Notes & Reviews:
This June 1955 performance of Puccini's Tosca marked Renata Tebaldi's first appearance with the Covent Garden Company. The roles of Cavaradossi and Scarpia were filled by two of Italy's finest singers, Ferruccio Tagliavini (Cavaradossi) and Tito Gobbi (Scarpia). The day after the performance The Times wrote of Tebaldi's Tosca, 'with an imposing presence, a fine voice, and a sure judgment of dramatic gesture she made Tosca credible and sympathetic in phrases that were molded to exploit every intonation of her voice'. The same critic praised Tagliavini, 'his voice is generous... and his tone does not harden in forte passages'. Gobbi's Scarpia was described as 'an aristocrat corrupted by power'.
"With an imposing presence, a fine voice, and a sure judgement of dramatic gesture she made Tosca credible and sympathetic in phrases that were moulded to exploit every intonation of her voice" -The Times
One can only sigh at the thought of being able to choose between vintage 1955 performances by Callas and Tebaldi - surely a chore that any opera fan of today would love to tackle.
American Record Guide
Tebaldi... sings so beautifully... and with such power and richness... Molinari-Pradelli is a capable, well-seasoned conductor. The sound is fairly good in that the voices come through clearly...
Renata Tebaldi made her triumphant Covent Garden debut in June 1955 and her performance of the title role of Puccini's Tosca... the performance is, in certain respects, timeless. Tebaldi's only competitor as the leading soprano of the era was Maria Callas, whose superlative studio recording of Tosca is often voted by critics as the best opera recording of all time.
But Tebaldi is a force of nature, the music flowing out of her and her acting is quite moving, even on a recording. The immense applause after Vissi d'arte attests to the potency of her performance.
In sum, for Tebaldi fans, this recording is irresistible.
... the relatively newly-released 1962 Met performance with Corelli and Price is a roof-raiser and is also highly recommended.
BBC Music Magazine
Tebaldi's heady tone is equal to every one of the role's musical demands, while dramatically she proves an engaged and potent heroine...[Gobbi's Scarpia] as always is dramatically thrilling; though not the greatest voice for the brutal police chief, Gobbi's baritone arguably provides more theatrical frisson than any other exponent. Francesco Molinari-Pradelli is an idiomatic conductor of very respectable forces.
International Record Review
Tebaldi's voice is remarkably fresh and secure, with all five high Cs in place and offering no problems, the registers perfectly knit and the sound grand, beautiful and womanly...Gobbi, is, of course, sui generis. From his opening, snarling statement in church, through his lascivious, sneering 'Ebbene' and disgusting 'Tosca, finalmente mia' and even beyond, he terrifies.
Recording information: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (06/30/1955).
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Works DetailsPuccini, Giacomo : Tosca
- Performers: Howell Glynne (Bass); Ferruccio Tagliavini (Voice); Michael Langdon (Bass)
- Conductor: France Molinari-Pradelli
- Ensemble: Covent Garden Opera Orchestra
- Running Time: 5 min. 19 sec.
- Period Time: Post Romantic
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1900