Graziella Sciutti was, according to Elisabeth Schwarzkopf ‘The incarnation of a Mozart soubrette’, and wisely she rarely roamed far away from that repertoire and was thus able to carry through a career of 35 years. Her discography isn’t very large but there are at least a complete Nozze di Figaro with Gui, two Don Giovanni with Giulini and Moralt and also with Moralt a Così fan tutte. For Decca she recorded the two operas that open this disc and a Don Pasquale with Kertesz, where the hilarious Fernando Corena sang the title role. That recording has never had very good press and since Norina’s aria is included in the Decca recital from 1961 which is reissued complete on this disc there was really no need to excerpt it from the complete recording, even though there was room for it.
The first three arias are from the recording of Handel’s Alcina with Joan Sutherland in the title role, where Graziella Sciutti took the role of Morgana. She is glittering, elegant and perfect in pitch. In Ama, sospira there is a beautiful violin solo and Sciutti’s long phrases are absolutely secure. Also the third aria features a solo instrument, a cello. Her Marcellina in Fidelio is one of her rare excursions in German repertoire but she is her charming self also there. The title role in that recording was sung by Birgit Nilsson, whose amplitude was in the jumbo jet class compared to Sciutti’s sailplane.
Over to the recital with the VPO, which was Sciutti’s only solo recital, apart from a 1953 recording made in Paris and probably issued on a 10-inch LP. Rosina’s Una voce poco fa is elegant and technically accomplished with pinpoint articulation. La Fille du régiment is just as delicious. Norina’s So anch’io la virtù magica was also on that 1953 recital and the aria fits her like a glove. She is absolutely lovely. Her voice wasn’t large but it was focused and very clear and she sings the big aria from I Capuleti e I Montecchi simply with little embellishments. Totally enthralling! The uncredited French horn soloist plays his solo eminently.
And then we get Despina’s two arias from Così fan tutte, and delicious they are. Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro was possibly her greatest achievement. She recorded it complete with Gui five years earlier, but this later recording is just as irresistible.
The two concert arias are just as lovely. The first was composed as an insert aria for a production in Vienna of an opera by Martin y Soler, while the second, Nehmt meinen Dank was a true concert aria, written for Aloysia Lange, sister of his wife Constanze. They are sung with the same elegance as all the other arias on this delectable disc. It is good to have these recordings available again as a reminder of one of the best lyric sopranos of the 50s and 60s.
Contents George Frideric HANDEL (1685 – 1759)
1. O s’apre al riso (Act I) [2:00]
2. Ama, sospira, ma non t’offende (Act II) [4:01]
3. Credete al mio dolore (Act III) [3:29] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827)
4. O wär’ ich schon mit dir vereint (Act I) [4:17] Gioachino ROSSINI (1792 – 1868)
Il barbiere di Siviglia:
5. Una voce poco fa (Act I) [6:38] Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 – 1848)
La Fille du régiment:
6. Convien partir (Act I) [4:42]
7. Quel guardo di cavaliere ... So anch’io la virtù magica (Act I) [5:26] Vincenzo BELLINI (1801 – 1835)
I Capuleti e i Montecchi:
8. Eccomi ... Oh! Quante volte (Act I) [10:20] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 – 1791)
Così fan tutte, KV 588:
9. In uomini, in soldati (Act I) [2:32]
10. Una donna a quindici anni (Act II) [3:25]
Le nozze di Figaro, KV 492:
11. Giunse alfin il momento ... Deh vieni non tardar (Act IV) [5:01]
12. Chi sà, chi sà qual sia, KV 582 [3:18]
13. Nehmt meinen Dank, KV 383 [3:05]
Performance details London Symphony Orchestra/Richard Bonynge (tr. 1-3); Wiener Philharmoniker/Lorin Maazel (tr. 4); Wiener Philharmoniker/Argeo Quadri (tr. 5-13)
Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, UK, March & April 1962 (Handel); Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria 18-20 October 1960 (Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti); 2-5 and 11-15 March 1964 (Beethoven)
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