Enrico Caruso in Opera, Song and Ensemble
- Arias, Ensembles, Songs, 1904 - 1920
- Featuring Antonio Scotti, Marcella Sembrich, Gina Severina, Johanna Gadski, Geraldine Farrar, Gina Viafora, Francesco Daddi, Marcel Journet, Frances Alda, Josephine Jacoby, Pasquale Amato, Louise Homer, Frieda Hempel, Léon Rothier, Andrés de Segurola, Maria Duchêne
"The immediacy of the sound here is truly amazing." Classic CD
The early story of recording is more than just the history of an invention and an industry. Although the pioneers and entrepreneurs played important and fascinating roles, their work would hold little interest for us today had it not coincided with the unique artistry of Caruso and Melba, Chaliapin and Ponselle. It was the Golden Age of Singing and Prima Voce preserves this archive of great voices from the first half of the century in transfers which capture the immediacy of the original performances.
Transfers made only from mint condition 78 rpm pressings manufactured from the finest materials of the time.
The Search for 78s
Not all pressings were created equal! We travelled the world to track down suitable 78s which could be added to the Prima Voce archive in preparation for transfer to CD. We worked with private collections as well as museums e.g. The St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music. The experience developed from years of collecting proves invaluable because we knows almost instinctively which labels and types or periods of pressing are the most important, and furthermore we are able visually to recognise these characteristic features. When one is looking at over 500 records a day there is hardly the time to play every prospective purchase!
Much time and effort are invested in each individual Prima Voce project long before we are ready to go into the studio and proceed with the transfers of the 78s. Ideas for new issues may precede the release of a CD by anything from a month to a number of years and can come from a number of different sources:
From the moment at which we decide to concentrate on a particular artist, we will increase his efforts in finding the relevant recordings. Depending on the singer and the period of recordings, this task can take an extremely long time to complete. Even though our archive has been built up over many years, and contains more than 20,000 78s, one can always strive that little bit harder to find the cleanest pressing! Some projects may therefore take a little longer than others to plan. The issue of Nellie Melba (NI 7890) was something that had been on the cards ever since the series was launched in October 1989. As John Steane quite rightly points out in his note: "Assiduous collectors of the Prima Voce series may have wondered why there has been no Melba number before now. She is, after all, with Caruso, the most famous singer of what is still commonly regarded as 'the golden age'".