Andrea Chénier October 15, 1955
Chorus and Orchestra of RAI, Milan
Angelo Questa, Conductor
Roberto Benaglio, Chorus Master
Mario Landi, Director
Maddalena di Coigny.........Antonietta Stella
Andrea Chénier.................Mario Del Monaco
Charles Gérard.................Giuseppe Taddei
The renowned Italian baritone Giuseppe Taddei died June 2 just short of his 94th birthday. Taddei made most of his career in Italy and Vienna. He didn’t sing at the Met until 1985 when at age 69 he debuted at the New York house in the title role of Verdi’s Falstaff. There are a number of reasons why so celebrated a singer as was Taddei stayed away from the Met for so long.
There used to be a saying in Italy: “We gave the rest of the world Tito Gobbi, but we kept Giuseppe Taddei for ourselves.” Whatever the respective merits of these two baritones who dominated the scene in the early postwar period, Taddei was undoubtedly a superb artist and, in fact, possessed the superior voice. It was voluminous, richly mellifluous and admirably flexible. He handled it with immense intelligence and he kept his vocal faculties intact over a career spanning 50 years.