Rosa Ponselle on the Air

COMPOSERS: Bizet,et al.,Farley,Grieg,Sandoval,Spontini
LABELS: Marston
PERFORMER: Rosa Ponselle (soprano), etc
CATALOGUE NO: 52012-2 ADD mono

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 ROSA PONSELLE (1897-1981) thought that broadcast recordings captured her voice more accurately than commercial ones, and Marston has issued its first volume of her Chesterfield Hour broadcasts from 1934-6.

However, these recordings are less than enticing: the condition of source material varies widely, and the spoken introductions to each selection (rarely by Ponselle herself) are lamentably corny.

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There’s a perplexing range of repertoire, including everything from ‘O divina Afrodite’ (from Pizzetti’s Fedra) to ‘The Big Brown Bear’. And while Ponselle is beyond doubt a great singer in the right repertoire, her imperious vehemence bludgeons the charm out of light-hearted material.