In seinem aktuellen Newsletter der holländischen Franco-Corelli-Gemeinde (FrancoCorelli.nl) weist der Vorsitzende und spiritus rector Réne Seghers auf zwei neue Bücher über den unvergessenen Tenor hin, eines davon vom Stimmenspezialisten Stefan Zucker, unvergesslich durch seinen Film über italienische Sänger und dto. Vorsitzender der amerikanischen Bel Canto Society. Im Folgenden die Details und Links. Über René Seghers haben wir ja vielfach im Zusammenhang mit seinen Veröffentlichungen holländischer Opern berichtet, so über Karel Miry und De Pauw. Nun also ein Auszug aus seinem Newsletter. G. H.
René Seghers: This serves to inform you of two Franco Corelli book releases, one brand new by the inimitable Stefan Zucker, the other a Georgian publication by Manana Homeriki! The latter we provide for free as direct pdf download. We also point your renewed attention to our two downloads, An Ardent Lesson and Guerrini’s Enea.
Stefan Zucker: Franco Corelli and A Revolution in Singing /René Seghers published a rather long review of Stefan Zucker’s first of three volumes dedicated to the genealogy of (mostly Italian) tenor singing from Domenico Donzelli to Plácido Domingo. Stefan Zucker is a household name in the world of opera collectors through his Bel Canto Society, which since (Seghers believes) the late 1980’s provided first videos and then also cd’s and dvd’s of historic telecasts with opera stars of the golden age up to the 1970s. Zucker has also been active as a singer and released at least one LP. Depending on one’s viewpoint, one may dub his singing and writing as either controversial or colorful. When bypassing some heated online discussions on details that unfortunately caught the bulk of attention, the book mostly deals with various aspects of (mainly Italian) tenor singing from Domenico Donzelli up to Plácido Domingo. Most of the singers included are discussed by means of transcripts from his Opera Fanatic broadcasts with Franco Corelli in the 1990s. These interviews on various techniques employed by the tenors included form the core of this book. Interspersed throughout is some more controversial innuendo of the type Zucker is known for. Apart from reviewing the contents of the book, we will also look into those discussions. Apart from my own review, we also published excerpts of various other reviews there. All this can be found in the book reviews section on Franco Corelli.nl. The first of Zucker’s three volumes is finally out, about 24 years after he first contemplated publishing a book on Corelli. Seghers remembers very well that his announcement of such a book on one of the Opera Fanatic broadcasts made him very curious, and it was only after he gave up waiting that he contacted Corelli himself in 1997, which then resulted in his own Corelli biography, Prince of Tenors. Stefan’s Franco Corelli and A Revolution in Singing is directly available from Bel Canto Society here or from Amazon.
Manana Homeriki: Franco Corelli the beautiful voice of 20th century/ Manana Homeriki herself published her Georgian language book in 2011. The language barrier and the unavailability in Europe resulted in me discovering the book only recently. She then provided Seghers with a copy, and I worked on a descriptive review based on her translated index and a summary of the chapters’ contents. The book is compiled from known sources from Marina Boagno to Prince of Tenors, and the books of Buljegin (Russian) and Landini (Italian), with added information that she found online. Intriguing is Homeriki’s personal involvement, which includes a chapter where she explains Corelli’s sensitiveness and his communicative gift from the gospel! Admittedly, I had to adjust to this idea, but in the context of her intentions and her motivation, this actually made sense. Rather than judging different viewpoints from my own cultural background, René Seghers decided to let himself be marveled by what Franco Corelli brought to different parts of the world than Europe or the USA. You can find the review and a free integral pdf version of the book here.
At the end of this newsletter, says René Seghers, he would like to point attention to the only two downloads that FrancoCorelli.nl currently offer. The first one concerns the 2CD length MP3 Download ‘An Ardent Lesson’. It deals with the beginnings of Corelli’s career, when he studied the technique of Arturo Melocchi. In the wake of writing Prince of Tenors, I was given a copy of a voice lesson that Arturo Melocchi gave to the tenor Gastone Limarilli, presumably around 1958. Melocchi teaches Limarilli some vocalizes and the interpretative finesses for ‘Celeste Aida’ and sections of Turandot. Among the latter is the famous passage ‘Ti voglio ardente d’amor’. Most tenors shun the optional high C there, but Corelli always sang it in performance. When Melocchi explains Limarilli how to sing it on stage, Limarilli tells him that he always sings the lower option. Melocchi then exclaims that this is ‘bruta’ (ugly). Even if you don’t speak Italian, you will be able to follow the sections of the lesson because the booklet has the tracks annotated in English. In addition, you find the rehearsed sections in full renditions by Limarilli, as well as by other Melocchi pupils, most notably Mario Del Monaco, Franco Corelli himself, and Melocchi’s last pupil, Robleto Merolla, who also reflects on Melocchi in a bonus track. splicing Franco’s Calaf renditions of the sections rehearsed in as a bonus, you can hear exactly on what anvil his interpretation was forged. ‘An Ardent Lesson’ comes with an elaborate, 34 page pdf booklet. The download is available here.
Corelli created the roles of Orfeo and Turno in Guerrini´s Enea in 1953. His two World Premiere performances of March 11 and 15 at the Rome opera were unfortunately not recorded. Therefore, no one had even the faintest idea about the music, until Prince of Tenors revealed the existence of a later recording of Guerrini’s Enea, dating back to January 1960. This recording has Renato Gavarini in Corelli’s part of King Turno of the Rutuli. It is this unique recording that we released, hoping to create further insight in Corelli’s early career, especially with respect to those roles that he sang, but that went unrecorded by him. You can find the article with MP3 samples here. Download the complete recording of Enea release here.