Pagliacci plus Highlights from Guglielmo Tell – Gobbi

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Gobbi, Lollobrigida, Poli. Voices of Fineschi and Masini; Morelli; Rome Opera Chor. & Orch. Italian, with non-optional English subtitles (1948). 68m. B&W + Highlights from Guglielmo Tell (1947). 24m. Gobbi. Some unobtrusive Eng. narration. Voices of G. Gatti and Soler; Questa; Rome Opera Chor. & Orch. B&W.

DVD Region 0 (all regions) PCM audio.
Detailed synopsis enclosed.

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New! Also available as part of our Tito Gobbi Collection Value Set (see link below).

The booklet that comes with the DVD contains an essay by Stefan Zucker, “José Soler: Among the Last Heroic Tenors.” Read the essay on this Web site.

See a video clip below.

In this excerpt Tonio tries to make love to Nedda.

Tully Potter, reviewing in International Opera Collector

“The fiery performance, conducted by Giuseppe Morelli with the Rome Opera Chorus and Orchestra, knocks all recent digital efforts into a cocked hat. A few cinematic liberties seem permissible to me and this is surely one of the best films of an opera.”

Alan Blyth, reviewing in Gramophone

“Tito Gobbi is another singer whose art is well preserved on film. Pagliacci features him as both Tonio and Silvio and was an early attempt to film on location, pre-echoing Zeffirelli in this work. The sultry Gina Lollobrigida was engaged to play Nedda to Onelia Fineschi’s excellent singing. Oddly the baritone Afro Poli mimed Canio to the dramatic tenor Galliano Masini’s superbly accented singing (‘Vesti la giubba’ impassioned and long-breathed). Gobbi gives an object-lesson in line and style in the Prologue, then goes way over the top as Tonio before adding a handsomely sung and convincingly acted Silvio. Giuseppe Morelli conducts Rome forces.”

David McKee, reviewing in The Opera Quarterly

“In a virtuoso double-dip, Tonio and Silvio are both Tito Gobbi, who even shares the screen with himself in one shot. His Tonio is tousled, mentally retarded, and morally warped; his Silvio cuts a dashing figure with slicked-back hair and a Clark Gable mustache. Vocally, Gobbi differentiates his characterizations by subtleties of diction, tone color, phrasing, and texture (Silvio light and almost crooning, Tonio rough and forthright).

“Afro Poli’s leonine, tortured Canio visually embodies the steel-lunged and dangerous-sounding voice of Galliano Masini. Soprano Onelia Fineschi is likewise supplanted by actress Gina Lollobrigida. Adept at lip-synching, La Lollobrigida also makes it clear why every man is dripping with lust for Nedda.

“One stunning shot shows a terrified Nedda prone, straight on, with the footlights arrayed behind her and rows of spectators extending beyond: a near 3-D effect.”

Michael Tanner, reviewing in Classic CD

5 Stars (highest rating)

“Gobbi is again possessed as Tonio/Silvio in Pagliacci, in which Nedda is acted by the sexpot Gina Lollobrigida, Canio is sung by the underrated Galliano Masini. This is a filmed opera, with advanced necking sequences, only passed by the censor, I suspect, because it was opera.”

 

For fifty years now, this Pagliacci has been my all-time favorite Italian film of an opera. It is the nearest thing to a film noir of any opera film, owing some of its verismo film style to the great postwar Italian film school. The final ten minutes are as well-realized a filmic presentation of opera as I have ever seen.–Joe Pearce, President of The Vocal Record Collector’s Society

This Pagliacci is a great film. It is as if the exemplary Italian director Mario Costa had realized a Tennessee Williams play. It is musically very strong: beginning with the strangest anti-dramatic “Prologue” imaginable, each singer is at his absolute best.–Bert Wechsler

Masini’s voice is huge, steely and ringing. Gobbi may well be the century’s most interesting and complex Italian baritone. Here he plays both Tonio and Silvio, differentiating the parts not only in physical characterization and appearance but in vocal color. Not content with finding one timbre for each, he offers fabulous variety of shading, beyond anything attempted by Fischer-Dieskau or Prey in their repertories. His only weak spot is lack of real tenderness as Silvio. Fineschi puts her heart into Nedda, singing with the beguiling pomegranatelike sound of Italian sopranos of the 30s. Her screen counterpart, Lollobrigida, makes it easy to understand why the three men run amok. Soler’s clarion tones make him more suitable for Arnoldo (in Tell) than anyone since. Both prints are crisp and detailed.–Stefan Zucker