Lucia Danieli: Registrazioni dal vivo (1956 -1967)

CD Clama 52

Lucia Danieli will be known almost exclusively for her Suzuki on the Callas-Karajan-Butterfly though some collectors will have a vague idea the mezzo also sang some less important part in the Tebaldi-Del Monaco Mefistofele, the same couple’s Tabarro and the real cognoscenti remember her as a splendid Lola on the Tebaldi-Björling Cavalleria. And after having listened to this CD with live recordings (some of her own collection) one wonders why no major company ever offered her bigger assignments. Granted, Decca had Simionato but Rosalind Elias on RCA, Elena Nicolai on EMI and even Fedora Barbieri are no match for the rich and impressive sound Danieli displayed in her best years. The voice is homogenous from bottom (maybe a little bit weak) to top and shines with beauty. Indeed one is reminded of the best recordings of young Fiorenza Cossotto as Danieli has much the same silvery timbre though I doubt Cossotto ever had the powerhouse sound of Danieli who even succeeds in obliterating  Flaviano Labo in a long and exciting Trovatore scene. That piece was recorded in 1956 six years after her début in a major role (Azucena incidentally) and 11 years later she sounds still as impressive and beautiful in a 1967 Ballo with Bergonzi. The chronology however shows a gap of one whole year soon after and I don’t believe this was due to her marriage only. When she returned to the scene in 1969 there were a lot of performances in modern opera or lesser known opera and I fear she had given so much during her good years that the voice went down the drain. But in those halcyon days the voice is glorious. She died in 2005, 77 years of age and a pity it is she didn’t live to hear this splendid testimony of her art. We may be grateful to Mr. Tiberi and his Clama-label for reminding us of this magnificent voice which would nowadays have been the uncontested nr 1 in the world. The CD has a splendid booklet with a full chronology, some photographs and several pages of biography. But please Mr. Tiberi, by now you know the ignorance (some would even say the arrogance) of much of the world outside Italy and I fear the sale of  your magnificent records which deserve to be well known is hampered by not including an English translation. So remedy this situation as this Danieli-issue (and a lot of your other recordings) cannot be absent from any vocal buff’s collection.

Jan Neckers, Operanostalgia