Giuseppe Taddei, 1916 – 2010

Giuseppe Taddei, one of opera’s most intelligent and masterful performers, has died in Rome. He was 93.

With Herbert von Karajan, Taddei gave two performances that I consider unsurpassed: In the title rôle of Verdi’s Falstaff, and as Tonio in Pagliacci. There are Tonios with more secure tone, but none that I’ve heard equals Taddei in soulfulness or in the natural, telling use of words. (I cannot listen to that performance of the Prologo without crying. That Pagliacci, to my mind, is one of the very greatest operatic performances preserved on disc.)

Taddei is also a splendid Scarpia to the Tosca of Leontyne Price, again under Karajan, and this is only scratching the surface of his discography.

Taddei sang a dozen times with Maria Callas between 1951 and 1958: as Amonastro in Aida, Enrico in Lucia, Gérard in Andrea Chénier, and Germont in La traviata. I find both Callas and Taddei in subpar form in this 1951 Mexico City Traviata, but perhaps that is to be expected given that the conductor was apparently on Quaaludes.

Riposa in pace, insigne Maestro, e grazie per la Sua arte sovrana.

No comments:

Post a Comment