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LP LIST / AUDIO & MUSIC BULLETINT HE REMINGTON SITE  / 7" RECORD GALLERY


Complete Operas on Remington LP Records

 

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Ivan Petroff sings great baritone arias: Pagliacci, La Favorita,

I Puritani, Rigoletto,

The Barber of Seville, Macbeth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpts from the complete Rigoletto recording.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Remington Capuana recording relesed in 1955 found its equal in the 1952 recording of Aida on LXT 2735/6/7 with Renata Tebaldi, Mario del Monaco, Ebe Stignani and Aldo Protti with Chorus and Orchestra of the Academia di Santa Cecilia, Rome under conductor Alberto Erede

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is remarkable that Don Gabor made recordings of complete operas available on his Remington label. It shows that he had a full blooded catalog in mind. Some ready recordings were bought. There are at least two Remington recordings which appeared on the Allegro-Royale label as well: La Bohème and La Traviata.

Remington opera recordings were made in Italy except for that one Madame Butterfly with Daniza Illitsch, Ratko Delorco, Hildegard Rössel-Majdan, and conductor Wilhelm Loibner; the one with the unknown conductor Hans Doehrer directing Weber's Der Freischütz with Karl Heinz Tuttner, Karl Duffek, Dora Paludan, and Hanni Löser; and there is the 3 LP La Bohème recording with Illitsch, Delorco, Dutch singer Theo Baylé and Wilhelm Loibner conducting. If they were not produced by Marcel Prawy, it was certainly Prawy who obtained the tapes, although on several occasions Don Gabor himself traveled to Europe to negociate deals.

The complete Cosi fan tutte with Erna Hassler, Hetty Plümacher, Käthe Nentwig, Albert Weikenmeier, Karl Hoppe, Joseph Dunnwald conducting was bought from the people of the Period label.

The new MUSIRAMA opera recordings were all of Italian origin but now produced by Laszlo Halasz, former director of the New York City Opera Company, who, after the conflict with the board and subsequent resignation as director, became Recording Director of Remington Records Inc. Naturally he knew many venues, artists and conductors. His first production was Turandot. In several cases Robert Blake is mentioned as recording engineer.

The Remington catalog started with a complete Rigoletto released in 1952.


 
With most of the operas, Remington supplied a libretto for one dollar extra. The librettos were bought from various publishers. Sometimes the name of the record company and the reference number of the release were printed on the cover.

RLP-199-58/60
Verdi: Rigoletto
Orlandina Orlandini (soprano), Lidia Melani (mezzo-soprano), Gino Sarri (tenor), Ivan Petroff (baritone), Mario Frosini (bass), Edio Peruzzi (bass), Rina Benucci (mezzo-soprano), and conductor Erasmo Ghiglia. Released in 1952.
One year after the launching of Remington Records Don Gabor has another first announcing. the complete recordings of Rigoletto and Tosca.
Warren De Motte says in his Long Playing Record Guide about the complete Rigoletto: "Remington's forces know their way around this score. They perform without distinction, albeit with competence and the recording is fair."

Reviewer C.G. Burke wrote a Verdi discography in High Fidelity Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Summer 1951). He starts by describing the dramatic introduction and other elements of the story and finds the Remington performance quite fascinating. He continues with his views on the Remington issue, which he calls "the small item of $6.57".


Glib though it be, the melodrama has a great horror whose effect is more forceful on records than in the theatre, its action requiring expedients deterrent to credibility and productive of titters individuous to tragedy. This is strong, energetic and inventive Verdi, sharper at characterization than in any previous work, lyrical but grim, and expertly descriptive. The astonishing opening scene, with the corrupted splendour of the Renaissance indicated to perfection by the simplist means while the excitement of an awful foreboding grows, is one of the most vivid quarter-hours in theatrical music; and the last act, whose culminating staged horror is too pat and too contrived, is just the same convincing in the music which describes it.
Malignantly obfuscating the sober excercise of judgement is the small item of $6.57. This and the quality of the Remington Rigoletto himself, Ivan Petroff, argue powerfully in Remington's favor. Everything else is in Victor's favor, despite some good singing by Orlandini and Sarri for Remington. (...) The subsidiary singers for Remington are less than impressive; the orchestra is smaller and less expert to a degree that permits pretty culpable vagaries from wind-players. The direction is less symphonic; there are some background noises: there is microphone tumult now and then, particularly on Side 5. And yet the complete impression is of a lively projection of the music. The sound is clear and solid in a wide range of cycles and dynamics, and the even superficial hissis easily overcome with very little musical loss by use of a noise suppressor. (...) If the Victor version did not exist we should be grateful for this one; and many people with $6.57 are going to be grateful anyway." - G.C. Burke, High Fidelity, 1951




 
Vassilka Petrova
Special printing of the libretto was done for REMINGTON RECORDS by Publisher G. Ricordi & Co., New York 20 N.Y.

R-199-62/3
Puccini: Tosca
Vassilka Petrova, Eddy Ruhl, Pierre Campolonghi, Duilio Baronti, Melchiorre Luise. Orchestra of the Maggio Fiorentino and Chorus of the Teatro Communale and conductor Emilio Tierri.

A Remington advertisement in Long Playing Record Catalog of December 1951 announced the complete recordings of Puccini's Tosca and Verdi's Rigoletto that became available on LP for the first time.

La Tosca with Bianca Scacciati - Alessandro Granda - Enrico Molinari - Salvatore Baccaloni - Aristide Baracchi - Tomano Cortellino - Emilio Venturini Scala Milan Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Cav Lorenzo Molajoli, recorded in the shellac era in 1929, became available on Columbia's Entrée label much later, in December 1953. See
LP LIST OPERA.

The Remington set of Tosca is already listed in The Long Playing Record Catalog of December 1951. In the same edition a Westminster advertisement announces "Another Westminster First! The only complete recording of Puccini's... Tosca". However that complete set is not yet listed.

Remington's statement, that the complete recording of Verdi's Rigoletto is also a first on LP, is also not right. There was already a 3 x 12" record set available on Victor, since the catalog edition of October 1950, with Leonard Warren, Erna Berger, Jan Peerce, Nan Merriman, Italo Tajo, and Renato Cellini conducting the RCA Victor Orchestra (Victor LM 6101). Westminster could have been right only if the RCA recording had several cuts. In any case, the messages in these advertisments show that the competition was fierce.

This recording was listed in the 1952 Remington catalog but did not appear in the catalog issued by Remington in 1953, though the set is evaluated by Warren Demotte in his 1955 The Long Playing Record Guide and receives the following criticism:


Remington's poor performance and unbalanced recording do not even have a relatively low price as compensation, for the opera is on three records against the two of any other company's issue, with the exception of Westminster.- Warren Demotte.

The Westminster recording - Argeo Quadri conducting - was the most expensive on the market. Winner was of course the Maria Callas/De Sabata set on Angel / His Master´s Voice.


 

R-199-74/2
Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana
Vassilka Petrova, Eddy Ruhl, Ivan Petroff, Rina Benucci, Lidia Malani. Orchestra of the Maggio Fiorentino and Chorus of the Teatro Communale and conductor Erasmo Ghiglia. Released in May 1952.

Laura Homonnay-Demilio evaluates:


I've been collecting opera recordings for over thirty years, since my mid-teens. Even at the risk of compromising sound quality, there was always something compelling about the ambiance of particular older recordings, and I'm not just referring to the historical 78's, both acoustical and electric, in the archives, but to the early mono LP recordings as well.

The long play record came into being during the summer of 1948, introduced by Columbia (although there have been some versions of 33 1/3 rpm since before 1930, actually introduced by Victor, nothing was commercially feasible for the recording industry market until after the second World War, due to economics or otherwise). RCA Victor was a little slow to jump back on the bandwagon, introducing, instead, 45 rpm records on small disks and not conceding to LP's until a year later, so that in 1949 and early 1950 Columbia predominated with complete opera sets. However, right at the same time, other record companies in the immediate era sprang up with generally low-budget offerings on their labels. By 1951 all major American record companies and a lot of long-obscure and defunct ones had opera sets on LP. Some examples:

Columbia - Columbia, Parlophone and Pathé in Europe;
Entré - an American budget label reissuing Columbia's complete opera sets from the days of early electric 78's, 1927-1932;
RCA Victor - His Master's Voice in Britain and Europe with their Historical Series, also re-releasing their earliest electrical complete opera sets; later they also owned Camden, an offshoot of RCA in the United States;
Cetra - from Italy, known as Cetra-Soria in the United States due to distributor;
American Decca - licensing the Deutsche Grammophon catalog;
London Records - Decca in Great Britain;
Westminster
Urania - with many recordings made in Germany.
And of course there was Remington and the other Gabor labels Plymouth and Merit.

Note: Towards the 1960's, even more labels came out, Mercury, Angel/EMI, Nonesuch, Turnabout (part of the Everest-Cetra conglomerate in later years), Capitol, Seraphim, Victrola (these last three were budget Victor lines, the last label also featuring recordings of historical interest), Richmond (budget London).

The only two Remington opera sets I own were both recorded in 1951: Cavalleria Rusticana and Tosca. What they have in common, besides their year of release, are the principal singers: Edward Ruhl and Vassilka Petrova.
Despite accusations of "second rate" orchestration, the Cavalleria Rusticana, especially, is performed with such heart that it seems an unfair shot to call it second rate. If some of the singing leaves much to be desired by its principals - all of the singing as far as Petrova is concerned - the chorus is acceptable and there's a certain verve and brio in the orchestra, however crudely emitted in the rendition on discs pressed from inferior material.

Edward Ruhl's voice has a muffled, bottled quality to it, but I've certainly heard worse tenors, many of them big names. A listener can relax with Ruhl's average performance and not find any particular glaring fault with it, but Vassillka Petrova's presence in this recording goes beyond her being no doubt an inexpensive hire. She sounds like a bad Zinka Milanov, and Milanov, who never had a particularly beautiful voice, was painful to listen to when she was well past her prime, in the late 1950's; every listener wonders why RCA Victor couldn't pair the eminent Jussi Bjorling with a better Tosca in the 1957 studio recording.
Petrova was referred to as a camp artifact in Paul Gruber's The Metropolitan Opera Guide to Recorded Opera (W.W. Norton & Company, New York 1992), and any listener can understand why. Glamorous photos of an obviously attractive young woman on the covers of both opera albums only give rise to the "What! Was she only chosen for her looks?" speculation. If Petrova can squawk her way through a painfully strident "Voi lo sapate, O Mamma," and the "Tu Qui, Santuzza" confrontation duet with Ruhl's Turridu, her Easter Hymn is a trial to listen to.

Take the "a" off Petrova and replace the "v" with "ff" and there's a listenable Alfio by baritone Ivan Petroff. Somehow this version of Cavalleria manages to not only go forward, but keep a listener's attention as far as interest in the performance which has "Touring company level" as Warren DeMotte calls this set in his 1955 Long Playing Record Guide. Yet it still has more soul, personality, and feeling to it than any post-1980 digital CD production, where jet-setting performers record in different studios and the recordings are anonymously mixed by engineers.

On the Remington "Tosca" Ruhl gets by acceptably, but the orchestration is a little less forceful. Campolonghi's Scarpia is as good as many on the major studio releases; he acquits himself very well in this performance: menacing, firm-toned, and robust. The recording is worth his voice alone. If he's not Leonard Warren or Ettore Bastiannini, it's still a better listen than Tito Gobbi's, who was marvelous to watch in films and a great master at characterization, but still left a little to be desired in always keeping entirely in tune - or having a particularly attractive voice.

If a gutsy, coarse, verismo Santuzza is acceptable on Cavelleria Rusticana, so that a lot of the squillante can be excused for dramatic effect, on Tosca it is indefensible. Tosca, after all, is supposed to be an operatic performer. Gutsy isn't even a factor in Petrova's singing. There is no bottom to her voice; her lower register fades out, unsupported, as badly as her high notes. In several instances, most notably when she is heard singing off-stage "performing for the Queen", while Scarpia plots in his office, she entirely misses her ascent, so that it comes out a strangled, truncated bark. This has been referred to as The Tosca From Hell, a party item, and other epithets by snickering cultists, and there's no denying it. Because of the languor and apparent disinterest in the orchestra's playing, one eagerly waits for this Tosca to end, after getting through the aghast hearing of Scarpia's murder, which is not to be missed - the faded-sounding struggle to regain breath control, the incapacity to even spew a hair-raising "Quest' il bacio di Tosca!" which every soprano on her outs can manage to muster.

I wouldn't miss owning these Remington recordings for the world. I intend to collect more - to be taken back into the world of nearly 60 years ago, the dawn of long-play records, the struggle for often even less than steady footing in the market by obscure and bargain/budget record companies, compels and enchants the listener, harkening back to an era that will never be resurrected. - Laura Homonnay-Demilio (USA)



Remington R-199-77/3

Cover by Curt John Witt

R-199-77/3
Verdi: La Traviata (The Wayward)
Violetta: Rosetta Noli; Alfredo: Giuseppe Campora; Germont: Carlo Tagliabue; Flora: Giulia Olini; Annina: Giulia Olini; Gastone: Cesare Masini Sperti; Baron Douphol: Ottavio Serpo; Marchese D'Obigny: Edo Ferretti; Dottore Grenvil: Dario Caselli; Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Umberto Berrettoni conducting. This recording was also issued by Don Gabor on his Plymouth label with reference 41-3.

The Remington 3 LP Set was released in April 1952 and was reviewed in the Summer 1952 edition of High Fidelity Magazine in an article by C.G. Burke, The LP records of Giuseppe Verdi. (In that issue the author reviewed also Remington's Rigoletto.)


Verdi was dictator of the operatic world when Traviata was written, but the first performance of the most lyrical and easily enjoyable of his operas was a fiasco. It was a bad performance; but it is hard to understand how any audience could have resisted the superb alternations of gayety and tenderness that make a slick and unconvincing libretto into a convincing and touching drama, barely frayed after ninety-nine years, and stagewise more plausible as its epoch fades into the colored mists of a retrospectively romantic past.
After a nod to Columbia for her pioneering effort on LP, and the observations that the Remington price of $6.57 is of no significance here, we may dismiss with a few rather unkind words their editions in favor of the one that relaly counts. The Columbia is a dull recording of a so-so performance, with a heavy, tubby bass and lusterless treble. What seems to be some pretty good singing on the Remington is terribly burlesqued on discs of fantastically maimed sound which compose a curiosity of recording and as such may be gleefully sought by collectors. Her Rigoletto shows that Remington can produce satisfactory engineeringb, but the Traviata hardly seems credible even while it is tin-canning forth its sorry message. It is a pitty that the Remington surfaces have been so much improved for these disca; a powerful surface noise would be welcome to cover the sound intentionally recorded. - G.C. Burke, High Fidelity, 1952

 

There were two complete Traviatas availble when G.C. Burke's review was published. But soon there were three available - the Columbia (SL 103), and the set on RCA Victor (LM 6003 with Toscanini conducting) and even a fourth, because Burke's cricisme obviously did incite Don Gabor to buy another recording of La Traviata which was released half a year later, November, 1952, on R-199-98/3.

A reason for the second Remington was also the meager sound recording of R-199-77/3. Had the tonal balance been better than the appreciation would have increased, no doubt. Yet both Remington editions were available until the Fall of 1953. After that the newer complete set was the only Remington Traviata listed. Notwithstanding the critic's view, many opera listeners may have enjoyed the efforts of Berrettoni with his cast and the Rome Theatre Orchestra and Chorus when the tone controls on the amplifier would have been adjusted.


The complete recording of La Boème conducted by Wilhelm Loibner on three discs in a box. Remington R-199-80.

R/199-80/3
Puccini: La Boheme
Daniza Illitsch, Ratko Delorco (also spelled Delorko), Hildegarde Rössel-Majdan, Ruthilde Boesch, Theo Baylé, Marion Rus, Georg Oeggl, and Emil Siegerth. Austrian Symphony and Chorus, Wilhelm Loibner.

Ratko Delorco debuted at the Zagreb State Opera in 1945.

Daniza Illitsch from Yugoslavia debuted with the Berlin State Opera and then joined the Vienna State Opera.

Theo Baylé distiguisged himself in 1951 with the New York City Opera Company

The cover of the recording with vocal highlights of the recording of La Boème on Remington R-199-104

In High Fidelity of December, 1958, David Johnson reviewed operas by Puccini. About the editions of La Bohème on the cheap labels Allegro-Royale and Remington he wrote:


"The Allegro-Royale is a decent, inexpensive version. The orchestral playing is quite as good as that of most of the competing versions, and the engineering is excellent when the inferior vinyl surfaces allow it to be. The veteran Lauri-Volpi can no longer manage notes above the staff without shrill effort, but his singing gives ample evidence of former glory. The American soprano Frances Schimenti has a great deal of style (much of it rather homespun), but she rivals Lauri-Volpi for shrillness in her upper register. There is no libretto. Columbia's San Carlo Boheme is the newest and possibly the worst in the offing, characterized by a poorly recorded chorus, a razor-voiced Musetta, a Mimi who refuses to cough (in its way an admirable assertion of independence), an easy going conductor leading a sloppy orchestra, and-in addition-Gianni Poggi.
Finally, there is Remington. Remington offers the only German recording of Bohème. That is, the singers are singing Italian, but it might as well be German. Electronically, the recording is a punishment to the ears. The two principals, Ratko Delorco and Daniza llitsch are experienced vocalists and not entirely to be dismissed, but the engineers don't give them a chance." - David Johnson, High Fidelity, December, 1958




David Johnson in High Fidelity of December, 1958 wrote about Madame Butterfly: "The Remington version, valiantly bringin up the rear, has one thing only to recommend it: the singing of Hilde Rössl-Majdan's Suzuki."

R-199-81/3
Puccini: Madame Butterfly
Daniza Illitsch, Ratko Delorco, Hildegarde Rössel-Majdan, August Jaresch, Jovan Gligor, Emil Siegerth. Austrian Symphony and Chorus,
Wilhelm Loibner.


Libretto published by
Edwin F. Kalmus, New York, N.Y.

R-199-98/3
Verdi: La Traviata
Frances Schimenti, Arrigo Pola, Pierro Passerotti, Virgilio Stocco, Loretta di Lelio, Walter Mona Chesi, Anna Marcangeli, Carlo Platania, Opera Rome, Luigi Ricci conducting. Chorus master in Giuseppe Conca. The Allegro-Royale reference number is 1544/1545.


The Remington issue of La Bohème conducted by Luigi Ricci.


Above the Allegro-Royale disc with highlights from La Bohème with the same cast as on the Remington issue.

R-199-99/3
Puccini: La Bohème
Frances Schimenti, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, Mafalda Micheluzzi, Giovanni Ciavola, Victor Tatozzi, Enzo Tita, Pierro Pazerotti, Teatro dell´opera Roma, Luigi Ricci, conductor. The same recording was released on 3 discs on the Plymouth label, reference P-42-3.

Biographical details of the singers and the conductors were always scarce and more often not available. The Allegro Royale release with highlights of La Boheme gives the follwing briographical information:


Frances Schimenti
, young American lyric soprano, debuted (...) with the Cincinnati Opera Company as Micaela in Carmen. Immediately thereafter she was engaged by the San Francisco Opera Company where she sang a variety of major lyric parts. Her New York debut was effected at Carnegie Hall, where she appeared as Violetta in Traviata, Mimi in Bohème and Marguerita in Faust with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. An engagement with the San Francisco Opera Company followed with over 20 performances at 8 different roles, starting with Boris Godounoff with Ezio Pinza in the little part. Miss Schimenti then went to Rome, where she was heard in Teatro dell'Opera as Mimi and Violetta. Today she is recognized as the possession of one of the finest soprano voices in the world. - (from Allegro-Royale liner notes)

 Giacomo Lauri-Volpi has been known as one of the world's foremost tenors since his debut at the Teatro Contanzi in Rome in 1915. Lauri-Volpi came to the Metropolitan in the 1922 season and in the ensuing decade sang a total of 39 major parts in over 500 performances. Since his return to Europe he has appeared with colossal success in all major opera houses. Today at 63 years of age, he is still known as the foremost tenor of Europe and is singing regularly at La Scala and other major European opera houses. At right image of Giacomo Lauri Volpi taken from Cetra 45 RPM 7" EPO 0344. - (from Allegro-Royale liner notes)

Gabor's reason for buying another, complete recording of La Bohème and making it available next to the Wilhelm Loibner set, is difficult to assess. Which of the two recorded performances was the better option? Or was his decision led by the names of the performers? Warren Demotte writes in the Long Playing Record Guide:


Neither of Remington's recordings aspires to be any better than touring-company average, and each of them takes three records to any other company's two. - W.D. (1955)



 

R/199/100-3
Weber: Der Freischütz
Karl Heinz Tuttner, Karl Duffek, Dora Paludan, Hanni Löser, Alfons Kral, Kurt Wehofschütz, Austrian State Symphony, Hans Doehrer conducting.


 

The libretto was translated into English by Ellen A. Lebow. Bernard Lebow wrote the program notes for this edition. The cover was designed by Alex Steinweiss.

 

R/199/117-3
Mozart: Cosi fan tutte
Erna Hassler (soprano), Hetty Plümacher (contralto), Käthe Nentwig (soprano), Albert Weikenmeier (tenor), Karl Hoppe (baritone) and Joseph Dunnwald conducting the Stuttgart Tonstudio Orchestra.

NOTE This performance of Cosi fan tutte was listed in Schwann of July 1952 as a release on the Period label, reference PLP 555. In Great Britain this recording was first published on the Nixa label with the same reference in December 1952. Period 555 was the first complete Cosi fan tutte available on LP in the US. Half a year later, in December 1952, Columbia presented the 1952 Metropolitan Opera production conducted by Fritz Stiedry which was sung by Eleanor Steber and Richard Tucker on SL-122. Apparently Columbia made haste to release the recording. The three record set of Period as well as the Columbia were expensive. The Period set did not sell too well because of the competition of the more familiar and better MET production. Not long after the Columbia set was available, it was announced that Don Gabor would buy the Period performance made in Stuttgart. Gabor bought the plates from which the Remington discs were pressed. In the January 1953 edition of Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog both the Period 555 and the Remington R-199-117/3 box sets are listed. This could be a mistake made by the publisher. However it is plausible that this was a condition in the agreement as Period still had a number of copies in stock.
The Nixa set from Great Britain was reviewed by Alec Robertson, music editor of The Gramophone (December 1952 issue):


"This is a good average performance of Cosi fan tutte, with plenty of spirit but not much sense of style. One has only to compare the numbers recorded by the Glyndebourne cast (...) to see the artistic deficiencies of the present set. I should except Hetty Plumacher from this criticism : her voice is of lovely quality and she has a keener perception of the style required than her companions. Erna Hassler has some good moments but her shrill top notes prejudice the success of her two arias and in general she is at her best in the concerted numbers. Karl Hoppe and Franz Kelch are adequate and Käthe Nentwig is a lively Despina. I did not care much for Albert Weikenmeier's voice, which is that of the typical German tenor, and he is most acceptable when tingeing softly.(...) The orchestral playing lacks distinction and is not helped by peculiarly dry recording. (...) It is fair to say, I think, that this issue would have been much more acceptable had greater care been taken over the engineering, a matter which is all the more urgent where there is little action but a continuous succession of static numbers requiring intimacy, sensitivity and variety of sound." - Alec Robertson, The Gramophone, December, 1952.



R-199-169/3
Puccini: Turandot
Gertrude Grob-Prandl, Antonio Sprùzzola-Zola, Norman Scott, Renata Ferrari-Ongaro, Angelo Mercuriali, Mariano Caruso, and Marcello Rossi. Franco Capuana was conducting the 'Teatro la Fenice' (Venice Opera Company). Recorded in the summer of 1953 under the supervision of Laszlo Halasz.

Critic James Hinton Jr. of High Fidelity Magazine wrote:


"The main thing in favor of the Remington Turandot set are modern engineering and good orchestral performance at an attractively low price - and, oddly, extremely good casting in the minor roles of Ping, Pang and Pong. Otherwise it is flawed. On paper, Gertrud Grob Prandl (...) looks like an asset. In actuality she is disappointing.(...) Antonio Spruzzola Zola, is nobody in particular (...). Norman Scott sings a very fine Timur. (...) The Remington is a hodgepodge of the good, disappointing, and practically incompetent. Still, it is well recorded, and it is cheap, and it is Turandot. - James Hinton Jr.
, High Fidelity

And David Johnson wrote in High Fidelity's issue of December 1958:


"The Remington dates from 1953. Its sound is better than might be supposed, although there is an amplitude of pre-Űcho and noisy surfaces. The orchestra of Venice's La Fenice is a fine one, not to be condescended to, and the excellent chorus sounds almost as big as the 120 on Angel. The Liu has a touching little voice, very much like a boy soprano's; her first aria is an example of how much can be accomplished with the simplest, most direct expressive means. But the commedia dell'arte court officials are, one and for all, far inferior to Angel's; Norman Scott's Timur is bottom-heavy; and the German Turandot makes her appearance on Side 4 singing, in a wobbling nasal voice "In kvesta redcha." Side 4 is as far as I got. - David Johnson,
High Fidelity. December, 1958


 

R-199-175/2
Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana
Teresa Apolei, Pina Geri, Antonio Spruzzola Zola, Piero Campolonghi, Letizia Del Col and the 'Teatro la Fenice' conducted by George Sebastian.
This set replaced the earlier recording of conductor Erasmo Ghiglia with Vassilka Petrova, Edward Ruhl, Ivan Petrov and Benucci.


AIDA on Remington R-199-178/3 in a beautifully styled box with the flamboyant art made by Otto Rado.

Ettore Bastianini - Original image by Decca
Ettore Bastianini. Bastianini (image Deutsche Grammophon). Bastianini was no stranger to the New York public and was of course known by Laszlo Halasz. In december of 1953 Ettore Bastianini sang at the New York Metropolitan Opera the role of Germont-père. Bastianini was born on September 24, 1922 and died much too early on January 25, 1967.
Mary Curtis (1921 - 2009; picture courtesy the Can Belto Blog) was already known by collectors of opera. Around 1957 she started a career at the New York Met.

R-199-178/3
Verdi: Aida
Mary Curtis, Oralia Dominguez, Umberto Borso, Ettore Bastianini, Norman Scott, Enzo Feliciati (on label and box wrongly spelled as Felicitati), and Uberto Scaglioni. Franco Capuana conducting Orchestra and Chorus of the 'Teatro la Fenice'. Released in 1955.

Steve Slezak who maintains The Collector's Vault and did a program on the Remington "Aida", was researching information on this recording. He found that Umberto Borso added the role of Radamesto to his repetoire on Feb. 25, 1954. This means that the Remington recording was probably made before his actual stage assumption of the role.
This is in accordance with the mention in Billboard magazine of July 1953 were it says that Laszlo Halasz was in Venice to make opera recordings for Remington. So the recording was made in the summer of that year.

In 1955 Dutch opera critic Leo Riemens reviewed this recording and compared it to the Decca LXT 2735-37 from 1952 in Dutch monthly record magazine "Luister...". He concluded that the Remington AIDA was as good as the Decca (London) recording:


"Surprising is how the voices, with this "Musirama" hi-fi recording system, remain separated. In Verdi's most complicated ensemble every voice can be followed individually."

"Remington best conductor and recording. Decca the best Aida and sound direction. Remington the best Amneris and Amonasro. Decca a somewhat better Radames. Both equally good basses. Even without considering the price categories a real surprising result."- Leo Riemens in "Luister...", February, 1955.



R-199-200/3
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
R-199-200/3 - Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti) with Orchestra and Chorus of "Teatro La Fenice" (Venice Theater, Italy). Renata Ferrari Ongaro (Lucia); Giacinto Prandelli (Edgardo); Filippo Philip Maero (Enrico); Norman Scott (Raimondo); Tosca Da Lio (Alisa); Uberto Scaglione (Normano); Luigi Pontiggia (Arturo). The conductor was Laszlo Halasz

For a long time I presumed that the complete recording of Lucia di Lammermoor performed by the Teatro la Fenice on Remington R-199-200/3 was conducted by Jonel Perlea. This record set was never encountered by me. However Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog Artist Listing 1956 lists this recording as being conducted by Laszlo Halasz.

Rudolf A Bruil - Page first published December 18, 2008

This article, like all the other articles on The Remington Site, is copyrighted. Please do not reproduce this article in whole or part, in any form, without obtaining my written permission.


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