WOW I WAS SO IMPRESSED I HAVE JUST ORDERED VOL2 SOME OF THE CRITICS COMMENTS THE GUY WITH THE BEARD WAS NOT HELPFUL IN SOME CASES HE IS A SHOW OFF NO NOTHING HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE A SINGER BUT HIS VOCAL EXAMPLES WERE POOR I ENJOYED THE COMMENTS FROM THE OTHERS AND ALSO THE VARIOUS FRIENDS OF THE SINGERS ALTHOUGH NOW RETIRED I TAUGHT SINGING AND KEYBOARDS FOR OVER 40 YEARS AND MADE MANY RECORDINGS AND AFTER OVER 60 YEARS IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS MY FIRST RECORDING AS A CHILD PERFORMER IN 1948 WITH HMV REMEMBER THE 78 ERA YES THAT IS WHEN I STARTED I FIND I AM STILL LEARNING AND A WONDERMENT OF KNOWLEDGE CAN BE GAINED JUST WATCHING AND ENJOYING THIS DVD
This DVD was released as a VHS tape around ten years or so ago, but I did not see it them. It features separate thirty minute segments, made for European television, on six great tenors of the 78rpm era: Caruso, Gigli, Schipa, Tauber, Leo Slezak and Joseph Schmidt. It has some rare and often delightful footage of each of them and features recordings of some of them which are not otherwise easily available. The film footage often is of the singer noticeably singing something other than the recording being played, but it is actually fairly startling how often the synchronization of the film almost matches the recording. And some of the clips actually do include singing because they are taken from German-language theatrical films from the 1930s. There is an attempt, via voice over narration and interviews with people who knew the singers (as well as with experts like the insufferably precious, but admittedly knowledgeable, Stefan Zucker). Particularly outstanding in this regard is the German writer on singers, Jürgen Kesting, who also wrote the booklet notes. All the people who knew the singers are, of course, quite old themselves at the time of filming. They share recollections of the singers performances as well as personal tidbits about them. The interviews take place all over the world--including a some done with people associated the Teátro Colón in Buenos Aires and with the Met. I suspect this DVD is primarily for genuine fanatics for the history of singers and of opera. It is not a performance DVD by any means, so don't go looking for long musical excerpts. Still, it was done with loving care and does not, as so many operatic recollections do, err either in being sycophantic or unduly caustic. That said, I will add that I enjoyed it thoroughly. TT=170 minutes; Dolby Digital 2.0 sound; subtitles in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. Booklet notes in English, German and French.