Label: BONGIOVANNI MID 1207
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GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813 – 1901): Aroldo: “Sotto il sol di Siria ardente” (Firenze, 1953); Attila: “Qui, qui sostiamo… Ella in poter del barbaro”; “Qui del convegno… Che non avrebbe il misers” (Venezia, 1951); Simon Boccanegra: “O inferno… Cielo pietoso rendila”; Il Trovatore: “Di quella pira” (studio recordings ca. 1953); “Ah, sì, ben mio”; “Gioie di casto amor… Di quella pira” (with Maria Callas, Milan 1953); Aida: “Celeste Aida”; La Forza del Destino: “O tu che in seno agli angeli” (Naples, 1954); VINCENZO BELLINI (1801 – 1835): Norma: “Meco all’altar di Venere… Me protegge, me difende” (studio recording ca. 1953)
GIUSEPPE CAMPORA – RECITAL (Studio Recordings 1952 – 1955); GIUSEPPE VERDI: Rigoletto: “Questa o quella”; Aida: “Celesta Aida”; La Traviata: “Parigi, o cara”; GIACOMO PUCCINI (1858 – 1924): Madama Butterfly: “Adesso voi… Vogliatemi bene”; AMILCARE PONCHIELLI (1834 - 1886): La Gioconda: “Cielo e mar”
Various Orchestras and Conductors
The Two Tenors From Piedmont
Being a tenor in Italy in the early 1950s can't have been the easiest of career options. The scene was dominated by still-active legends from the past, such as Gigli and Lauri Volpi, by Del Monaco and Di Stefano who could do no wrong with audiences and who swept aside any opposition, by Masini and Filippeschi who were enjoying the fruits of their earlier successes and by the highly promising newcomers Corelli and Bergonzi. And since those names are by no means the only top-class singers dominating stages and recordings then, you really have to wonder what chance at all any young hopeful had of making his mark on the world of opera. The two tenors on the present recording may not have been in the same league as any of those big names when it comes to having a special timbre or indulging in histrionics but they knew what they were capable of and became front runners, albeit with differing fortunes. Gino Penno (Felizzano, Alessandria, 1920 – Milan, 8 February 1998) had a meteoric rise and then faded from view equally rapidly. In many respects, his career got under way to a prestigious start but he withdrew from performing prematurely, thus putting an end to a career which had not lasted even a decade. Yet Penno was highly promising, because the impressively broad sweep of his voice, (which may have been one of the most powerful to come along in the post World War II period), his bronze-like tone, his broad and well-sculpted phrasing together with a commendably noble style of expression all made him the ideal leading male for Verdi. Giuseppe Campora (Tortona, 30 September 1923 – Tortona, 5 December 2004) was different, although like Penno he came from the province of Alessandria and began his career during the same era. Campora too made his professional debut in 1949 in a Bohème at the Petruzzelli Opera House in Bari when he was the emergency replacement for the indisposed Galliano Masini. In 1952 he was already at La Scala, apparently because of a recommendation by Toscanini, and really made his mark there in1953 in Adriana Lecouvreur with Renata Tebaldi who he had partnered in the studio in her first recordings of Butterfly and Tosca for the soundtrack of the opera film Aida that would launch the emerging Sophia Loren's career into the stratosphere. Campora rapidly began to feature at the major opera houses, such as the Rome Opera, the Arena in Verona, (the venue for Traviata with Callas in 1952), the Colon in Buenos Aires and the Municipal in Rio de Janeiro before making his debut at the Met in 1954, where he became one of Rufolf Bing's favourite tenors for Italian repertoire. Which explains why he was the favourite for the other two operas, (Tosca and Lucia), marking the much-awaited debut of Maria Callas in New York, following her Norma there in 1956.