Thursday, April 15, 2004

Great Voices of the Past

If you like great operatic voices, the site for you is Prima Voce Catalog: Listing of Real Audio Tracks. There you can listen to recordings made in the first four decades of the 20th century by the greatest singers of that era. There are many familiar names -- Caruso, McCormack, Galli-Curci, Tibbett, Gigli, Bjoerling, and Ponselle, among others -- and many unfamiliar names with voices just as great. Hours of enjoyment, free.

And here's some free trivia about a few of the names you'll see listed. Alma Gluck was the mother of Efram Zimbalist Jr. Geraldine Farrar's father, Sid Farrar, was a first baseman for the Philadelphia Quakers of the National League from 1883 until 1890. Leo Slezak appeared in at least 45 German films; his son Walter began acting in German films, then became a familiar character actor in Hollywood films, appearing in at least 44 of them from 1942 until 1972. Ezio Pinza became famous late in his career for his leading role in the stage production of "South Pacific" (think "Some Enchanted Evening).

For alluring names to go with alluring voices, you can't beat Pol Plan├žon, Conchita Supervia, Toti dal Monte, Claudia Muzio, Lucrezia Bori, Riccardo Stracciari, Luisa Tetrazzinni, Titta Ruffo, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, Adelina Patti, and Apollo Granforte.