Leonard Warren

Nimbus historicals enter the 1950s with two grand Verdi singers from the Met

Author: 
John Steane

Leonard Warren

  • (Un) ballo in maschera, '(A) masked ball', ~, Alzati! là tuo figlio
  • (Un) ballo in maschera, '(A) masked ball', ~, Eri tu che macchiavi
  • (Il) trovatore, ~, Il balen del suo sorriso
  • (Il) trovatore, ~, Per me ora fatale
  • Simon Boccanegra, Come in quest'ora bruna, Figlia! a tal nome io palpito
  • Rigoletto, Pari siamo!
  • Rigoletto, ~, Povero Rigoletto!
  • Rigoletto, ~, Cortigiani, vil razza dannata
  • (La) forza del destino, '(The) force of destiny', ~, Solenne in quest'ora
  • (La) forza del destino, '(The) force of destiny', ~, Morir! Tremenda cosa!
  • (La) forza del destino, '(The) force of destiny', ~, Invano Alvaro
  • Aida, ~, Ciel! mio padre!
  • Aida, ~, Rivedrai le foreste imbalsamate
  • Otello, ~, Credo in un Dio crudel
  • Otello, Era la notte (Dream)
  • Falstaff, ~, È sogno? o realtà
  • Blow the man down
  • (The) Drummer and the Cook
  • Haul-a-way, Joe
  • (The) Drunken Sailor
  • A rovin'
  • Shenandoah
  • Rio Grande
  • America the Beautiful
  • Mother Machree
  • On the road to Mandalay
  • Giunga Din
  • Danny Devver
  • Mother o' mine
  • Rolling down to Rio
  • Boots
  • Battle Hymn of the Republic
  • Show Boat, Ol' man river
  • Aida, ~, Ritorna vincitor!
  • Aida, ~, O patria mia
  • (Un) ballo in maschera, '(A) masked ball', ~, Ecco l'orrido campo
  • (Un) ballo in maschera, '(A) masked ball', ~, Ma dall'arido stelo divulsa
  • (Un) ballo in maschera, '(A) masked ball', ~, Teco io sto
  • (Un) ballo in maschera, '(A) masked ball', ~, Morrò, ma prima in grazia
  • (La) forza del destino, '(The) force of destiny', ~, Son giunta!
  • (La) forza del destino, '(The) force of destiny', ~, La Vergine degli angeli
  • (La) forza del destino, '(The) force of destiny', Pace, pace, mio Dio
  • (La) forza del destino, '(The) force of destiny', ~, Io muoio! Confessione!
  • (Il) trovatore, ~, Tacea la notte placida
  • (Il) trovatore, ~, Timor di me?
  • (Il) trovatore, ~, D'amor sull'ali rosee
  • (Il) trovatore, ~, Miserere...Ah, che la morte ognora

Up to the present, Nimbus’s Prima Voce series has restricted itself to the transcription of 78rpm vocal recordings made between (roughly) 1900 and 1950. Now it moves into the era of the LP. For more than 20 years Warren and Milanov sang together at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, where they were stars of the front rank, both associated first and foremost with the central Italian repertoire. Warren’s career ended in 1960 when at 48, onstage in La forza del destino, he died of a heart attack. Milanov, five years his senior, joined the company in 1937 and retired in 1966.

They pair well: magnificent voices, ideally suited to the dramatic roles which represent them here. Milanov’s rich tones and authoritative manner placed her in a line with Rosa Ponselle, several of whose roles she inherited and on whose art she sometimes refined (hear the scrupulously clean and even “La vergine degli angeli”). Warren’s power and brilliant high notes recall Tito Ruffo, but a Ruffo who, unthinkably, had studied, as Warren did, with Giuseppe de Luca (hear the exemplary “Il balèn del suo sorriso”). In range and depth of expression Milanov was no Callas and Warren no Gobbi. Both have disconcerting moments of unsteadiness, counterbalanced by many more – Milanov in “Pace, mio Dio” or “D’amor sull’ ali rosee”, Warren in Rigoletto’s “Cortigiani” or Ford’s monologue – where their undoubted distinction rises to greatness.

Warren’s Verdi recital is coupled with a second disc devoted to sea shanties, settings of Kipling, and “Songs for Everyone”. Some of the shanties are disfigured by cute orchestral accompaniments, but “Haul away, Joe”, crowned by a ringing high A natural, is worth picking out. The Kipling group includes two arch-cringemakers, “Gunga Din” and “Danny Deever”. And the other songs may not be for quite everyone (me, for example) but there’s pleasure in “Love’s Old Sweet Song” and “Mother Machree”, sung simply and with totally admirable evennness and moderation. Transfers are fine – but I hope the Prima Voce series will not turn its back on the “prim’ anni”, the first 20 or 30 years of recording, where it has made such a valued provision and where so much remains to be harvested.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2018