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This is backgrounds of music for broadcast Saturday March 15. Good evening. WCBS radio presents in cooperation with the Manhattan School of Music of New York and other in our special series of programs on the backgrounds of music. Your host for the series is Mr. John Brownlee world famous artist leading baritone of the Metropolitan Opera Association president of the American Guild of musical artists and director of the Manhattan School of Music. Tonight in the 15 of his series of broadcasts Mr. Bromley will discuss operatic recordings of great historic interest. Mr. Brownlee. Good evening. The enthusiastic response to my recent broadcast of the single act of Wagner's devout goatee made me believe that you might be interested to hear something of other historical recordings of opera accustomed as we are today to long playing records and tape. It is easy to forget that in the memory of many of us the recording of falling foul prose and symphonies was
once an undertaking of mammoth proportions. Some of the earliest recordings of complete operas were made line born in England. And as I took part in them and was also the reason for the first experiment in recording at the Glen born Opera House I thought you might like to hear about it. In 1934 Figaro had been recorded without the recitative in the studios of the gramophone company in London and the following year plans were made to record Cosi Fan Tutte day in its entirety at the end of the grind season. I was singing there on leave from the Paris Opera and had to return right after my last performance. No amount of pressure or persuasion could get me the extra time for recording. So the possibility of recording in grind on itself was built into a team of technicians warmed over the opera house measured the acoustics etc. and wrote a lengthy report proving conclusively that it would be impossible to record down there. Fortunately however a man by the name of Fred guys who for years had handled for the gramophone company all the temperamental prima donnas tenors and bases and possibly some baritones too was not convinced.
Not being a technician himself he thought it best to be sure so he sent a recording van down to grind on and some test records were run off in the opera house. The results when processed were so amazingly good that they just would not believe it at the factory. Fortunately however it was true and we went ahead and recorded the whole of cozy day during the last week of the season. Of all the great operas few have had such ups and downs at the box office as cozy funded day but in spite of this. Musicians have always held it in great esteem. Many having prized it as the finest of the Mozart operas the libretto of course is the weakness. But over its absurd and ridiculous situations the genius of Mozart has lavished some of its most glorious music. I'm going to play for you an hour some of the highlights from the first act of cozy from the recording we made at Brian born in 1935. The first scene takes place in a cafe in Naples in the year 1790. Don Alfonso a cynical old bachelor man of the world and his companions two young officers are discussing the faithfulness of women. Each
man in turn protests that his fiance would be incapable of inconstancy but Alfonzo knows better. He has lived and seen life. Here is a portion of the opening scene and you will hear head on Nash's Ferrando will spend as go there more. And myself as Don Alfonso conducted by the late Dr Fritz Boyce. Yeah. My little boy my ex-partner you. Know
I think told me to go much longer. The old oh rid of the. Old. After some vigorous argument in the form of rest of the TIV Alfonso offers to prove his belief that women are incapable of fidelity by testing the fiances of the young man.
A bit is made and they promise to do everything he tells them to do and especially not to divulge a word to the fiances a joyous trio concludes this scene as each declares how he will spend his winnings to eat was far as the yada yada yada. The old. One here with me holding me. You mean your golden years. And you know
her heart. Gave. A week you say or nothing close and your her. Hair and her mother. Load a load. Load load load. Now. In the second scene we find the ladies in their garden looking over the Bay of Naples awaiting their
fiances. But Don Alfonso arrives with simulated grief tells them that they have sold their sweethearts have been ordered to join their regiment there on day one go to the animal arrive to bid farewell to their ladies. And in the following quintet you will hear also the voices of Venus So as as Fiona delayed and Louise Helots grew back as daughter Bella. Yeah. You know. Where.
Hello to you. Oh. No I was oh I was. Good. Oh. Oh. Oh oh.
He did a little bit closer. We'll let you know. It was when the yard was was. A On the news at all. I am the ladies are grief stricken and beg their lovers to draw their swords and punish them for their suffering hots Ferrando and go to demo very proudly not to Don Alfonso but he merely replies.
Wait and see. A roll of the drum and the officers must him back and the reach of the TV now warms into another quintet one of the loveliest and most exquisitely humorous passages in the whole score. Oh God. Oh. Oh oh we. Know.
Hit of the week. The. Old. All over there oh ok.
In the next scene the ladies bowed while we meet Despina the poet realist made the foil to Don Alfonso. She has brought chocolate for her mistresses and samples it before they arrive. Their outburst of despair have little effect on this Bina as she proceeds to give them some shrewd advice. The gentlemen are away at the wall of suspended. Now is your chance to have a little fun. All men particularly soldiers. I don't like. Here is I mean I zing as Despina singing the aria. Meanwhile many in solo Dotty. Yeah. Yeah.
Good. News there. When we. When we. Were. Younger. One of them. Would. Not be. Running nothing. Movement meaning that it. Was. Going to. Let me in English. The meaning. Of living was going to. Be. What you give. Me my God. They're getting a bit of gloom. There and let me know when we're. Going to be one of.
Them remember. There was. Only one. Don Alfonso now appears on the scene and quickly games Despina as the Legion's with a gold coin. He proceeds to admit Ferrando I'm going to get him oh fantastically disguised as Albanians. And to his delight Despina does not recognise them. Her laughter brings the ladies back into the room and the Albanians begin their protestations of live.
They are of course repulsed with great vigor and few want to lead he orders them out of the house in a long race of the TIV. Then follows the great home a scholar you know which you will now hear sung by Ina Suez. In the. Morning. Let it you know.
Get it and. Get it. Feel. A. Little. Low.
Yeah. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh oh oh.
Oh. Oh. We were. In the last scene of this Act a good deal of spoofing goes on. The Albanians take poison because of the cruel treatment by the ladies. While Alfonso rushes all for a doctor he arrives and is none other than this being in disguise. He produces a huge magnet which works wonders on the suicides and the ladies begin to show signs of interest at the moment however when the convalescents demand a kiss. The sisters burst forth again in great indignation. I'm afraid we will only have time for the last portion of this wonderful finale. God.
Yahweh. Oh yeah. Lanny Lanny. Lanny. Yeah. Yeah yeah. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah oh yeah. Oh yeah
oh I am. Yeah I am. Thank. You have been listening to portions of the first act of Mozart opera Cosi Fan Tutte record of that line born in 1935 conducted by Dr. Fritz Bush with group daughter Bella Irene izing at Despina
Fassbender and myself as Don Alfonzo next week. I would like to bring you some highlights from our own recording of Mozart's Don Giovanni. After 10 minutes of news and sports listen to the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. You have been listening to the 15th in the series of backgrounds of music broadcast featuring Mr. John Brownlee as your host. These programs produced by WCBS radio in cooperation with the Manhattan School of Music of New York are presented in the public interest and are directed by Cathy Redner. Why.
Why. Whew.
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Backgrounds of music
Producing Organization
WCBS (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Manhattan School of Music (New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The fifteenth episode of this series discusses operatic recordings of great historic interest, including Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti.
Series Description
Hosted by John Brownlee, this series seeks to provide in-depth discussion of important music.
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791
Media type
Host: Brownlee, John, 1901-1969
Performer: Brownlee, John, 1901-1969
Performer: Nash, Heddle, 1896-1961
Performer: Cleveland Orchestra
Producing Organization: WCBS (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: Manhattan School of Music (New York, N.Y.)
Subject: Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 4973 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:31:00
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Chicago: “Backgrounds of music; Opera,” 1957-03-15, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “Backgrounds of music; Opera.” 1957-03-15. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Backgrounds of music; Opera. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from