Predit cd cover

CD Marston Lagniappe series

The first time I ever heard the voice of Mascia Predit was on my small transistor radio in boarding school. For some inexplicable reason I was able to capture –in Flanders- the BBC radio in the late evening hours and I often tuned in to improve my English.
It was somewhere in the mid-seventies that Peter Ustinov selected Predit singing on one of his desert island discs.  I was immediately hooked on her singing and her remarkable voice yet it would take me more than two decades to find more recordings of this mystery singer. Even then these finds were limited to not even a handful of tracks on two VRCS issues and The Record of Singing.

Biographical data were as scarce as her recordings. All praise then to Marston records and  Jeffrey Miller the producer of this release to put her name back in the limelight.  Not only did they assemble all (?) of her commercial recordings including three unpublished test pressings but the biographical sketch Is the most complete up to date. I was surprised to read that the Latvian (1906) born singer died in a nursing home in Baltimore in 2001.

Predit (*) recorded for La voce del Padrone, Cetra and HMV. Being mainly a concert singer in an era where one could still make a living in the recital circuit on its own she recorded no opera unless one considers Scarlatti’s aria di Aldrasto more of an operatic piece than an aria anticche.
Recordings (1945-1949) on the CD include compositions of Mussorgsky (with orchestra**), Tchaikowsky, Borodin, Chopin, Scarlatti (in Italian) and Wolf (in German).  Pianists are Gerald Moore and Giorgio Favaretto.

Predit’s voice is a pure, melancholy, silverly lyric soprano with a smoothly produced legato which she uses with the intelligence and taste of a cultured musician. She displays immaculate phrasing and an intensely musical approach to whatever she recorded.  Yes, it’s a Slavic kind of voice but without the unpleasant edge. She initially trained with her compatriot Evgeny Vitting however she also studied with Salvatore Salvati in Switzerland and with Rosina Storchio in Italy.

A CD absoluty not to be missed.

Rudi van den Bulck, February 2016


* In 1971 Predit appeared as a Russian tourist in the Visconti film, “Death in Venice,” and sang snatches of the Mussorgsky Lullaby , while sitting in a beach chair
** There’s also a broadcast recording of the six Mussorgsky songs under Markevitch (Berlin RIAS 1952)