Saturday, September 5, 2015

Anna Moffo Box Set Is Best Thanksgiving Gift For Opera Fans

Fall Surprise: The late Anna Moffo will be celebrated
with new box set of RCA recordings
Special thanks to the blog oleconquistador for pointing out the newest box set release from Sony Classical: Anna Moffo - The Complete RCA Recital Recordings. Scheduled for an international release date of November 13, 2015, this 12-CD original jacket collection is welcome news for fans of the soprano. As oleconquistador outlines the tracklisting for each disc, there are some glaring omissions from her discography by the label. Most obvious is the complete Thais. Although controversial at the time, as many felt the soprano was past her prime, it is still a recording that should have been included here. Another rarity that has escaped inclusion is a disc featuring highlights of Halévy's La Juive featuring colleagues Richard Tucker and Martina Arroyo. Also missing from the collection are all of the Eurodisc recordings which fell under the Ariola label in Europe, which was an outlet of Bertelsmann. Ariola would go on to acquire RCA in 1983, and now all are owned by Sony. These included Die Schöne Galathée (composed by Suppé), Italian and French Opera Arias (conducted by Kurt Eichhorn), Toujours l'Amour (album of arias from famous operettas); Lucia di Lammermoor (her second recording of the work with conductor
Glamorous Beauty: Moffo on La Rondine LP cover
Carlo Felice Cillario); Die Csárdásfürstin (Kálmán); and Lieder Recital (featuring works of Shcubert, Schumann, and Brahms). M
any of these were released on CD by the Japanese market in 2006 and 2007. Two LPs were recorded with the tenor Rudolph Schock: True Love (famous melodies of Porter, Kern, Rogers, Bernstein, and more) and Bist du's, lachendes Glück (duets from German operettas). Neither have made their way to CD, nor are included in the new box set. Although RCA/Eurodisc has in the past released the complete operas Hänsel und Gretel (Humperdinck), Carmen (Bizet), Orfeo ed Euridice (Gluck), L'amore dei tre re (Montemezzi), Il Filosofo Di Campagna (Galuppi), Madama Butterfly (Puccini), La Rondine (Puccini),  Iphigenie in Aulis (Gluck),  La Bohème (Puccini), and La Traviata (Verdi), a remastering of the original tapes would have been welcome in this release. It should be noted her Luisa Miller, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Rigoletto recordings are remastered and will be available individually this fall.
Flirty Fun: Anna Moffo was known for her
smoky vocal and vivacious form 
The other missing studio items from the Sony collection include: 
Neapolitan Songs (with Radio-Orchester Stuttgart under conductor Bert Grund); Songs of her own composition (lyrics by Mario Lafranchi) with Billy Smith and his orchestra; La Serva Pedrona (opera by Pergolesi); Meine Stimme für Venedig (songs of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, with Giorgio Favaretto at the piano); Sakura (the soprano sings two Japanese songs - "Karatachi no hana" and "Sakura" - recorded for RCA and printed exclusively in limited edition for Japan); and some miscellaneous Christmas items have been scattered among several labels ("Joy to the World"; "Ave Maria"; "Silent Night"; and "O Bambino"). A disc titled A Song For You was released by the record label Bridge and featured works recorded in studio (Tracks: "Vilja" from The Merry Widow; "The Song Of Long Ago" from The Merry Widow; "Oh, For The Life Of An Actress" from Die Fledermaus; "Mein Herr Marquis" from Die Fliedermaus; "Baskets Of Treasure" from A Night In Venice; "Wishing On A Waltz" from A Night In Venice; "Romance" from The Desert Song; "The Sabre Song" from The Desert Song; "Indian Love Call" from Rose marie (duet with Richard Fredricks; "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" from
Opera Seductress: Playing the part of Massenet's Thais
Roberta; "Let's Begin" from Roberta (duet with Stanley Grover); "Bill" from Show Boat; "Italian Street Song" from Naughty Marietta; "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess) that seems as though the contents could have been licensed for this occasion. One last rarity that is from an Ariola recording titled Peter Alexander präsentiert Walt Disney Welt that includes guest appearances by Anna Moffo alongside Mireille Mathieu, Wencke Myhre and Freddy Quinn. Perhaps a supplemental box set will be produced with all the missing content. Until then, the world can enjoy several newly mastered versions of classic recordings to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the legendary soprano's passing. Pre-order your copy of the box set by clicking here. Read a description of the limited edition box set, and see covers of the missing recordings, after the jump.

"One of the brightest stars in the 20th-century operatic firmament, the Pennsylvania-born soprano Anna Moffo (1932–2006) enjoyed a meteoric rise in the 1950s and 1960s that saw her conquer all the major opera houses in Europe and America. After making her Metropolitan Opera début in 1959 as Violetta in La traviata, she went on to appear with the company in 200 performances of 21 roles over a total of 18 seasons, before finally singing her last complete performance – once again as Verdi’s Violetta – and retiring from the stage in 1976. Specially released to mark the 10th anniversary of Anna Moffo’s death (with booklet notes by Jürgen Kesting and full discographical details), Sony Classical’s new limited edition 12-CD original jackets collection finally brings together the 10 recital albums that Moffo recorded for RCA between 1960 and 1974, four of them making their first appearance on CD, newly mastered from the original analogue tapes using 24bit/96kHz technology. Mostly dating from Moffo’s youthful heyday in the early 1960s, these treasurable reissues include new remasterings of such jewels from her discography as her ravishing recording of Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne (coupled with equally sensuous versions of Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras No. 5 and Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise) under the direction of the legendary Leopold Stokowski and the fascinating double-album A Portrait of Manon, in which Moffo portrays the Abbé Prévost’s seductively immoral heroine in contrasting scenes from Massenet’s and Puccini’s rival settings of the story. Partnered there by the great Italian operatic tenors Giuseppe Di Stefano and Flaviano Labò, Moffo is also featured in two famous collaborations with the 1960s heart-throb tenor (later turned Las Vegas cabaret star) Sergio Franchi: The Dream Duet, an enticing selection of Broadway and operetta hits by Jerome Kern, Victor Herbert, Sigmund Romberg and others; and a starrily cast sequence of “great moments” from Johann Strauss’s flirtatious Viennese comedy Die Fledermaus, sung in a delightfully period English translation. Rounding off the collection are two compilation discs: an original 1973 album of Great Love Duets from Opera, featuring Moffo in tandem with such famous tenors as Richard Tucker, Carlo Bergonzi and Alfredo Kraus, and now newly extended to include five extra tracks by Verdi and Puccini; and a brand-new compilation of arias from Moffo’s various complete RCA opera recordings, showcasing her in some of her most impressive roles: as Eurydice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, as Serpina in Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, as an almost Callas-like heroine in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, as a notably warm-toned Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto and, of course, as Violetta in La traviata, the signature role with which she had taken her leave of the stage in 1976." [Source]