Lebendige Vergangenheit - Hipolito Lazaro

Artist Hipolito Lazaro
Title Lebendige Vergangenheit - Hipolito Lazaro
Release Date Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Genre Classical > Choro
Composers Arrigo Boito, Umberto Giordano, Friedrich von Flotow, Giacomo Puccini, Vincenzo Bellini, Charles Gounod, Giuseppe Verdi, Gaetano Donizetti, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Jules Massenet, Traditional
Songwriters Hipolito Lazaro, Hipolito Lazaro / Maria Barrientos
Copyright © Preiser Records

Promotion Text

Lebendige Vergangenheit

Since Manuel Garcia Spanish tenors have been highly esteemed all over the world. We do not have any recordings of Gayarre but from Aramburo on all of them have become immortal on record: Francisco Vinas, Jose Palet, Hipolito Lazaro, Miguel Fleta, Antonio Cortis,...ln Italy it seemed one day that all great tenors and coloratura sopranos were coming from Spain. On September 13th 1887 Hipolito Lazaro was born in Barcelona. His voice was discovered during military service and without ever having studied properly he debuted in 1910 at the Teatro Novidades in Barcelona as Fernando in "La favorita". After that he was wise enough to go to Milan where he studied for a short time with the tenor Ernesto Colli. His Italian debut took place in 1911 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome where Lazaro sang the Duke in "Rigoletto". In 1912 the tenor sang at London Coliseum under the name of Antonio Manuele. 1913 brought him to "La Scala" where he took part in the world premiere of Mascagni's "Parisina" (with Poli­ Randaccio and Galeffi). He also sang in the first performance of this work at the Coliseo in Buenos Aires in 1914 (with Pasini-Vitale and Sammarco). This paved the way for Lazaro to the Teatro Colon where in 1915 he made a sensational debut. In just one summer he was heard there in "La boheme" (with Carmen Melis and Galli-Curci as Musetta), "Tosca", "Rigoletto", "La Gioconda", "Cavalleria rusticana" and on May 18th 1915 in the first production in South America of "Francesca da Rimini" (with Rosa Raisa, Hina Spani, Perini, Giuseppe Danise and Paltrinieri). Lazaro made his first appearance at the MET on January 31st 1918 in "Rigoletto" (with Barrientos, Braslau, De Luca and Mardones). He stayed there for three seasons, singing a total of 34 performances as well as three concerts, and also went on tour. After a long absence from the repertoire the MET presented "I puritani" exclusively for Lazaro in February 1918 (with Barrientos, Perrini, De Luca and Mardones). On January 24th 1919 he took part in the MET's first production of Leroux's "La reine fiammette" (with Geraldine Farrar). Other operas he sang at that time were "La boheme", "Lucia di Lammermoor" and "Cavalleria rusticana". He returned to the Teatro Colon in 1922 with an entirely new repertory: "L'elisir d'amore", "Isabeau", "La Dolores" and the first production of "II piccolo Marat" in South America where Mascagni himself conducted (with Dalla Rizza and Parvis). Lazaro became Mascagni's favorite tenor; the composer had already chosen him for the world premiere at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on April 30th 1921 (also with Dalla Rizza and Mascagni conducting). In Madrid he appeared for the first time in 1922 where he received a decoration from King Alfonso XII. At the Scala on December 20th 1924 he was part of the cast (Melis, Franci and Badini) which created Giordano's "La cena delle beffe" under Toscanini's baton. Lazaro appeared regularly at the Liceo in Barcelona and sang a guest performance in Budapest in 1930. In the Thirties he performed mostly in Spain, not only opera but also zarazuelas. In 1936 we find him, for example, in Palma di Mallorca! During the Spanish Civil War he stayed in Barcelona; while Fleta openly supported Franco's regime Lazaro was the idol of the revolutionaries. Fora certain period he was even appointed director of the Liceo. As soon as Spain was at peace again Lazaro emigrated to Cuba where he had already been very successful in 1920 which, at that time, had made Caruso complain in a letter to his wife that all the Cuban critics seemed to care about was Lazaro. In 1940, after an absence of twenty years, he gave a completely unexpected concert in the New York Town Hall. His voice had stayed in admirably good shape and sounded just like twenty years ago. Lazaro later taught in Havanna where he made his last appearances in 1950 at the age of 63 in "Aida", "Rigoletto" and "Marina" by Arrieta. He then returned to Barcelona where he sang some more concerts and died there on May 14th 1974. From this generation of tenors Jose Palet nowadays is, unfortunately, almost forgotten. Of the three remaining, Cortis was the musically most gifted one (he was also a composer and conductor) and the best actor. Fleta's voice J1ad a wonderful warmth but was worn out all too soon. Lazaro had the most beautiful vocal potential and his ringing voice, like Lauri Volpi's, stayed in shape .almost until the end. He had an unrestricted high register including a powerful high D, his low register, on the other hand, was rather flat. Contrary to tenors like Tauber, Tagliavini and others Lazaro not only sang all the frightening high-C arias in original key, sometimes he even transposed them up since the top notes did not cause him any trouble (for example Raoul's aria from "Gli ugonotti"). At the beginning of his career Lazaro was often compared to Rubini and Gayarre. When Columbia published his first American records he was announced as a vocal miracle, "a voice that will be considered one of the greatest in music history by following generations". Thereupon Victor hurried to reissue the early ltalian HMV records, having before been available only on the economic black label, on the "Red Label" declaring that "lyric interpretation was more important than ringing top notes". Lazaro's performance as an actor seems to have been conventional and rather stiff. With all respect for his brilliant top one could object that his singing was a little monotonous and lacked refinement and contrast. He is at his best in roles with a high tessitura like "Guglielmo Tell", "Gliugonotti", "II trovatore", etc. Still, one must not forget that Mascagni preferred him to all other tenors. Lazaro's first recordings - five titles - were made in 1911 in Milan. From 1916 on he recorded for Columbia in New York (in "Vieni fra queste braccia" from "I puritani" he sings a high D) which were followed by acoustic recordings for Columbia in Spain. His first electric recordings were produced in Milan in 1926 including four sides with the big duet from "II piccolo Marat" (unfortunately not with Dalla Rizza but with Mafalda De Voltri). Until 1929 further records were produced in Italy and Spain; among his last ones is a complete recording of "Marina" with Mercedes Capsir and Jose Mardones.