The Art of Singing I/II

Golden Voices of the Century

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Christopher Lee — Narrator

Roberto Alagna — Tenor

Beniamino Gigli — Tenor

Thomas Hampson — Baritone

Mary Garden — Soprano

Géraldine Farrar — Soprano

Enrico Caruso — Tenor

Francesco Daddi — Tenor

Antonio Scotti — Baritone

Marcella Sembrich — Soprano

Gina Severina — Contralto

Giovanni Martinelli — Tenor

Magda Olivero — Soprano

Tito Schipa — Tenor

Giuseppe De Luca — Baritone

Luisa Tetrazzini — Soprano

Rosa Ponselle — Soprano

Richard Tauber — Tenor

Program notes

The Art of Singing, a treasure trove of priceless archival footage narrated by actor Christopher Lee, takes you on a whirlwind tour to meet the greatest singers of the last century—through their golden voices in opera's most beloved masterpieces, and through their lively personalities off stage. Marvel at the arias you love by Handel, Rossini, Donizetti, and Wagner in the voices of legendary opera stars, who also open up in front of the camera, sharing reflections on their art and memories of their storied careers.

In this first volume, the power of the human voice tugs at our heartstrings through astonishing recordings like Mary Garden's mellifluous Mélisande (Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, 1904) and tenor Beniamino Gigli's interpretation sul fiato (on the breath) of the dramatic aria "Ombra mai fù" from Handel's Serse. In the opera world, the vocal capabilities as well as the characters are larger than life: watch the dazzling Giuseppe De Luca bring an air of mischief to "Largo al factotum" from Rossini's Barber of Seville, while Lawrence Tibbett plays the toreador from Bizet's Carmen with undeniable charisma, no less potent with the passage of time, on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.

A closer look: featured composers

Further listening: featured works

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