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Check out this great review of DVD 5636, LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST!
RAI 1956 Frazzoni, Neate, Petri; Simonetto. No Subtitles. Black & White.
There was never a Minnie quite like Bolognese soprano, Gigliola Frazzoni. Tough-as-nails yet kind, guarded yet vulnerable and absolutely fearless when it came to role’s most daunting passages high and low. This RAI film from 1956 is perhaps the only video footage of Frazzoni and it gives us an idea of what it may have been like to see her on the stage. She seems unfazed by a role that many consider a voice killer, and takes chances that many singers wouldn’t dare. She brings her chest voice up to a thrilling, parlando cry in the tension of the Act II duet, her many high Cs are full, on point and extensions of the drama rather than musical events. She is especially touching in the role’s quieter moments in the end of Act I. Australian tenor Ken Neate is a handsomely sung Dick Johnson/Ramerrez and Mario Petri is the menacing Jack Rance.
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