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Mozart, Bellini, Rossini, Verdi, Leoncavallo, Giordano, Menotti

Rolando Panerai – baritone (b 1924)

Margherita Carosio & Mattiwilda Dobbs– sopranos

Leopold Simoneau - tenor

Various orchestras and conductors


Nimbus “Prima Voce” – NI 7949

1 CD – 72 minutes

Recorded 1953-54 : Digital transfer 2008


Mozart:  Cosi fan tutte: Non siate ritrosi; Donne mie la fate a tanti

Bellini:  I puritani: Or dove fuggio io mai?...Ah! per sempre io ti … Bel sogno beato

Rossini:  Il barbiere di Siviglia: Largo al factotum della citta

Verdi:  Il trovatore: Il balen del suo sorrisi; Di provenza il mar, il suol;  Rigoletto: Pari siamo! … Figlia! Mio padre!; Chi e mai;  Otello: Vanne, La tua meta gia vedo … Credo in un Dio crudel; E qual certenza … Era la notte

Leoncavallo:  Pagliacci: Prologue – Si puo? Si puo

Giordano:  Andrea Chenier: Nemico della patria?

Menotti:  Amelia al ballo: Non si va! … Amelia cara


Rolando Panerai can be considered as the archetypal Italian baritone, with his handsome features and engaging stage presence; his velvety tones are unmistakable.  Strange then, that one of his early successes was in the role of Amfortas in a 1950 Italian Radio relay of Parsifal, with Maria Callas as Kundry.  He made such an impression that one critic was moved to wonder whether the part had ever been so beautifully sung.


All the items on this CD are in Italian (no texts supplied) and derive from Columbia LPs of the Fifties, commencing with Cosi fan tutte, conducted by Karajan, where he is partnered by the elegant tenor of Leopold Simoneau.  This is one of the first sets I bought and Panerai’s humorous and endearing Gugliemo is not the least of its attractions.


The mellifluous Bellini aria comes from a complete version of I Puritani (also with Callas) while the excerpt from Amelia la Ballo rounds off this CD; other items were included in a recital disc conducted by Alceo Galliera. 


Outstanding are the boisterous Largo al factotum and accomplished Pagliacci Prologue, while Gerard’s monologue from Chenier receives its full share of irony. 


The Verdi item are notable for their restraint and luscious vocalising – only the Rigoletto seems to present Panerai with difficulties in producing a true legato style.  Although an extremely versatile artist, the more dramatic Verdi roles seemed to cause him problems, later evident in complete recordings of Trovatore and Rigoletto.  Perhaps they required a weight of voice which Panerai did not possess – in any case the CD under discussion does not raise such questions and may be enjoyed without reservation as a memento of a scrupulous and talented singer.


He never indulges in tricks or mannerisms, his singing was sufficiently eloquent to obtain the effects he sought and should be valued accordingly.  Highly recommended.



Stuart Jenkins