Corelli, Hines & Zucker, Feb. 3, 1990

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Corelli, Hines and Zucker and the Listening Public on “Opera Fanatic” Radio Program

Please note: These interview video cassettes have an audio track only, no picture of any kind. You can hear us speak and sing, but you don’t see us.

CZ1V February 3, 1990 (4 hrs., 40 mins.). With Jerome Hines. 2 video cassettes, NTSC or PAL VHS.

This title does not count as a free selection in the 6-for-the-price-of-5 offer. However, it does count as 1 paid item toward the 5 paid DVDs, videos, CD sets, photos or posters in the offer.

Corelli tells how he lost his high notes prior to making his debut and studied briefly as a baritone before restudying as a tenor and regaining them.
Recorded selections heard include Corelli in arias from Turandot, Favorita, Chénier, Ugonotti, “Granada,” “Vaghissima sembianza,” “Ti voglio tanto bene,” “O ciel, c’est toi,” “Il canto della rinuncia.”

The vocal technique of Corelli’s most important teacher, Arturo Melocchi; Del Monaco studied with Melocchi before Corelli did; the usefulness of Del Monaco’s example; when Del Monaco began he had a small voice; the pros and cons of Melocchi’s “laryngeal method”; Luigi Ottolini; the care that Lauri Volpi took with the passaggio [change of register]; Caruso’s passaggio problems; “Bechi was exciting–he was the best baritone”; Lauri Volpi’s breath control; “Lauri Volpi’s intonation problems in singing mezza voce stemmed from holding his larynx too low”; “Gigli could ‘open’ high A-flats as if they were notes in the middle.”

Stefan Zucker: Kraus doesn’t cover.
Franco Corelli: The voice covers by itself.
SZ describes Kraus’s opposition to the Corelli-Hines view about the passaggio.
Jerome Hines: Kraus and Pavarotti really are unaware that they cover.

We discuss the technique of smiling while singing. According to Corelli, early in his career his voice was strong but not beautiful–“I began to make a record but stopped right away because it was ugly and didn’t make me happy.” At first no one “believed” in him. He misses singing. He lost a competition before winning one. “To succeed in Carmen you need temperament and the right impulses; to succeed in Aïda you need legato and bel canto.” He had difficulty singing Radamès and had to relinquish the part. He describes the first few years of his career; Callas and Lauri Volpi in Puritani; the formidable competition in those days; the conductors Santini, Capuana, Votto. Corelli claims that he no longer sings.

SZ: According to Michael Redmond of the Newark Star-Ledger Corelli’s voice is as fabulous as ever.

Corelli acknowledges that he does have his voice in some moments; that he stopped singing because of a throat problem; that he damaged his larynx from singing during an inhalation therapy but that time has cured the difficulty. He tells us of his interest in making a record; of his desire to do a comeback; that he stopped too soon; that he was mistaken not to have recorded Otello in ’68; of his wish to record Otello now; that he has matured interpretively; that he went from dramatic to lyric repertory; that “You have to be born with temperament”; that he tried to make his voice beautiful by imbuing it with feeling.

Other topics include: His fear of high notes at the beginning of his career; his range; singing Norma with a strong middle voice can cause vocal problems; his interpolation of high Ds into Poliuto, with Gencer; his singing of high E-flat at home; A-flat above the staff was the most beautiful note in his voice; “It’s B-flats that make the public crazy”; his preference for low tessitura–to a point; the history of his vibrato; he improved because of better breath control; at the beginning of his career his topmost note was D-flat; how he developed his top to be able to sing D-flat reliably; his voice was too heavy for Ugonotti; he learned from early criticisms of his singing; coach Giuseppe Bertelli; the effect on Corelli of his colleagues; Corelli and Hines on Stokowski; at the beginning of Corelli’s career people rehearsed more and the maestri were better; “A good conductor can pull a new color out of your voice”; the importance of introspection for singers; Caruso read a score that he had been studying for years–in the bathtub; Corelli’s wish to sing Otello in the theater before recording it; his preference for the atmosphere of old theaters; Corelli tells self-deprecatory jokes; the variability of Caruso’s singing; the debasement of standards and abandonment of tradition today; Pavarotti can hit the notes in Otello; a call from Pavarotti to Corelli; contrary to rumor, Corelli did not help Domingo to start at the Met; Gigli in Elisir and a description of his falsettone; Galliano Masini; Pertile’s emotivity, his fuoco sacro; Corelli’s dislike of Pertile’s vibrato; Caruso’s vibrato; Corelli’s dislike of vibrato in general; Björling’s vibrato; learning from records; each singer thinks his technique is perfect; discussions in the Galleria near La Scala; Melocchi’s virtues; his other pupils; his method described; the “lost” Fedora (with Callas); Corelli’s best year as a singer; why he doesn’t go to performances at the Met; his favorite recording of himself; appraisals of Björling; Corelli’s regret over not having sung Manon Lescaut; “the voice of Gigli was like the sun in Italy.”

Radio listeners offer money toward a Corelli comeback.

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