Giuseppe De Luca 1907-1930

"Nimbus have performed a notable service in its Prima Voce series in a 70-minute programme devoted to the great baritone Giuseppe de Luca ... the whole programme is an object lesson in the art of singing that every male vocalist should study." The Belfast Telegraph


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"Even amongst Nimbus’ many fine Prima Voce compilations of opera singers from earlier times, this CD devoted to the baritone Giuseppe de Luca, 1876-1950, stands out. It offers sixteen arias and two songs [one, ‘Marietta’ by Romilli in heavily accented English] and includes early acoustic and later electrical recordings made between 1907-30. As the producer, Norman White, points out in a brief biographical note, the singer lacked the natural beauty of voice of contemporaries such as Titta Ruffo, 1877-1953 [with whom he studied], Riccardo Stracciari, 1875-1955, Pasquale Amato, 1878-1942, and Mario Sammarco, 1867-1930, but more than compensated by impeccable musicianship and complete technical mastery. The sensitive colouring of his bel canto style and ability to establish and maintain a wonderful line is evident throughout these excerpts – as is his precise articulation. However, even better than the arias from Verdi [Il Travatore, La Traviata, Don Carlos and especially Rigoletto], Rossini [a sparkling ‘Largo al factotum’ from 1917 that can still stand as an example of diction, control and subtlety], Donizetti, Bellini, Ponchielli and Eugène-Emile Diaz [a profoundly sensitive ‘De l’art splendeur immortelle’ from Benvenuto Cellini, 1924] are impassioned duets with Caruso [L’Elisir d’amore, 1919], Gigli [La Bohème and La Gioconda, both 1927] and Galli-Curci [two duets from Rigoletto, both 1927]. Not only is the musicianship impeccable but the artists radiate the sheer joy of singing as friends rather than competitors. In three tracks, including ‘Aprila, bella, la fenestrella’ from Wolf-Ferrari’s The Jewels of the Madonna, the conductor is Giulio Setti, 1869-1938, who obtains characteristic Italianate performances from his unnamed players. Looking back, de Luca was incomparable as an expressive baritone until Tito Gobbi, 1913-84, appeared on the operatic scene. In 1907 he has already the character of the Elder Germont fully formed in timbre and line. The voice never sounds forced, whether he is singing buffo- or character roles, and his superb legato always serves the music rather than drawing attention to the exquisite skill of its production. The brochure includes brief synopses and is illustrated with on- and off-stage photographs of a singer whose career extended over five decades, his final concert performance being in 1947 – exactly 50 years after his debut in Faust. The remasterings have been very well performed and emphasise in a very natural manner the superlative characteristics of this truly great singer, 10/10." - Dr R

"This disk is wonderful! I had lost my original disk of De Luca on an airplane years ago and wasn't able to find it in the stores. Then up in came in one of your e-mails. The quality of De Luca's voice is superb, and the two duets with Amelita Gallicurci are beyond anything for beauty. My husband and I get intense pleasure from the disk any time we listen." - Susan Hand

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