In RA format
| Claudio Villa sings||L'amico Fritz: Tutto tace, with Magda Olivero
The Amico Fritz recording requires an explanation
maybe... Of course it is evident, also from this recording, that he was
not an opera tenor, he never pretended to be one,
and he's giving his best to comply here. He is reported to have always dreamed of being a "true"
tenor, but obviously he was perfectly aware that his voice was not sufficient. This particular
recording is very interesting; it's from a live TV show, I suppose around 1960, i.e. from the
pre-playback era. Villa came to the show to sing one of his pop songs, but when he wanted to
start, the TV host would start a conversation with him... he had heard that he, Villa, had been
studying the Duetto delle ciliegie with nobody less than Magda Olivero? Yes, Villa admits, they
have been working together privately. The host continues to speak about it, Villa is somehow
embarassed, wants to go on with his pop song - but then, totally unexpected for him,
Magda Olivero enters the show stage, they are bringing the Amico Fritz score for Villa,
and force him (indeed, he was very, very reluctant about it) to sing Mascagni instead of pop.
The result is... well, he is certainly no Schipa, no Gigli and no Bonisolli
(who did the best Tutto tace recordings IMO)... but there are actually operatic tenors
who did it worse than he does, I think.
In RA format
Claudio Villa's live recording of Nessun dorma is completely nuts, the accompaniment being the apotheosis
of bad taste; and to make things worse, they thought the aria as written by Puccini wasn't long enough, and corrected the composer's
"mistake"... Villa's singing, though, while clearly past the prime and far from being perfect, is not
that bad and certainly incomparably better than what crossover tenors are typically capable of (just think of Carrisi or, shudder to mention him, Potts).
I wish to thank Daniele Godor for the recordings (Pagliacci, Tosca).
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the recordings (Turandot, Amico Fritz) and the notes on the interesting TV event and the Nessun dorma recording.