Banfield, R: Lord Byron’s Love Letter

Naxos: 8111362

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Banfield, R: Lord Byron’s Love Letter



Catalogue No:




Release date:

31st Jan 2011




66 minutes


CD (download also available)

Summer Opera Sale

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Banfield, R: Lord Byron’s Love Letter

Recorded in Rome in 1958

Astrid Varnay (The Old Woman), Gertrude Ribla (The Spinster, Ariadne), Nicoletta Carruba (The Matron) & Mario Carlin (The Husband)

Academy Symphony Orchestra of Rome, Nicola Rescigno


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Reissue Producer and Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn

The RCA Victor recording of Raffaello de Banfield’s 1955 opera Lord Byron’s Love Letter is a true rarity, remaining in their catalogue for only a short time and never reissued on CD before now. Based on a Tennessee Williams play set in late 19th-century New Orleans during the Mardi Gras, it revolves around an eccentric old lady, lost in the past, who displays to visitors an old love letter for money, purportedly by the rakish English poet. The opera was praised by Time magazine for its ‘vocal beauty’.

Raffaello de Banfield: Lord Byron's Love Letter

Scene 1: When are you going to learn how to play that piece? (Old Woman, Spinster)

Scene 2: Won't you come in? (Spinster, Matron, Old Woman)

Scene 2: Also he swam the Hellespont (Old Woman, Spinster, Matron)

Scene 3: Ah! Winston! Remove that silly hat! (Matron, Spinster, Old Woman, Husband)

Scene 4: We set out in the early morning for the Acropolis (Spinster, Old Woman)

Scene 4: Do you mind if I don't climb any higher? (Old Woman, Spinster, Matron)

Scene 4: Stop there! It's quite enough (Old Woman, Spinster, Matron, Husband)

Scene 4: Une saison enchantee! I mused. Beguiled (Spinster, Old Woman)

Scene 4: Mama, mama - you'll miss it! (Husband, Matron, Spinster, Old Woman)

Scene 5: Canaille! Canaille! Canaille! (Spinster, Old Woman)

Alban Berg: Wozzeck, Op. 7

Act I: Interlude - Military Music - Cradle Song: Soldaten, Soldaten sind schoner Burschen!

Act III: Aber die Pharisaer brachten ein Weib zu ihm

Act III: Ringel, Ringel, Rosenkranz

BBC Music Magazine

October 2011


“1950s rarity (on a libretto by Tennessee Williams) provides a vehicle for sopranos Astrid Varnay and Gertude Ribla - who's also impressive in a pioneering recording of excerpts from Berg's Wozzeck.”

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