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The following program was produced for national educational radio under a grant from the National Home Library Foundation by W. B U R Boston. Boston University radio presents Hall of song the story of the Metropolitan Opera from 1893 to 1966. You are the one. You're. Cool. Good. Hosts are miles cast and Dick is a critic of The New York World Tribune. And Milton Cross.
Once the news became known that the Metropolitan would definitely leave its old home at the end of the 965 season. The opera house said Broadway and 31st seemed more crowded with memories a never before during the intermission as patrons lingered before the array of pictures and manuscripts which lined the long Commodores as if they were trying to recreate some great performance of years gone by or pay tribute to some finally remembered artist. It seemed that all the great moments of the past 83 years had been carefully wrapped and stored away within the walls of the old building. The Golden Horseshoe today glittered as brilliantly as it ever had in the days when the boxes were occupied by Venables asters and Whitney. It didn't matter at all that the great gold curtain was rather dingy after 25 years service because each time it rose the hall was filled with the sounds of opera. In the tradition of the Metropolitan tradition that would always be unique and each night after the last limousine had drawn away from the carriage entrance and the building was wrapped in
darkness. It seemed impossible to imagine that this place which was so long had been synonymous with Opera in New York would soon be abandoned for all its in adequate seas. It had been a good friend and had weathered many storms. One of the longest careers in the whole history of the metropolitan was that of Giovanni Martinelli the renowned tenor I made his debut in 1913 and remained at the top of the company's roster for 33 consecutive year. One of the tennis closest friends and colleagues is Soprano Lisi Alba Niecy whose 26 year career began in 1940 and ended with her performance in the gala concert that closed the old house. Let's listen now as Madame Albon AC and Maestro Martinelli here with our producer Richard Calhoun. Together review that long period of metropolitan history embraced by their distinguished careers.
But I do not know you made your debut back in 1913 and continued to sing for 33 seasons after her to this season's reception at the Metropole in 1930 I came here I came in the country in 1913. But maybe maybe that maybe this was a moment to say be interested to the audiences of the public because of my earlier debut in the United States so it was not a limiter party where I was it was a feel that you know you see other time other times the company the company the throbber of Hunchy Cowell there were even people that. And they were short of 10 of us. So the manager they only did act on them clear for company and he was a good friend but with the out of the labels of the middle probably don't Julio got because outside he didn't front he made in the US has a police got the sending me a ten order because I don't know we with whom I can open my season in Philadelphia when I says I send you the young man that they just engaged
you on the Martinelli. So the matter of how is this that the mayor read that you were in the United States was in fear that two weeks before my debut as a major party and then in the evening I sang Tosca with the Merry Go ahead of them and Vandy but who the model them that was a made here first appearance in the United States two weeks after I thought the metropolitan with a look at your body and thought you just got the conductor was just a product of you know about and then about the my first appearance on the property down in the opera a boy was well then in that same season and just actually in a few weeks after you did Tasco with from start and Scotty and butterfly with Farrar and Scotty and then on the twenty seventh of December you did your first run a maze at the Manchester there was a busy season with the way the first mini me and conducting.
They worked a great deal with Toscanini Oh yes we started as I think it was the restart thing Romain one thing 11 means two years before my of my coming to America in the girl of the Golden West. The very first promise they'd given in in Europe. I auditioned for Toscanini for Putin himself and well he decided. Is this young man could could fit the role of Johnson in The Girl of the Golden West for the performance of our own. What are your recollections of Scotty was such a great talent and so few people now can relate all working together. It's kind of Pia. It's got about every every contact that it was a great really great even even. I don't know what to say if I shot a place for instance in the butterfly was a great burial. Very American consulate Madame I was lazy and here a fly is probably your greatest role.
Well one of them at least that's what they say but I can call it it's my lucky though. But every time I sing that in the new opera house and then I realize it and for so many years to sing in the same city same town where are you now in your career you were making your debut with a good number of years after Maestro Martin early in 1940. Oh yes and then I was so lucky and fortunate to sync with your honey mustard. We sing together and Boreham Carmen which I did make. So not the only thing he really articulate I didn't sing longer with this great tenor OMH. Maybe in or tell love which he was really liberating typed. This opera and some of the rolled switches really he used to sing with such a veil over such a youth with such joy.
So that's a tenor I like to sing with. Wouldn't they put every thing it ever did. Fever they love or just sex everything under stage. So much in Italy would be a really one and my preference because he used to sing in this way too with this lovely voice and lovely acting wonderful actor and everything but I was really very fortunate to see him in various states of the weather that's what I got you here but was right thought will really you wear on my sleeve in 1957 when I was just thinking why why I cannot be myself or this label. This is actual for months. Well maestro in your career of thirty three seasons you sang with some of the greatest tenors to namely Caruso and Lowery Popinjay early who were a very very good friendship a very very quickly got happening on the stage you know well now yeah I was sorry but I was outside of the other stage.
Everybody on their own. But we did we get along perfectly alright. My very first appearances fears have us all with it. Caro's I'm not sure you can imagine it was really about the protests. I used to see him I used to go to to hear some of the of the early also. And there were any to see me in private as Johnny common very often because you know those are those are all that I'm singing now dimly. VERY VERY VERY EASY COME can be can be a new song sometimes so do come out with the cause of this is is already is already on the you don't need anymore to work on more than necessary. So so I guess I buy so much more. He is when you see him you know it's on time. So maybe someday maybe we would put the little bits of I don't say jealousy but some are resentful in the mind of our
equally to be there all the time watching what you do what you don't do and said. But there was a knock it was it was really good. It was the older brother. Well when I was probably your most noted role as Otello and yet you waited until your twenty fifth season. Are you using the word well I knew I knew part of the score because here and there some time movie I had I had the pleasure to sing and sing in concert for just a year so I remember with Danny's eyes saying do it with you. I think Lauren's debate some time but never I never I never had it the chorus always had the courage to put myself in this. Hey we're all in the in my shoulder because because I knew that it was a very very taxing role
and there when they started to take an interest in this role I was still singing the what we call the lyrics we repaired to our own. And I was afraid if I were to take a hit I mean those are all of what I love that. And though I don't say I will spoil my voice but they will not be able anymore to sing those of us this is the reason they tell you wait wait no wait a minute very first but I promise I would love us in San Francisco. Nineteen thirty six. I'm my age of 51 years I was 51 years old when I when I had the courage to put on my shoulder the tremendous way you succeed so well and so sure too because that's the way to do. Yes to study opera for a few years and then to come out with this really to be a really how do you say Brady to and to be sure you would not give up I have to first start with
a lyric and my abuser will be this is Richard to sing some of those a little bit but that will be how many years of neutral at all right. You look so young so fresh and so like a little boy. Well the plot says that it is only 18 years old. Yes and you know you are 18 years old. That's what you have to look at and the part when I win terms of repertoire and that amount of measure you've stayed mainly with the French and Italian roles and some of the lighter ones. But Maestro MARTIN Ali seems to have done everything from Othello to even roles in Boris Godunov in a revival of papers all the run. Well do this and that that was a very very early in my in money appearance in the middle party time. I think they all but all was in one thing. Seventeen or eighteen. That was my very first my very first.
But we called attempted to sing in English. Was it me. Yes. You can imagine if you could. Especially the speaking part as I was speaking but I will that I use I use a 1:58 to write the words I'm in my cough. You see this is the truth. You analyze the risk but not the lie the words in English write the words in the way that they will promotion with a fanatic. What about the Boers Good luck to you I never say nobody is good enough. But if you want to say what I did the very end of my college career I was. My tremendous work in Tristan Tristan and Isolde when you do the ice and the reason is not there with the influx that Miss Claxton in Chicago 1939.
That's fantastic in German in Japanese mind you but I don't. I know just a few words in German but it was a very very different gentleman that we speak. Those are a few words the two compared with the way the beautiful poem at the back of the rock's tremendous difference. But I surely surely slowly but surely I did it. But you know you know I can see that I can see the the very first the language after Italian. Look you don't mind if they said Italian because I'm feeling like our language and we think that this is the best language to see anything but after they tell you I'm very very I think the Russian language isn't the most it's like the most beautiful to see. Not if you're just going to stick a needle. Yes you know I have to tell you and a second language to think beautiful. Do their alphabet I think they have a they have that they know too well for vowels.
Yes as it is in our of it we have more yeah I was six hours but they're actually there with the note with bars and then makes you see them because the metal be all the words yet still I find it very easy to to do this record or Stokowski when he asked me to do it in a no original language it was a great honor for me to be asked from him to do this record which I really I love it so much the music is beautiful. Another of your opening nights was in the 1944 season when is it fast with the beach I'm conducting. Yes I was here as a colleague. Wonderful wonderful conductor and wonderful too girl to get along with him which I told him I said Maestro you come from around and you were an English nominated and then we signal for a show we are in war and you are so kind and if I were not with music always we are together did you work with Peter or Thomas. Yes we did. I always think it was in the long run they do we have
the most orthodox. Oh you want me to go there you can talk about that look. But it all he was conducting and all throughout. Yes that's what we've been seeing here at the Metropolitan with the singer Boy oh boy am I sent by you and Carmen all because oh yes oh yes. You know in time I didn't think hotel so I had my Otello came later when you were in Nairobi too but I'll bet everybody already ideological right out of it was too bad. It's like me you know I sing little converter apparatus and then later I'm trying to do more like how to do it don't tell law and when Tosca. So I sing and every s route was like you said you had to try it also there was a live audience share with you that we our daughter has seen with us about all this but oh yeah oh yeah that thing that with you.
Really the maestro of another interesting part of your career was that you were doing a lot of the all my of their operas and you I believe you were in the last one that was ever put out of them and then made a bizarre but I was left recounting your also prefer Africa and partly profit. Yes the other one that isn't a friendship or car was a luxury luxury but it is an alley elegant something what do you think the reason was for these not being given men's example. It requires a record it was a very elaborate cost and and beside that not only one cost about two three set of costs in case in case the original cost that we did seek or something. But those other difficulties too to hold on to those opera and beside it and I'm sure there's a little bit of having a photo of your age there too
much that you need even to be an actor matter senators for that especially is especially speaking about alarm. This is the most important south Italy around the country the base the base is very important and it which in that case it is not to the lover. Now this is the only option I think is ONLY other than things that are you know they're really the main part of our 10 other is not the lover he's suppose it's the father of the girl which is not the area in the end we find out it is not the father yet I really am here is here is it is a little child if this and all that he is the father in the plot but the other 10 oh there's another 10 are literally what you call the early light which will be the day the lover of the girl and the Father Time is not a question of
big big voice the question of the interpretation of the role that you have on the cover how to arrive at the interpretation you want to lead and that has just taken it is a sort of the overall part if I can compare it in the speaking drama like Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice by the name of Shylock something I can compare the part with which I got in medicine. Yes. Now of course in addition to Toscanini you work too with your surfing to do sort of thing. Murray not see him for the sunken bell. With Paul Lockwood not to judge the political pundits but what's the first image but it's the actor actress. I thought the police or general Bobbie was was one of our very very very devoted assistant on the TO DO THIS TO ME.
And of course he knew he knew a little vision that they believed everything that was going to post. I think he was a real real one of the thing knew what was going he wanted every give you seen with the oh yes with crap and make my debut. Yes yes I did make my debut in butterfly and then I sang so many performance with him mania a lot about them. And I had to I had to fight you to we have a house among the French when we had a viral house to Pyrmont you know they very much like I said we're going to tell. Yes. I think California with money. I sang Proust and I sang it. LEMON No they must me which was really great like that's what the result was and such a great gentleman nice gentleman said. Yes. He understood artistry understood voice and could their company and employees really with their beauty so
well just about in the middle of the career of each of you both had some health problems. Ice cream are clearly getting typhoid fever. Oh yes I had I had a lot and I thought let's I go back I will make it through the year 1918 My first that the first time an adviser basically I was at the this Spanish crew and said that they knew of was a bunch of excuse me if I say see me there and pull up and they said they can say your number and I said be very humble and take the last of us or try but in the catastrophe and the Bible. So I put myself into. Thanks a lot Ari I sort of lie about them as I did. Yes but about my proceedings I think then I think 24 I was equally with the tapering. How did that come about Seems an odd thing to pick up in New York hostess of history and I hope I hope only.
That's a no more now it's cause for me but no more now. I eat so many homeless just now in Connecticut who I picked them myself. I remember I used to carry a roll and we used to say to have it just to just to pick the top climate same love that. Yes no fear anymore. As the waters are yelling like maybe yes but maybe like you and I know that time I think what it was saying why are you how do you say it was a very serious injuries to buzzwords your difficulty was even more troublesome you had some throat trouble that required surgery well ahead of ourselves cheering to local call no no I just I didn't I need to six months or less. So this is what the artist goes through when they have they do too much you know underwater time here I had to do benefit to reassume
at the same benefit concerts and and then the radio every week to his radio program and then the Metropolitan post so much but it wasn't TOO. Bad where I need to rest whenever rest in the summer. So at this time I knitted a very nice good place than in the summer. Well in and around the 30s the great German wing of the Metropolitan developed and Wagner seem to being at the top of everything to this reduce things in the Italian repertoire because until then of course Bogarde been done. No nobody was a little nobody because of the way they established what we call a special special matinee rings for the rings you see. This is we didn't stop any in that I was anything rude and the only other repertoire and I took so much interest a man and myself were there with myself a little
card like this is a promise. I love it. It was a I was so interested in the secret. For instance my stuff that I think taught me one part of the secret in Italian so he has a really high so I could follow everything in one of her own but. We said Wait are we there we have to leave it there to the to the gentleman what we call a gathering of compassion he said. But as I told you before the very end of my career when I finished I thought it all tell over there being the top of the top of everything about the still idea that the pleasure of the joy to do something to study something I went in with that this tunnel was good. I have a good report on how many roles did you do about all together.
Must be a tremendous number. Not tremendous number but I counted up to 68 to 70 something like 60 or 70. Not too many singers come up to about half of your lives on a mission that no knowledge you know now because they repeat the SO MANY TIMES WE ARE YOU BEING being gauge the scene differently it was like some Percy school she traveled and this was you know maybe you don't remember I have her in my yeah well twenty five years our career 20 I think I was a master mostly booked for a party actually turn over power. Literally buddy Muska Carnforth this was with just you know you see those are the boy I'm about of
our announcer. I remember when they were used to seeing me in the Ravinia park you know that season or outside she target just resettled last year you know but I never sang there. One of the vulnerabilities of the manager there the writer the manager said You know I mean I you know I like to see you singing. The part in the bottom of the flight that's the name I used to get them because he says I give you a very nice fat check you know how much you but is it with you know you but you're saying only to upset anyone but you. So I said why why go there when she calls and that is if you do something that's going to. Well I say we make even when we get me to sing you evil troll I thought of that's even that makes even you know it's a very very Here's a party that they know they know as a lot to do with the firestarter
and then is not into the same conduct I used I used to put on a little overcoat and go to the audience to enjoy this. But Giovanni Martinelli and Lisa Alba Niecy two of the most beloved artists to sing at the old Metropolitan another of Maestro MARTIN Now his colleagues during his long career was the celebrated British Soprano Eva Turner because of conflicting and gauge mix with other opera companies. Dame Turner never sang in the metropolitan herself on one occasion though she did appear at the house and her vivid remembrance of the event gives ample evidence of the Metropolitans magical appeal. Guys I tell you when I will pull this 50th anniversary of Mark in the list first appeared at the Met. Yes and I was so happy that I could do that. It was tremendous a very moving experience for me and I bet a thrilling one. I shall never forget it never.
Oh it was full of wonderful night wonderful. I saw yesterday that he had three also used to think that cup doctor. Oh and told me yeah cost me a lot a lot. Yeah many many. Next week we'll be hearing many more of the amusing reminiscences of leach out of NASA and Giovanni mounted to Nellie. For now this is Milton Cross on behalf of miles Kasten Deek hoping you'll join us again them. Force. Boston University Radio has presented Hall of song the story of
the Metropolitan Opera from 1883 to 966 the series is created and produced by Richard Calhoun a grant from the National Home Library Foundation has made possible the production of these programs for national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
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Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966
A long look back, part 1
Producing Organization
WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
A Long Look Back. First of two programs in which Giovanni Martinelli and Licia Albanese review much of the old Met's history. They recall their wonderful experiences in the old house.
Series Description
Documentary series on history of the Metropolitan Opera Company ("The Met") in its original home at Broadway and 39th Street in New York. "The Met" closed its old location on April 16, 1966. Series includes interviews and rare recordings of noted performers.
Broadcast Date
Performing Arts
Media type
Host: Cross, Milton, 1897-1975
Host: Kastendieck, Miles
Interviewee: Martinelli, Giovanni, 1885-1969
Interviewee: Albanese, Licia
Producer: Calhoun, Richard
Producing Organization: WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 66-41-37 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:28
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Chicago: “Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; A long look back, part 1,” 1967-05-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 28, 2024,
MLA: “Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; A long look back, part 1.” 1967-05-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 28, 2024. <>.
APA: Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; A long look back, part 1. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from