American recordings 1946-1947
Naxos Historical 8.111239 (2007)

CD Living Era CD Aja 5618

This release was previously issued by the now defunct Romophone company.
Now it’s your opportunity to get it at a bargain price and you should do so as post WW-II Melchior still has a lot to offer. The selections are vast and include Léhar-Pagliacci-Tosca-traditionals-Strauss- De Curtis-Kern-De Koven- Christmas songs-Porter-Schubert-Bach   and much more.
The Wagnerian tenor brings panache to these interpretations and it is amazing how much vocal heft is left after all these years of heavy repertoire. “The little vacation from Walhalla” becomes him well. The timbre is still there, only a bit more baritonal than before and the top register sounds slightly squeezed. Moreover lots of the repertoire is totally new to his recorded output and will please fans and lovers of good tenor singing alike.
The Ezio Pinza CD offers his very best but also regrettably some of his worst. Contrary to some I really never cared for his South Pacific recording, Tozzi was so much better in my opinion. The redeeming factors on this Cd are his early operatic recordings which display his unique vocal talent. Nevertheless some of the later recordings are worthwhile having too. I quite enjoyed his ‘Solamente una voz’ luckily only partially sung in his heavy accentuated English. The jewel in the crown is track 25 “Luna Rossa” where he brings some Schipa flair to his interpretation. His Deep river isn’t bad but far from Paul Robeson’s magic. Tosti’s Serenata becomes him better though it’s not really a bass song.
I also was surprised to see the legendary Nathan Millstein mentioned as the violin accompanist to Pinza’s English-language rendition of Carl Bohm’s “Still, wie die Nacht”.

Rudi van den Bulck, Opera nostalgia