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The filler on this disc is notable as well. Stokowski conducting his own Symphony Orchestra in the Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin with Licia Albanese as Tatiana. Albanese was another Metropolitan stalwart. Here she performed the scene in Russian specially learned for the recording. The result is enchanting, with Albanese successfully combining gauche, girlishness and passion [listen -- track 10, 3:07-4:10]. She is well supported by Stokowski. The only niggle is Albanese's rather careful Russian and the suspicion that she might have brought more freedom and intensity to the role if she'd been allowed to sing in a more familiar language.

This is a fascinating set. It manages to combine a record of two outstanding Metropolitan artists (Stevens and Merrill) in roles which they performed there, with one of Stokowski's rare excursions into the opera house. It leaves one wishing that they'd recorded more.

Copyright © 25 April 2006 Robert Hugill, London UK


Stokowski conducts scenes from French and Russian opera

CACD0540 ADD REISSUE/COMPILATION 76'35" 2005 Cala Records

Risë Stevens, mezzo-soprano (Delilah); Jan Peerce, tenor (Samson); Robert Merrill, baritone (High Priest); The Robert Shaw Chorale (Samson and Delilah); the NBC Symphony Orchestra (Samson and Delilah); Licia Albanese, soprano (Tatiana); The Leopold Stokowski Symphony Orchestra (Tchaikovsky); Leopold Stokowski, conductor

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921): Samson and Delilah highlights (Act 1 Scene 1, Arrêtez, ô mes frères!; Act 1 Scene 6, Printemps qui commence; Act 2 Scene 1, Amour! viens aider ma faiblesse!; Act 2 Scene 2, La victoire facile; Act 2 Scene 2, Se pourrait-il?; Act 2 Scene 3, Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix; Act 3 Scene 1, Vois ma misère; Act 3 Scene 2, Bacchanale; Act 3 Scene 3, Gloire à Dagon) (recorded 7, 9, 10 and 14 September 1954 in New York); Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (1840-1893): Eugene Onegin (Tatiana's Letter Scene, Act 1 Scene 2, Puskáy pogíbnu ya) (recorded 6 February 1951 in New York)


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