Beulah release "Mario Lanza sings Italian Opera"

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Verna XXX

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Jun 29, 2020, 6:45:06 PM6/29/20
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
I've recently obtained this late 2019 release by download and think it's pretty good! I was wondering what the experts think of the selection and reproduction as I'm far from an opera expert? (I know there are a few howlers in the track listing!)
Normally I prefer to buy a physical CD but was deterred from buying the Sepia Records release by the fact that my previous purchase is now two months in the mail from the UK to Australia...
Disc cover from Amazon
81rS2UfN4PL._SS500_.jpg

Tony Partington

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Jul 1, 2020, 9:31:19 AM7/1/20
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Hi Verna,

It's understandable that you would want to have the operatic recordings. It's unfortunate and unacceptable that you've been waiting so long for your Sepia CD.

The recordings shown on the disc, in the picture you supplied, are probably all Lanza recordings. However, there are a number of caveats involving online CDs and mp3 downloads. First, the recording shown in your photo is a bootleg recording. There are many; some good some horrible. You would be wise to stick to RCA (BMG) recordings as they are, in most cases, mastered from original recordings. A few tell tale signs of a bootleg are misspellings; of both the aria name as well as the artists involved. A good example would be the OTELLO duet. Mario recorded that with Lucia Albanese (note the spelling of her name on the CD. It is wrong). Also the years of the recordings is wrong in the photo. The OTELLO duet is from Mario's film SERENADE and the recordings date from 1955. Another concern is that some of the selections were recorded more than once by Lanza. A good example is the Aria "Amor ti vieta" from Giordano's FEDORA. Mario first recorded it for his radio show. And while he was in good voice, his artistic approach to it was, to say the least, questionable. Lanza later recorded it for SERENADE, again a 1955 recording. The later recording is generally considered far superior to his earlier effort. Personally, I am luke warm about the SERENADE recording. I wish, he had recorded it properly back when he was doing his radio show. If indeed he had, I would venture to guess we would have a brilliant recording of this short but beautiful aria. The Sepia recordings are very good and offer certain material that is unavailable anywhere else. Personally I have my favorites and I find myself preferring the RCA releases on some selections and the Sepia releases on others. I do hope this note helps in some small way. You might also ask for Derek's input as he is very much involved in the Sepia recordings.

All the best,

Tony

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Verna XXX

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Jul 1, 2020, 10:26:34 PM7/1/20
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Hi Tony,
Thank you for your interesting comments! I agree with you about the illiterate stuff not being a good sign! Beulah claim to be a legitimate firm doing their own re-engineered versions of LP material and have some good reviews for other releases (see their website). Not getting names and dates correct is very unprofessional though. My son laughs at me for wanting physical CDs, says everybody is downloading these days, and I guess I'm in favour of anything that gets more people listening to Lanza. Lack of notes is disappointing though, I do like to have info about the recordings, and comparative notes such as you provide.
I do have quite a few Lanza CDs and will look for other versions of the arias. Plenty of study to be done.
Sepia Records have been very nice and have sent replacement copies of my CDs, who knows, they may all eventually arrive!
Best wishes
Verna
PS if anyone is inclined to listen to the album no need to shell out as it's on Spotify and I think I spotted some tracks on Youtube as well
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