - RAI - Defining! The two arias are as well sung and
as thrilling as you will ever hear. A must own recording.Norma - Rome
- 1958 Replacing Callas, she gives a magnificent performance, only tiring
slightly at the very end. Just to hear a voice of that size sit on that
music is a wonder.What else, the RAI recital with Chenier, Wally, Aida
etc shows her voice at its very best. Range, volume, legato, versatility,
I could go on and on.Ballo in Maschera - from Florence with Poggi, Barbieri,
Bastianini. Her "Ecco l'orrido campo" (sp) is simply the best
I've ever heard, climaxing in a dead on target top C that takes your
breath away. This is magnificence. I'll plug Mr. Rosen here, for, though
it is not in very good sound, I know it is as he received it from her,
and it is as good as you'll get. It's one of those performances that
really is worth listening to through poor sound.Don Carlo from Florence
with Barbieri (don't ask) Siepi, Bastianini and I forget the tenor.
Cerquetti's voice is at its loveliest in this performance and it is
an ideally placed role for her, all middle with a few excursions to
the top, all of which she negotiates magnificently.