Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Richard Tucker in Opera and Song Firestone|
Actor: Richard Tucker
Director: Voice of Firestone
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
For more than thirty years, The Voice of Firestone brought the world's greatest artists into the homes of music lovers. Now, through a special arrangement with the New England Conservatory in Boston, Kultur is proud to mak... more »
A view of Richard Tucker's repertoire
Steven A. Peterson | Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL) | 05/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD, with portrayals of Richard Tucker's performances on the old "Voice of Firestone," is a nice, dynamic introduction to his vocal art. Tucker was a force, as a tenor at mid-century. His tenor voice was made of steel. Later, his singing featured some annoying effects (catches and cries), but these affectations are not apparent on this DVD.
One interesting aspect of this product is its mix of popular and operatic works. It gives a sense of the sweep of Tucker's repertoire.
Let's take a listen to some of the cuts. . . .
"Celeste Aida" is a classic tenor work, but one that provides some vocal challenges. Tucker plays Radames, in love with Aida. Of course, the sound quality of this DVD is not so great, since it was a recording of televised programs from the late 1950s and early 1960s. One test: some tenors "scoop" when they sing the words "Aida" and "divina" at a couple points. No scooping by Tucker; he hits the notes dead on. Overall, a nice version (although the final note is what it could be).
Medley from Luders and Romberg. This represents a medley of songs about Germans, from operetta. The highlight is the inclusion of the "Drinking Song" from the "Student Prince" (one of my favorite operetta bon-bons). Kind of fun to listen to Tucker and the chorus go through these.
"America the Beautiful": Wow! This version is powerful and well worth listening to. Tucker's voice could (and did) overpower some popular songs (listen to his version of "What Now My Love!"). His powerful tenor voice does not overwhelm this iconic American song.
Then, to complete this review, two arias from "Rigoletto." Tucker's voice did well with Verdi; many of his best roles were in Verdi's operas (from "Simon Boccanegra" on). "Questa o quella" is a work sung by the wretched Duke of Mantua. This is a rollicking version, taken at a quick pace, thrown off with the appropriate level of cynicism. It is sung with "brio" and is a nice piece to listen to. The companion piece, "La donna e mobile" (rough translation to English--"Women are fickle"). He takes this at a quick pace, too. He throws the words, appropriate for the rake that he represents. A voice of steel that works well here.
The period during which Tucker recorded these works on "Voice of Firestone" represent, I think, his art at its best. Richard Tucker is not evident in the recorded oeuvre available today to the extent that he merits. He was a wonder among tenors at mid-century, and deserves to be better represented in DVDs and CDs in the early 21st century.