music by Giacomo Puccini
libretto by V. Sardou, L. Illica, G. Giacosa
DOUBLE CD - complete opera
Cast Of Characters
Floria Tosca - Ghena Dimitrova
Mario Cavaradossi - Renato Francesconi
Scarpia - Norman Mittelmann
Cesare Angelotti - Mario Verazzi
Il Sagrestano - Virgilio Tavini
Spoletta - Eduardo Ferracani
Sciarrone - Hector Barbieri
Un Carceriere - Jose' Galinarez
Un pastorello - Claudio Fuks
Orchestra Conductor - Michelangelo Veltri
Choir Conductor - Alberto Balzanelli
Orquesta i Coro Estables del Teatro Colon - Buenos Aires
Performance recorded live at Teatro Colon de Buenos Aires on 1975
GHENA DIMITROVA - SOPRANO
The opera singing phenomenon Ghena Dimitrova is created as a composition of God-given voice and health, stable and resistant psychics and physics, perfect musical education and enormous work on the major world opera scenes.
The start is in the choral singing where the first teacher of music of Ghena Dimitrova - Ivan Ghenkov discovers her talent and her great future. He encouraged her to apply for the Bulgarian State Conservatory /High School of Music/. So from 1959 till 1964 Ghena Dimitrova was a student in the Conservatory. She received her musical education in opera singing the style of the famous Bulgarian School, established at the beginning of the 60's of the past century. Her Maestro was the incredibly popular prof. Hristo Brambarov, a famous Bulgarian opera singer. The Bulgarian Opera Singing School has formed many world famous opera singers as Nicolay Gyaurov, Boris Christoff, Nicolaj Ghiuselev, Nicolaj Nikolov, Nicola Usunov, Rajna Kabaivanska and many others, and thus becoming one of the leading Opera singing Schools in Europe and worldwide.
To obtain one of the most perfect opera voices worldwide Ghena Dimitrova has followed lots of specializations in different singing styles. She was taught and advised by the leading opera singing pedagogues. The most important periods were:
1964 - 1966 - master class in the Bulgarian State Conservatory.
1966 - Specialization in the "La Scala" Theater of Milan, Italy - first acquaintance with the famous Italian Opera Singing School
1970 - Specialization in the "La Scala" Theatre School, professors Renato Pastorino, Enza Ferari, Renata Corosio.
Opera singing competitions
At the beginning of her career Ghena Dimitrova won a number of competition:
1970 - winner in the International Competition for Young Opera Singers, Sofia.
1987 - winner of opera singing competition in Turandot, Metropolitan, New York, USA.
Most important singing career milestones
27.12.1967 - debut as Abigail in "Nabucco" by G.Verdi, Sofia National Opera House.
1971 - 1972 - on tour in France with the opera "The Power of the Destiny" by G.Verdi
1972 - winner of the competition for opera singers in Treviso, Italy, with the role of Amelia in "Masked Ball" by G.Verdi.
1972 - Parma, Italy, in the role of Amelia in "Masked Ball" by G.Verdi with José Carreras and Piero Capuccili
1973 - The "La Scala" Theatre, Milan, in the role of Amelia in "Masked Ball" by G.Verdi with Placido Domingo.
1978 - Staatsoper of Vienna, in the role of Tosca, in "Tosca " by G.Puccini.
1980 - Arena di Verona, Verona, Italy, debut in "La Giocconda" by Ponchielli with L.Pavarotti.
1983 - Arena di Verona, Verona, Italy, in the role of Turandot, "Turandot" by G.Puccini.
1983 - The "La Scala" Theatre, Milan, in the role of Turandot, "Turandot"by G.Puccini, director Franco Zefirelli, conductor of the orchestra Lorin Maasel.
1984 - The "La Scala"Theatre, Milan , "Lombards", conductor Gianandrea Gavazeni in the role of LadyMcBeth, "Macbeth" by G.Verdi, conductor Claudio Abbado, director Giorgio Strehler. In the role of Amneris in "Aida" by G.Verdi with L.Pavarotti, production of Luca Ronconi.
1984 - 1985 Festival of Zaltzburg, Lady McBeth in "McBeth" by G.Verdi, conductor Herbert von Karajan.
1986 - The "La Scala"Theatre, Milan, "Nabucco" by G.Verdi, conductor Riccardo Mutti
1987 - in the role of Turandot, "Turandot", the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, USA, followed by ten seasons with "Turandot", " La Giocconda", Santuzza in "Cavaleria Rusticana" by P.Mascagni, Mini in "The girl of the golden West", Tosca in "Tosca" with L.Pavarotti, etc.
1988 - The "La Scala"Theatre, Milan, Santuzza in "Cavaleria Rusticana" by P.Mascagni
1989- The "La Scala"Theatre, Milan, Tosca in "Tosca" by G.Puccini.
RENATO FRANCESCONI - TENOR
Italian tenor Renato Francesconi was born in Roma on 17 September 1938 and studied at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia, before continuing his studies at the Conservatorio di Ferrara. He perfected his technique and vocal interpretation under Maestro Piervenanzi, who was also Ruggero Raimondi's teacher. His debut came in Faenza in 1968 as Manrico in Il Trovatore and he was soon invited to sing in the most important opera houses in Italy, including Roma, Firenze, Torino, Venezia, Parma, Verona, Genova, Trieste, Treviso and Padua. Riccardo Muti engaged him for the Maggio Musical Fiorentino.
An international career followed with his appearance as Radamès in Aida in Dublin in 1971, which brought him to all the major opera scenes in the world, inlcuding the Wiener Staatsoper, New York, The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London, San Francisco, the Liceu in Barcelona, the Opera Municipal of Lisboa, Berlin, the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires and La Monnaie of Bruxelles.
His performing repertoire encompasses over 40 roles including Otello, Cavaradossi, Radames, Gabriele Adorno, Chenier, Ernani, Don Carlos, Pollione, Des Grieux, Turiddu, Canio, and Luigi (Il Tabarro). Two of his hallmark roles have been Canio in Pagliacci, a role he sang for the first time in Dublin in 1974, and Otello, first performance at the Opéra de Wallonie, Liege, the same year.
In 1978 he was invited to the home of legendary tenor Giacomo Lauri-Volpi in Valencia, after the latter had heard Francesconi sing on a recital disc issued by Bongiovanni, and impressed by Francesconi's voice, he convinced him into participating in the very first Manon Lescaut ever in the city of Valencia. Francesconi is honourably mentioned in Lauri-Volpi's late book, Voci Parallele, third edition, which was published in 1977, shortly before the two tenors met. Lauri-Volpi had written that Francesconi could be among the first of tenors if paying vigil attention to timbre, style and role interpretation, and compared him to the celebrated Irish tenor John McCormack (1877-1955): "In comparing the two tenors, what is evident is their affinity and decision to impress upon the listener the torrential vehemence of their voices, ignoring half tints and spiritual singing. However, the Roman has the advantage of having before him a long road to travel towards glory."
In 1997 he was awarded the 'Cavaliere di Malta' for artistic achievements and gained the title "tutor" at the Accademia delle belle Arti di Roma in 1998.
At the age of 64, Renato Francesconi is still active. Recent performances include a recital series during the years 1997-2000 in New York's famed Carnegie Hall, performances at the international festival of Cervantino (Mexico City), a role debut as Sansone at the Seoul Art Center; he preformed at the Teatro Municipal de Lima in Otello, at the Breslau Arena as Radames in Aida for the Xanten Arena Festival of Dusserdolf, he performed in recital in Rio de Janeiro with the philharmonic orchestra of Rio, at the Teatro Morlacchi di Perugia in a gala with Kraus, Dragoni, Giaiotti and other singers, broadcasted by RAI; performances in Vancouver, Berlin, Dusserdolf, Nurnberg, Dortmund; in Prag he sang in Verdi's Requiem and in Salerno he sang the role of Ismaele in Nabucco opposite M. Dragoni and A. Salvadori, then Pagliacci in Lima and a Gala in Reykiavik (Iceland) with the Philharmonic. In 2001 he sang Pagliacci in Louisiana and participated in a gala performance at the castle of Vigevano in Milano, July 2001, together with other historical singers such as Gianfranco Cecchele, Fiorenza Cossotto, Ana Tomowa-Sintov, Bonaldo Giaiotti, Giorgio Zancanaro and Katia Ricciarelli. With Zancanaro, Giaiotti and Kathleen McCalla he sang in Verdi's Nabucco at the same festival.
Francesconi's dramatic lirio-spinto voice can be heard on Rome-based IMR Classics' 5 recent issues: The complete recordings of Il Tabarro, Andrea Chenier and Tosca, as well as two recital discs, "Renato Francesconi Canta Verdi" and "Renato Francesconi - One Night Only."
NORMAN MITTELMANN - BARITONO
Mittelmann, Norman. Baritone, b Winnipeg 25 May 1932. He studied with Doris Mills Lewis in Winnipeg, with Richard Bonelli, Martial Singher, and Vladimir Sokoloff at the Curtis Institute, and with Lotte Lehmann at the Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Cal. He was coached in Italian opera by Enzo Mascherini.
Mittelmann's first operatic roles were in Lehmann's productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Ariadne auf Naxos. In 1956 he appeared in the US premiere of Milhaud's David. He made his Canadian operatic debut with the Canadian Opera Company (COC) in 1958, as Marcello in La Bohème, and later sang in Europe with companies in Essen and Düsseldorf, joining the Deutsche Oper am Rhein ca 1959. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut 28 Oct 1961 as the Herald in Lohengrin and continued to sing there until 1981. Returning to Europe he appeared with the Berlin Deutsche Oper, the Munich Staatsoper, the Vienna Staatsoper, and companies in Hamburg and Karlsruhe. In 1965 he joined the Zürich Opera and made his debut with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, as Germont in La Traviata. In 1966 he sang Ruprecht in Prokofiev's Angel of Fire with the Chicago Lyric Opera.
In 1967 Mittelmann returned to Canada to sing the four-part role of Lindorf, Coppelius, Dappertutto, and Dr Miracle in a COC production of The Tales of Hoffmann in Toronto and at Expo 67. The critic of the Toronto Telegram wrote of this quadruple portrayal (21 Sep 1967): 'Dr. Miracle has his changes rung with superb authority by the baritone Norman Mittelmann. The portrayal seemed tailored not only to the requirements of the role but also to the propensities of Mittelmann. It is no mean feat bringing an abstract and an ego into such close alignment. Mittelmann of course is first-rate material... a splendid singer, a decent actor and an experienced operatic performer.' In 1983 he repeated the role with the Chicago Lyric Opera.
In 1970 at the Hamburg Staatsoper, Mittelmann was Daniel in the premiere of Willy Burkhard's Ein Stern geht auf aus Jaakob. He sang with the San Francisco Opera in 1973, 1974, and 1979, performed the role of Amonasro in Aida at the San Diego Opera's Verdi Festival in 1978, and appeared in Chicago as Shaklovity in Mussorgsky's Khovantchina in 1976, and as Amonasro in 1980. He also performed with companies in Bogota, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Florence, Frankfurt, Marseilles, Paris, and Palermo. Mittelmann sang in opera in his native Winnipeg for the first time in April 1979, as the Count di Luna in the Manitoba Opera production of Il Trovatore. He appeared there again later that year as Germont in La Traviata and also that season sang the title role in Rigoletto with the Edmonton Opera. In 1983 he performed in the US premiere of Janáãek's From the House of the Dead with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Rafael Kubelik.
Other roles performed by Mittelmann include Achilles in Schoeck's Penthesilea; Don Carlos di Vargas in La Forza del Destino; Escamillo in Carmen; Gerard in Andrea Chenier; Gunther in Götterdämmerung; Iago in Otello; Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde; Jokanaan in Salome; Mandryka in Arabella; Méphistophélès in both Berlioz' The Damnation of Faust and Gounod's Faust; Ramiro in L'Heure espagnole; Scarpia in Tosca; Silvio and Tonio in I Pagliacci; Wolfram in Tannhäuser; and the title roles in Eugene Onegin; Falstaff, Prince Igor, and Simon Boccanegra. In 1991 he maintained residences in Zürich and in Carlsbad, Cal, and sang primarily in concert and recital performances. In 2004 Mittelmann was featured in a concert in Palm Springs, Cal.