Adelina Patti Header
Adelina Patti Header

Historic Masters (in association with EMI Archive) is proud to announce the release of the Adelina Patti Centennial Edition (HM 500-HM 507). (See Full Discography Details)

This very important release of eight vinyl 78rpm recordings is pressed using the original masters from EMI Archive, Victor and DG Archives – originally recorded between 1905-1906.

‘Patti was the most important singer of the second half of the nineteenth century, her fame on a par with that of Caruso and Callas in later generations. Her career, which lasted from 1851 until 1914, was one of the longest in musical history and was enormously influential, especially in England and the United States: the living presence of one of the greatest exemplars of bel canto was an inspiration to generations of singers.

Adelina Patti (1843-1919) – Prospectus by Alan Bilgora

‘Opening a Window on the Past’

Adelina Patti
Adelina Patti
It is perhaps difficult today to appreciate how the musical establishment and public used to regard their stars of the operatic stage. For much of the 18th and all of the 19th centuries such was the awe in which they were held, that their vocal accomplishments were considered divinely inspired: hence they were dubbed Divi (Gods). Adelina Patti who from the age of eight was performing to admiring audiences and became a ‘legend in her own lifetime’ was a true Diva who for more than 50 years occupied a special place in the hierarchy of great singers, indeed she was dubbed the ‘Queen of song’. Like a number of other famous singers, her career and personal life was covered by the media of the day, so that even those people who never entered an opera house became aware of the social mores that surrounded the life of a star singer. Patti possessed physical beauty and personal charm, and throughout a career that took her to Russia, Western Europe, and North and South America she was admired, courted and decorated by Czars, Queens, Kings, and Presidents. Her private life was thought scandalous. Married in 1868 to the Marquis de Caux, there followed a separation and liaison with a famous French tenor Ernest Niccolini, a married man with family. When Patti and Niccolini finally married in 1886 the Press considered it the outstanding stage romance of the time.

Having resisted offers by various companies to record, she finally agreed to allow the Gaisberg brothers to set up their recording equipment at Craig- y- Nos her castle home in Wales and in 1905, accompanied at the piano by the young Landon Ronald she proceed to make a series of recordings that are considered to be a touch-stone of the singers’ art. A detailed booklet is issued with the set of discs, with a careful analysis of her interpretations and vocal technique. This had been specially written for Historic Masters by Michael Aspinall who, is today, considered to be one of the most distinguished singing teachers in Italy, and an acknowledged expert on the soprano voice.

In re-pressing some of her recordings and issuing them in a form that mirrors their first issue 100 years ago, Historic Masters is giving devotees of recorded vocal art an opportunity to hear under the best possible circumstances the voice of Patti her voice exactly as recorded in 1905 and 1906. Made when she was 63 years old, and some time after she had finished her stage career, Adelina Patti cannot quite demonstrate the spectacular dynamism that surely marked the days of her prime. However the recordings do ‘open a window’ on reviewing the languid style, purity of tone and facility with florid divisions and a perfectly executed trill that were the hall-mark of what was expected from artists performing in what euphemistically is called the ‘Golden Age of Singing’.

Pressed on vinyl from specially selected metal masters, the sound of her voice has an ambience never quite captured before. Each record will bear a label in the unique colour and format personally selected by Patti herself to insure her exclusivity. Although shellac pressings of some ‘takes’ were issued by HMV many years ago Historic Masters is sure that what has been selected for issue here, will astonish the listener with not only their individual timbre, charm, musicality, and technical ability but an incredible immediacy.

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PATTI CENTENERARY EDITION a note from Professor Stanley Henig

In the context of my editorial responsibility for printed material included in the Historic Masters Patti edition, I naturally welcome any feedback. A small number of subscribers have queried two of the photos – one on the front cover of the box and one in the booklet – suggesting that the subject is not in fact Patti. I have a particular personal interest since both the photos in question are from my own collection! Neither is labelled as Patti, although I have never previously doubted the attribution. Prior to printing, they were shown to others involved in preparing the Edition and no queries were raised. I can only add that the photos were included in good faith – we would never knowingly mislead.

 

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