~ Articles Of A Legendary Tenor ~
Ferruccio Tagilavini: A Voice Of Sweetness
A Tenor Of Sweetness
 Ferruccio Tagliavini
1913 - 1995

 Preceded by movies, Cetra recordings, and the reports of GIs who had heard him in Italy, Ferruccio Tagliavini  arrived at the Metropolitan Opera on January 10, 1947.
 
Singing Rodolfo in La Boh'me opposite the Mimi of Licia
 Albanese, Tagliavini was rapturously received by a public starved for the sound of an Italian tenor. Even the critics
 agreed. Virgil Thomson reported in the Herald Tribune: "He sings like a young man who enjoys singing and who is  neither afraid of high notes nor especially proud of them.  [The top note in "Che gelida manina" was B natural rather  than C.] He has reserves of energy and a great naturalness.
 
Not in a very long time have we heard tenor singing at once so easy and so adequate. He makes no attempt to  sing like a baritone, and neither does he croon. At least he did not last night. He even at one point sang a genuine open-throated pianissimo, the first I have heard in Thirty-ninth Street since I started reviewing opera six years ago. So sound an artist could go far. Without going any  farther than he has done so far he can give great pleasure  to anybody who likes singing." In the Sun Irving Kolodin was so carried away as to describe the performance of  Boh'me as "the best the old house has had in a decade at least." (He overlooked the fact that in the last ten seasons Jussi Bjoerling had sung Rodolfo with Albanese, Mafalda Favero, Jarmila Novotna, Bid Sayo, and Dorothy Kirsten.) 
 
 In nine seasons, Tagliavini sang ninety-five performances of nine roles. After Rodolfo, his most frequent portrayal  was Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor. Away for seven seasons, Tagliavini returned in the 1961-62 season to sing in  Boh'me and L'Elisir d'Amore with much of the sweetness and beauty of his voice still present. His  last  appearance in New York was in the 1980s when he sang a duet in concert with his colleague Giuseppe di Stefano. Tagliavini sang the tenor part.  RT


 
 
 
 

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