Renata Tebaldi’s numerous appearances on television made her unique among her contemporaries. Four complete operatic performances as well as televised concerts and guest appearances on major variety programs in the U.S. and abroad have made their way to home video. The soprano’s glowing physical presence made her a natural for the TV cameras while the sumptuousness of her voice asserted itself through even the flimsiest of television speakers.
Tebaldi made three appearances on the Bell Telephone Hour between 1959 and 1967. As collected here, the six arias demonstrate the soprano at the height of her powers in five of her greatest roles. (Though Tebaldi never performed Cavalleria Rusticana on stage, she did make a stunning studio recording of the opera.) The two Butterfly arias from 1959, radiantly sung, are amongst Tebaldi’s first TV appearances, taken from a program that also holds the distinction of being one of the earliest extant color telecasts. By 1967, Tebaldi was clearly comfortable in the spinto-dramatic repertoire with an awesome use of the chest register in the Cavalleria and Gioconda arias. This collection will delight the myriad fans of one of this century’s most beloved divas.
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.