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43534
Kristine
04-19-2014
07:57 AM ET (US)
Jeff,Steff,Bill,Thelma, Suzanne,Diane, Derek Mannering, Martino,Carusiello, Everybody on Jeff Rense-Mario Lanza Forum: Happy Easter and Blessed Passover ! Whatever happened to Victoria De Los Angeles ? I remember, when I was a child, my parents had opera recordings and she was on , one of them. I read there will be an Elvis Presley Festival in Canada and Priscilla Presley will attend it. She is a fan of Mario Lanza,as were Elvis and his mother, Gladys. Some have suggested a Mario Lanza Festival with Lanza impersonators. Sounds interesting. By the way, in June, the movie version of Broadway Musical "Jersey Boys" will be released. It's about lives and careers of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons(rock'n'roll, doo-wop group from the '60's). Clint Eastwood directed it. He has had exposure to music. He can play piano and was in movie version of "Paint Your Wagon". Though not known as a singer, he sang with his own voice, in the movie. He admitted he was no Howard Keel. Harve Presnell was also in the movie and sang "They Called The Wind Maria",pronounced Ma-ri-a. The movie wasn't a box office hit, though.
43533
Doug
04-18-2014
03:51 PM ET (US)
David: Of course Bing grabbed Jussi when he could. He was good box office. Unfortunatly, Jussi didn't share Bing's feelings about a singer's loyalty to the Met. He much preferred to sing concerts and recitals....not only was he then in full control of everything but it paid much better than singing at the Met. I don't know if Jussi was ever a full "member" of the Met organization as say, Merrill, Milanov, Warren or Tucker were. In the early 50's he was in much better health and possibly somewhat more cooperative and available. Since you cite the Farkas book, Page 351 mentions the 'Butterflys'. Jussi cabled Bing: Sorry, don't sing Butterfly". Recording Pinkerton was one thing...performing it was apparently out of the question for Jussi. One can read other acrimonious exchanges between Bing & JB on Pages 288 and 289. Some of the tales in that book concerning JB's health in his final years are truly frightening. Farkas suggests (on Pg. 323), that Bing was unaware of the health problems at that time and viewed Jussi's attempts at conserving his strength as just being uncooperative and difficult. In Bing's second book published in 1981, he writes, "I cannot say too much about Jussi Bjoerling except that his was a great voice. However, he abused his health and altogether led an undisciplined life. It was always a struggle to get him to come to any rehearsal." Twenty-one years after JB's death Bing still didn't seem to grasp how precarious Jussi's health was. Bing's first book details his troubles and struggles with DiStefano. A fun read!
Edited 04-18-2014 07:33 PM
43532
David Weaver
04-18-2014
02:18 PM ET (US)
Doug, according to the Andrew Farkas bio of Jussi Bjorling, he wanted fees higher than what Bing and the Met were used to paying, in addition to which the schedule was often in place by the time his agents responded to offers. But I don't think it was a case of Bing not liking Jussi - for fact is, whenever Jussi WAS available, Bing grabbed him. Which was unusual - Bing was a guy who usually demanded that if you sang at the Met, the Met was your first obligation. He fired Merrill once for blowing off the Met tour so that he could film the lamentable, "Aaron Slick from Punkin' Crick." He seemed to be very accomodating to Jussi.

I had not heard before about Bing offering Jussi "Butterfly" - I don't know that offer would be considered a "waste" or an insult - one of Jussi's most acclaimed recordings, just a year before he died, was "Madame Butterfly" with Victoria de los Angeles.

To be chosen to star in a Met opening night is an honor. I think it's an indication of Bing's regard for Jussi as a singer that he picked Jussi to star in the very first opening night of his very first season as head of the Met, and in a new production to boot - "Don Carlo" in 1950. Three years later, Jussi opened the season as Faust. In the decade of the 1950s, only two tenors did more opening nights - Del Monaco and Tucker, both of whom had three opening nights and in 1954 headlined a gala opening concert in which excerpts from three operas were presented (those two seem to have been the 1950s version of Pavarotti and Domingo at the Met).

My final observation is this: if Rudolf Bing thought Jussi Bjorling was "difficult and irresponsible" - Lord knows what he'd have thought of Mario Lanza. I always said a Lanza-Bing relationship would've made Lanza-Schary look like Tracy and Hepburn.
Edited 04-18-2014 02:21 PM
43531
David Weaver
04-18-2014
02:02 PM ET (US)
Thanks Ed for your good wishes. Same to you and your family and to everyone else this weekend.
43530
GARY TO VINCENT JAMES
04-18-2014
01:42 PM ET (US)
HI VINCENT,THANK YOU VERY MUCH.A BLESSED EASTER TO YOU AND EVERYONE ON THIS FORUM.BEST
43529
Doug
04-18-2014
09:11 AM ET (US)
As far as number of performances there, Bjoerling wasn't a big loss to the Met. In 1959/60 season he sang only 8 times between Nov. 16th and Dec. 22. For '60/61 season he was scheduled for only 12 performances between Oct 24 and Dec, 21. In '56/57 he sang at the Met only 5 times and in both '57/58 and 58/59 no performances there at all. Compare this to singers such as Tucker, Merrill and Warren who were at the Met pretty much all season. Bing didn't like him, of course, thinking him difficult and irresponsible. Had more people known how seriously ill JB was things might have been different. His being difficult and irresponsible was more an effort at self preservation than anything else. BTW.....Bing wanted him to sing two performances of Butterfly!! What a waste....Bing could be such an idiot. The big loss was to JB's fans.
43528
Ed
04-18-2014
07:30 AM ET (US)
David-thanks for the info on Corelli, either way without Bjorling and Warren it must have been chaotic. Wish you, Aina and the girls a Blessed Easter. Weather should be 60 on Sunday with lots of Sun?????
43527
David Weaver
04-18-2014
12:37 AM ET (US)
Ed, though the TROVATORE with the debuts of Corelli and Price was a huge event in the 1960-61 season, it was not the opener. That was NABUCCO on October 24, 1960, the first time in Met history they presented that particular opera. The production had originally been planned for Leonard Warren - but his sudden death on stage the previous March ended that. Cornell MacNeil played the role.

The TROVATORE with Corelli and Price took place three months after that. Price would get her first season opener in October 1961, as Minnie in GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST. Corelli's first season opener was the following year, October 1962, in the title role of ANDREA CHENIER.
43526
Ed
04-17-2014
03:29 PM ET (US)
While I must admit Corelli has one wonderful voice, to open the 1961 season at The Met following the loss of Bjorling in September of 1960 must have been one for the books as we say. Not much of a fan of Corelli here Bjorling will always be best for me.
43525
Dan Lawlor
04-17-2014
12:37 PM ET (US)
I once saw a production of Tosca at Proctor's in Schenectady by a travelling opera group. After the first act's tenor aria, the rendition of which left a great deal to be desired, there was polite applause...however, after the final tenor aria in the last act "E Lucevan le Stelle", the house was silent...rendering loudly a great deal more than booing..eh! I wondered if the tenor was saving himself, or if he just didn't have it...I don't know what he was saving himself for? He gets killed after that anyway...
43524
Ed
04-17-2014
09:17 AM ET (US)
Diane-yes I recall reading where Caruso was booed in Naples and later commented that he would only return to eat a good plate of spaghetti. I don't know what they were thinking when they had the best.
43523
vincentjamesdiplacido@gma
04-16-2014
01:49 PM ET (US)
To Gary, And everyone on Mario Lanza Forum, A very happy Easter to You all ,
43522
vincentjamesdiplacido@gma
04-16-2014
01:46 PM ET (US)
Hello Martino, Yes a couple of songs for you for Easter ,I am not sure abought sound quality copyed them on new Amp. Keeping my fingers crossed, Have a very happy and peaceful Easter Martino, { let me know !
43521
MATT MINZER
04-15-2014
05:40 AM ET (US)
FRED-YOU ARE CORECT. IT WAS MARIO SERINI AND NOT BOB MERRILL AT THE BROADCAST. I AM NOT HOME IN FLORIDA YET BUT HAVE THE MET PROGRAM FOR THAT PERFORMANCE AT HOME WITH DOZENS OF OTHERS. I WAS FORTUNATE TO ALSO SEE "TURANDOT" SOME HALF A DOZEN TIMES WITH CORELLI, NILSSON AND SEVERAL DIFFERENT SOPRANOS SINGING THE ROLE OF LIU. I WAS ALWAYS THRILLED TO SEE THIS CECIL BEATON PRODUCTION AND WATCH AND HEAR CORELLI AND NILSSON COMPETE WITH THEIR ENTENDED FULL VOICE SUPER HIGH NOTES. THEY REALLY DON'T HAVE ANY PEERS TODAY WHO CAN MATCH THEIR QUALITY OF SINGING. WHAT GREAT MEMORIES.

BEST,

MATT MINZER HEADING HOME.
43520
Fred Day
04-14-2014
08:29 PM ET (US)
The Trovatore broadcast of Feb 4, 1961 had Price & Corelli, but the baritone was Mario Sereni. (Merrill had sung in the debut performance of Jan 27th.) A month later, on March 4, Turandot was broadcast, with Nilsson, Corelli, & Moffo, after a long absence from the Met repertoire. Another smash success!! Nilsson and Corelli quickly became "The Toast of New York"!! Ciao.
43519
MATT MINZER
04-14-2014
08:00 PM ET (US)
OPERA LOVERS OF THE WORLD:

I WAS PERSONALLY AT THE 2ND PERFORMANCE OF "IL TROVATORE" STARRING CORELLI, PRICE AND MERRILL AND REMEMBER THE OVATIONS. I BELIEVE THAT THIS WAS A SATURDAY MATINEE AND MILTON CROSS WAS GUSHING OVER CORELLI'S GREAT PERFORMANCE. I RECENTLY HEARD THE BROADCAST ON SERIUS WITH THE RADIO FEATURES AND A FRIEND ALSO MADE ME C.D. COPIES OF THIS BROADCAST WHICH I RECORDED ON MY HONDA HARDRIVE. WHAT WONDERFUL SINGING.

MATT MINZER NEAR RICHMOND, VIRGINIA DRIVING HOMETO S.E. FLORIDA AND BEAUTIFUL WEATHER.
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