laurivolpibookcover (as Pollione, dedicated ro Carol Longone, courtesy coll. Charles Mintzer)
By Maurizio Tiberi

Edition TIMACLUB 2012, pp 691

EUR 60     Shipment in Europe Euro 15 /  Shipment out of Europe Euro 25

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Every self-respecting collector of vocal recordings has known Maurizio Tiberi of course for years. A pioneer in the preservation of the vocal legacy of Italy’s legendary opera singers he has been responsible for numerous interesting LP and CD releases, often with splendid booklets, read in most cases complete biographies. Several of them are sold out completely, others are still available and I urge our readers to acquire them before they also will disappear forever. In the past he published the only biography of Lina Pagliughi and more recent he was responsible for the only and definitive Giovanni MARTINELLI biography. A must-have book for every tenor fan. A must-have book too is this release on the vocal miracle which was Giacomo Lauri-Volpi. This 691 page opus is a remarkable achievement not only because of its many years of research but also for its unique iconographic material. Literally hundreds of rare photos are included not only of the great tenor but also of his colleagues, theatre programmes, movie stills, cartoons, record sleeves etc. A goldmine!

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What else is there to enjoy? There’s a complete chronology of his career, a repertory list, an index,  a complete discography (78rpm, LP’s and CD) and a chapter devoted to his cinema career. Readers familiar with the career of Lauri-Volpi will know the tenor was also a prolific writer with several books to his credit. Tiberi provides us with a  complete survey not only of every book the tenor wrote but also of the hundreds of articles he wrote for various Italian music magazines. Some titles are fascinating and one wishes one could read them as well but that would take another volume of 700 pages. A few examples to wet your appetite : “quando la voce è tradita dal disco” (on Jussi Bjorling), la prima Turandot (on Rosa Raisa), il karakiri del tenore (on di Stefano), una donna coraggiosa (on Callas) etc.  Lauri-Volpi (like Tauber, Schmidt, Schipa, Bergonzi) composed as well and one song was published by Sonzogno and issued on record by Eddie Smith (Golden Age of Opera series).  

The biography itself is a marvel of research, seasoned with anecdotes, reviews, contracts and letters (!! Callas included). Tiberi doesn’t eschew Lauri-Volpi’s relationship with Mussolini –which makes fascinating reading -  and he tackles in depth the clash (1929) between the tenor and Toscanini in Berlin. Tiberi also gives the final answer to whom Puccini really wanted as his first Calaf and he devotes several pages on the ‘friendship’ between the tenor and Franco Corelli including two rare photos. Moreover the narrative is seasoned with several biographies (different type setting) of important colleagues of Lauri-Volpi. So for the same price one also gets a rather extended biography of Antonio (Toto) Cotogni, Lauri-Volpi’s teacher but also other biographical thumbnails including Guido Volpi, Carmelo Alabiso, Emma Carelli, Rosina Storchio, Gilda dalla Rizza and many others.
In a vast work like this typos are perhaps inevitable and luckily there are only a few: the critic Paul Tinel is spelled Tinnell in the index and Tinnel in the narrative, a funny one is the late Harold Rosenthal editor of ‘opera magazine’ who becomes ‘pianista’ in the index. As said just a handful and they mainly deal with non-Italian names. 
Maurizio Tiberi –again- is to be complemented for his heroic efforts (don’t forget this is a one man’s enterprise) to preserve the heritage of Italian vocal art.

Rare footage of the legendary Verona Huguenots with the tenor and Rosa Raisa


Another must-have book by Maurizio Tiberi :


To read more about this book, click here.

To order the book, same way as the Lauri Volpi book, see above