Corelli & Zucker 30 March 1991
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.
CZ7V March 30, 1991 (3 hrs., 30 mins.) 2 video cassettes. PAL VHS ONLY
We also offer a somewhat different version of this interview as an audio download.
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 critiques Pertile, with recorded examples. He also evaluates Gruberova and Merritt in Puritani.
Recorded selections heard include Pertile in Lohengrin (4 selections, 1 w. Alfani Tellini), Otello (w. Franci), Ballo (2, 1 w. Ferraris, Righetti, Baromeo, 1 w. Ferraris, Bertana, Righetti, Baromeo), Luisa Miller, Forza, Iris, Manon Lescaut (3), Pagliacci, songs by Denza, Rotoli and Tosti. Also tenor Giuseppe Morino in Fille and mezzo-soprano Livia Budai in Don Carlo.
Discussion of Gigli’s and Bonci’s laughs in “È scherzo od e follia,” in Ballo.
SZ: What is most remarkable about Pertile’s “La rivedrò nell’estasi” (Ballo) is his control over tempo and rhythm. When he makes a ritard he prepares the return to tempo beautifully, speeding up at the end of the ritard, letting you know that he’s back in tempo, skillfully, unobtrusively. You know at all times what his intentions are, for he communicates the rhythmic pulse. He had a beautiful sense of upbeat, singing upbeats lightly, adding pinches of crescendo, to prepare downbeats. Perhaps the only other Italian tenors to handle tempo and rhythm so skillfully were Schipa, Borgioli and maybe Carpi. In “È scherzo” Pertile has a laugh in his tone even when he’s not actually laughing. His voice is more pleasing on acoustical than electrical recordings, his tone becoming less agreeable as he aged.
Live vs. studio recordings; Franco tells us why he feels the latter are better.
Discussion of Puritani, Callas, Lauri Volpi, also Filippeschi.
FC: Filippeschi went up to high D in full voice, which Merritt did not. I prefer the approach, stemming from Duprez, of Lauri Volpi and Filippeschi. I like Gruberova in some phrases. She would be a great singer if she sang with more heart, especially in her middle range. She has a beautiful technique.
FC: Pertile’s a modern tenor, like Caruso. He and Caruso can be compared, perhaps not with regard to vocal technique but interpretation. Each had great musical sensitivity. Caruso sang with more legato and more sadness in the voice, Pertile with more passion and intensity. In “È scherzo” you can sense that his was not a real laugh because it had some sadness inside. The witch’s prophesying his death made him sad; he did laugh but inside he was sad.
FC: I was lucky, although in some respects unlucky, that I was able to make my debut less than two years after I began to study. My breathing wasn’t right. Little by little my singing became smoother, easier. This happens to many singers: Defects gradually subside.
Corelli’s “goat-like” vibrato at the beginning of his career.
SZ: Pertile, as you can hear on his records, always had that kind of vibrato, what George Bernard Shaw, referring to Pertile’s predecessors, called a “goat bleat,” a quiver, a rapid flicker vibrato. Anglo-Saxon audiences have always disliked it and critics here and in England have excoriated it. Martinelli was born in the same town and in the same year as Pertile. Martinelli had a lengthy and distinguished career in the States, but when he returned home he was rejected because the Italians felt he had la voce fissa, a “fixed” or “held” voice, without vibrato. This history exemplifies part of the difference between Italian and American taste: Americans always rejected singers with that vibrato. Italians found it emotive. Martinelli may have been accepted here in part because of his straight tones. Pertile succeeded in Italy because his sound was found emotional.
FC: Pertile arrived at the top although some of his qualities were not fantastic. He had passion, intensity, inspiration, legato.
Merritt’s falsetto and legato; his shortcomings in Bellini.
FC: I think the most important things in singing are expressivity, intensity and inspiration.
Caruso’s rejection of masque placement; Pertile’s placement was in the masque.
FC: For me Pertile was a great teacher. When you admire another singer greatly you perhaps come to resemble him. I assimilated a great deal from Pertile. We do seem to have similarities in temperament.
Allegedly Fleta physically assaulted Pertile and, as a result, was banned from La Scala by Toscanini.
Pertile’s false intonation.
FC: The transport into which he fell in giving expression–that is what caused him to sharp. [Corelli demonstrates. He also demonstrates the end of the the “Flower Song” and intentionally goes sharp on the high note.] When is an opera fanatic bound to try to take false intonation in stride? Callas’s and Olivero’s intonation; impassioned singing makes singing in tune more difficult.
To what extent does Giuseppe Morino replicate Rubini’s singing? Was the Met justified in firing Livia Budai?