I think Titta Ruffo will be the first essay for my Verdi Baritones website. It makes sense, after all – I named my blog after him. He was called "Voce del leone" – the voice of the lion! Right now I am reading My Parabola (Ruffo’s autobiography) and an anthology of essays and sources on Ruffo edited by Andrew Farkas. I’m also re-surveying his recordings (using the Preiser transfers) and doing some general brushing up on his contemporaries…getting the vocal context, if you will.
In other news, I hope to attend one of the CSO’s concert performances of Otello this month, conducted by Riccardo Muti. It’s one of my very favorites operas. I am pleased to see that Michael Spyres—who I pronounced as one of those voices comprising “the future” of singing a couple years back (post here)—will be singing the role of Roderigo. A comprimario role to be sure, but it will be nice to hear him in person.
Combining these two thoughts, below is the Caruso/Ruffo recording of Si, pel ciel! – rightly considered by many to be the greatest opera cut ever recorded.