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Lebendige Vergangenheit - Lauri Volpi (Vol. 2)

Artist Giacomo Lauri - Volpi
Title Lebendige Vergangenheit - Lauri Volpi (Vol. 2)
Release Date 2006-08-16
Genre Classical > Choro
Copyright © Preiser Records
Country AUSTRIA

Promotion Text

Lebendige Vergangenheit

When Enrico Caruso died on 2 August 1921 at the height of his career, the whole world of music mourned the loss of the "king of tenors". That tragic event was mitigated to some extent in that an astonishing evolution was taking place in the Italian tenor category at precisely this time. Martinelli was at the peak of his ability; Benjamino Gigli was well on his way to becoming the ideal lyric tenor; Aureliano Pertile had launched his brilliant career; the marvelous Spanish threesome, Cortis-Fleta-Läzaro, was at the zenith of its powers, and names such as O'Sullivan, Taccani and Piccaluga are further evidence of an era that must be admired for its wealth of voices. Among the most important exponents of that fortunate tenor epoch is Giacomo Lauri Volpi. Born in 1894 not far from Rome, he first set out to be a lawyer and com­ pleted his studies in jurisprudence at the University of Rome. While still studying there he was accepted by the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, whose then president, Antonio Cotogni, became his singing teacher. Later he also had lessons from Enrico Rosati, Benjamino Gigli's teacher. When Italy enter d the war, Lauri Volpi was forced to suspend his training as a singer; he was conscripted into the army and for four years he saw action as a soldier at the front. Bu.t shortly after the war ended he was able to start his career. An audition brought him a contract from the Teatro Costanzi in Rome as of 1 January 1920, but his firstWhen Enrico Caruso died on 2 August 1921 at the height of his career, the whole world of music mourned the loss of the "king of tenors". That tragic event was mitigated to some extent in that an astonishing evolution was taking place in the Italian tenor category at precisely this time. Martinelli was at the peak of his ability; Benjamino Gigli was well on his way to becoming the ideal lyric tenor; Aureliano Pertile had launched his brilliant career; the marvelous Spanish threesome, Cortis-Fleta-Läzaro, was at the zenith of its powers, and names such as O'Sullivan, Taccani and Piccaluga are further evidence of an era that must be admired for its wealth of voices. Among the most important exponents of that fortunate tenor epoch is Giacomo Lauri Volpi. Born in 1894 not far from Rome, he first set out to be a lawyer and com­ pleted his studies in jurisprudence at the University of Rome. While still studying there he was accepted by the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, whose then president, Antonio Cotogni, became his singing teacher. Later he also had lessons from Enrico Rosati, Benjamino Gigli's teacher. When Italy enter d the war, Lauri Volpi was forced to suspend his training as a singer; he was conscripted into the army and for four years he saw action as a soldier at the front. Bu.t shortly after the war ended he was able to start his career. An audition brought him a contract from the Teatro Costanzi in Rome as of 1 January 1920, but his first public appearance had taken place several months earlier: on 2 September 1919 he sang the role of Arturo in Bellini's "I Puritani" at the Teatro Santa Rosa in Viterbo, calling himself Giacomo Rubini. A little later he appeared in the same theatre as the Duke in Verdi's "Rigoletto", this time under his real name. On 3 January 1920 he sang in Rome, with spectacular success, the role of Des Grieux in Massenet's "Manon"; his partner was the famous soprano Rosina Storchia. In May of that year, the Rome ensemble went on tour to South Americta, giving Lauri Volpi the chance to shine as Des Grieux, the Duke of Mantua and Count Almaviva. At this time a contract·with a recording firm, Fonotipia Company Milano, went into effect, upon which Lauri Volpi broke his contract with the Teatro Costanzi and returned to Italy. He then sang at several opera houses in Italy and Spain, but without any contractual commitments. In 1922 he made his first appearance at La Scala in Milan, but serious artistic differences between himself and Arturo Toscanini put paid to further engagements. Later those differences were resolved, and Lauri Volpi sang frequently at La Scala and elsewhere under Toscanini's baton. In the decade from_ 1923 to 1933 he was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera, scoring his greatest successes in Italian tenor roles. Memorable events of that period were the performances of Spontini's "La Vestale" (with Rosa Ponselle) and the Met premieres of "Turandot" (with Maria Jeritza) and "Luisa Miller". Lauri Volpi's last appearance at the Met was on 6 March 1933 in Bellini's "La Sonnambula". Again artistic differences were the reason for his leaving. From then on Lauri Volpi, who in the meantime had advanced to the ranks of the world elite, sang mostly in· Italy but also gave guest performances in South America, England, France, Germany, Austria and Hungary. In 1943 he went to live in Spain, where his art was especially highly esteemed. After the Second World War he returned to his Italian homeland, continuing his career with all his vocal powers intact and earning triumphant successes with his most famous roles, the Duke of Mantua and Manrico. In 1952 he received an enthusiastic welcome at the Wiesbaden Opera Festival, and in that year and the next he had sensational success in Rome and Florence as the partner of Maria Callas in "II Trovatore" and "I Puritani". Lauri Volpi's career lasted several years more, his voice losing nothing of its fasciriating luminosity. As a belcanto singer of the highest order, Giacomo Lauri Volpi has a place in the history of vocal art. His voice, to which a special vibrato gave an unmistakable coloration, had the greatest penetrating force though it was not expansively dimensioned. Of all the Italian tenors of his time, he was the most musically versatile. At the peak of his career he could sing such antithetical roles as Edgardo in "Lucia di Lammermoor" and Othello. His sublime vocal technique enabled him to interpret the difficult tenor roles in the old Italian belcanto operas by Spontini, Donizetti and Bellini with all their refinements in an ideal way. In this field, Lauri Volpi can only be compared with the most perfect belcanto artists, with Fernando De Lucia and Alessandro Bonei. His voice was of triumphant lustre, especially in the high and highest registers - up to high D. Lauri Volpi was also successful as a teacher and wrote a number of profound books on the art of singing.