CD Ponto-2003

Non-Dutch record collectors will probably only know the name of Derksen through his recording of Ballo excerpts along Christina Deutekom. Derksen (1931-2004) was a Dutch baritone who enjoyed a great career in the Netherlands where he still is immensely popular so it came as no surprise that producer Walter Knoeff decided to release four(!) 4 CD boxes featuring several of his live b’casts for Dutch radio. And the interest doesn’t lie in the rocksure technique of the baritone alone but ditto in several of his colleagues. Volume three includes a complete recording of I due Foscari with a remarkably impressive Angeles Gulin and a stupendous Ugo Trama. As for the latter you may be in for a big surprise as there’s just not one bass around today at his level, in his days he was taken for granted. Such was/is also the fate of a great favourite of mine the New York born soprano Marilyn Tyler who enjoyed a major career in the Netherlands. You can hear her opposite Derksen in a Traviata recording going back to 1958 under the young Bernard Haitink and also featuring the underrated Michele Molese at his very best as Alfredo.
Of immense joy as well are the Don Carlo excerpts under Hans Vonk with the very young Neil Shicoff in the title role, showing what a great talented tenor he was. The box includes a wonderful booklet with several photographs. I can only wish more singers were honoured in this way. The Cd’s are reasonably priced. For more info go to the Ponto website : www.mitridate.nl

Rudi van den Bulck, Opera Nostalgia