This is the fourth in a Naxos series whose aim is to reissue all Gigli's recordings, by-passing the complete opera sets which have been issued already. It comprises his early electrically recorded items from the years 1926 and 1927.
Collectors who like to sample the work of renowned singers of the past will have a chance to hear Gigli joined by the great baritone Tita Ruffo here in three duets recorded in December 1926. Ruffo is very loud, the voice is big, but the result at this late stage of his career can hardly be judged as singing. The duets were not issued until many years later, and within two months had been remade with Giuseppe De Luca replacing Ruffo.
Gigli pours plenty of emotion, golden tone, aspirates and sobs into his singing. There is a mix of arias and duets from opera, together with popular songs included here, even two takes of one item. Restoration magician Mark Obert-Thorn has improved on the versions he already issued on the now withdrawn Romofone label. Surface noise has been eliminated, the sound brightened, and the peculiar bass sonorities that disfigured so many early electrical RCA recordings have been tastefully modified.