Puccini's Tosca

Saturday at the Opera

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

Puccini's story of longing, lust, murder and suicide has been heard at the Met thousands of times in the company's history. This week's episode highlights one standout: We travel back to an April 7, 1962 radio broadcast newly remastered from the original sources.

Soprano Leontyne Price sings the title role, with tenor Franco Corelli as Mario Cavaradossi and baritone Cornell MacNeill as Baron Scarpia. Kurt Adler conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

Note: The originally scheduled broadcast of Wagner's Ring cycle from the LA Opera for today has been postponed. The cycle will begin next Saturday, Oct. 15.

Comments [13]

Hope Brown from manhattan

What a Saturday afternoon at the opera! I was riveted, moved, teary eyed. Please play more from the good old days, and thank you for including George Jellinek. I had a wonderful time.

Oct. 09 2011 10:11 PM
Gus Vasiliadis from Mahwah, NJ

Say what Bjorling/Bergonzi fans may wish, Corelli is exciting, fabulous in his own indiscreet way. He's one part of what opera is about. Price, well, what can one say? Her vocalism is sumptuous, unfettered, and unpretentious. Wish I had seen this performance. Saw the one with Callas, and am glad I saw it, not just heard it.

Oct. 08 2011 07:51 PM
yichihara from NJ

Tosca has been one of my favorite operas since my childhood. I used to hum E lucevan le stelle whenever I heard it, together with the performer I was listing to. My mother used to talk about Leontyne Price fondly one of my mother’s favorite female opera singers. Bravo! Thank you WQXR for playing this.

Oct. 08 2011 03:34 PM

A brilliant performance. Trying my best to ignore the distracting sound of the open-mouth coughers in the audience.


Oct. 08 2011 02:48 PM
Paul from New York

Through my tears, I am thrilled to the core. What a surprise! How fabulous to hear this - for me - for the first time. When something is so right, there seem to be no words adequate to shout and exclaim. Maria Callas and Carol Bergonzi won my heart forever years ago, but Franco Corelli and Leontyne Price seem to have an equal or most honorable claim to an extraordinary delivery of this wonderful opera. A million thanks, WQXR!

Oct. 08 2011 02:45 PM
Matthew Cervenka

A wonderful performance !! So good that I can't read the newspaper!!!
A great artist & great lady!!

Oct. 08 2011 02:41 PM
Eleanor Haas from New York

Surely one of the greatest Toscas of all time! Price is extraordinary. Her voice has the extraordinary breadth and warmth this role demands. The high notes are as pure as the low ones, and the passion . . . I'd forgotten what a great baritone MacNeil was. He is Price's peer. As surely as Corelli. Such a perfect pair. What a joy to hear this magnificent performance!

Oct. 08 2011 02:22 PM
Diane K. from Germany

No insult to the singing landscape of today, but weren't those singers of yesteryear tremendous! The era of Leontyne Price, Corelli, Bjoerling et al. was the "sweet spot" of opera--fabulous singers experienced live in acoustically wonderful venues, and most importantly, recorded at a time when recording advances had reached a level of excellence that could bring their art over the decades to audiences today in a condition exceptionally comparable to the actual performance--how lucky for those of us to experience their art again and for those of us who can experience it for the first time. A small request from someone who had the pleasure of hearing some of those singers live at the opera and in concert halls--please, please consider playing the recording of Ms. Price's last Aida at the Met, the one when the audience erupted for a good 10 minutes after the end of O patria mia, knowing that one of the greatest Aidas that ever, ever was, was leaving the opera stage after that performance. I'm sure the Met must have it on tape. It would be a great gift to the audience of opera today. Thanks!

Oct. 08 2011 02:16 PM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

Turned it off after the TeDeum. Could not take Mr. Corelli's screaming in Italian. His career ended when he was still young. Quality of the sound was quite good. Jussi Bjoerling and Gigli ruined me forever with their singing of Mario. Corelli did not seem to be able to sing pianissimo nor have any nuances in this. Have a recording with The Golden Swede Bjoerling and Zinka Milanov. If I ever get to be owned by a black cat, I will name her Zinka. Where have the 50 years gone? I had forgotten how bad Corelli truly was.
Big ham or should I remark Prosciutto? Or as my husband remarks, Prosciuttone. Really big ham.

Oct. 08 2011 02:03 PM
larry eisenberg from nyc

In Tosca, Puccini excelled,
The score and the stage action jelled,
Corelli, Leontyne,
Vocal prince, vocal queen,
A performance unparalleled.

Oct. 08 2011 01:45 PM
Nancy from Denville,NJ

I love this opera and have named a champion dog of mine,"Tosca".
(Ch.Starcastle's Vissi d'arte)

Oct. 08 2011 01:43 PM
Walter Fekula from New York

Great recording with an Allstar cast. Where have the 50 years gone? Corelli never needed to push his voice. Always had in under control.

Oct. 08 2011 01:29 PM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

Ms. Price was rather wonderful in this role.Mr. Corelli was gorgeous but tended to push the voice. But I guess gorgeous is OK. And Cornell MacNeill could act. As I've remarked before, this opera is lurid, melodramatic and WONDERFUL. Love the contrast at the end of Act One between the chorus singing the TeDeum and Scarpia voicing his filthy desires. Tosca you make me forget God.

Oct. 08 2011 12:53 PM

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