Conversations With Corelli (3-30-1991)

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Corelli Presents Pertile
“Opera Fanatic,” March 30, 1991

Franco Corelli, guest
Stefan Zucker, host

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The three singers who influenced Corelli most were Del Monaco and Lauri Volpi for emission and Pertile for interpretation. (Franco once told me, “I copied my interpretation of ‘Ah sì! ben mio’ and the fourth act of Carmen from Pertile.” Listening to this program you get to share Franco’s perceptions of Pertile’s white-hot, pathos-scented and painterly art.

Every singer goes out of tune from time to time unintentionally. But it’s difficult to do so on purpose. In this except, to demonstrate Pertile’s tendency to sharp, Corelli sings the climax of the “Flower Song” an octave down and causes the highest note to drift upward slightly–a minor feat of virtuosity. (At this point in time Corelli still could sing beautifully, but that was not his intention here. Instead it was to excuse Pertile’s sharping because it resulted from passion.)

Although this example is in Italian with me translating, Franco speaks more English on this program than usual.

The noises heard intermittently during the March 30, 1991 interview leaked into WKCR’s studio from an adjacent auditorium and were picked up by the mikes. There is no way of both eliminating these noises and preserving our discussion.
Stefan Zucker

Articles: The Fluctuating Fortunes of Vibrato & Pertile on Vowels

Press coverage of Corelli’s appearances on “Opera Fanatic.”

About the guests on “Opera Fanatic.”



  • 1. Total Interview Time: 2 hours, 12 minutes
  • 2. Pertile’s early history
  • 3. Lohengrin selections
  • 4. Was Pertile a cripple?
  • 5. Did you ever consider singing Wagner?
  • 6. A dry voice but legato, diction, warmth and sensibility
  • 7. Sì, pel ciel, with Benvenuto Franci, 1928
  • 8. Bernardo De Muro
  • 9. Ballo selections
  • 10. The laugh in È scherzo od è follia
  • 11. Quando le sere al placido, 1927
  • 12. Studio vs. live recordings
  • 13. Tosca
  • 14. Anglo-Saxon vs. Italian taste
  • 15. Chris Merritt and Edita Gruberova in I puritani
  • 16. Pertile vs. Caruso
  • 17. Corelli’s vibrato
  • 18. Corelli’s vocal problems at the beginning of his career
  • 19. Pertile’s vibrato vs. Giovanni Martinelli’s voce fissa
  • 20. Chris Merritt
  • 21. Corelli practices Puritani
  • 22. Corelli’s high Ds in Poliuto
  • 23. Corelli broke on an A-flat on an EMI Norma
  • 24. Pertile’s masque placement
  • 25. Corelli’s cancellations
  • 26. Three arias from Manon Lescaut
  • 27. Vesti la giubba
  • 28. Similarities between Corelli and Pertile
  • 29. “Loretta esci” (Loretta, get out)
  • 30. Vieni (Denza) 1927
  • 31. La mia sposa sarà la mia bandiera (Rotoli) 1927
  • 32. L’ultima canzone (Tosti) 1927
  • 33. The fight between Miguel Fleta and Pertile
  • 34. Making allowances for false intonation
  • 35. Apri la tua finestra, from Iris (Mascagni) 1920
  • 36. Did Corelli’s diminuendo involve falsetto?

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