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The aria above is from Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s opera Die Tote Stadt. Korngold is one of my favorite composers, and so I’ve been looking for songs of his to learn. You will most often hear this sung nowadays by sopranos, such as Renee Fleming. But in the opera it is a duet, and it works well as a tenor solo too, and so I am glad that someone put this historic recording of tenor Joseph Schmidt singing the piece on YouTube.

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  • Sean Garrigan

    His voice was exquisite, and he had super control!

    I can’t resist the temptation to share a few of my own favorites. The first two videos are from the same performance, which was broadcast on The Producer’s Showcase years ago. The introduction by Charles Laughton is omitted here, unfortunately, but the performances are excellent (Bjorling) and superb (Tebaldi). The third video is a repeat of the song sung by Bjorling (Che gelida manina), but performed by the great Movie Tenor, who could belt out opera and sing beautiful, gentle love songs with equal skill.


    • James F. McGrath

      Thanks for sharing these! You can also find clips online with Björling singing in the earliest recording of Kurt Atterberg’s opera Fanal.

      • Sean Garrigan

        Bjorling is definitely among my top several favorite tenors. Fritz Wunderlich is another, and, like Mario, he died way too young! What a rotten fate to trip and fall down a flight of stairs while on a vacation to rest up for your Met debut!

        Since you’re looking for songs to add to your repertoire, I’d recommend Bizet’s Je crois entende from Les pechures des perles. It’s gorgeous! If you search Youtube you’ll find an excellent performance of this piece by Paul Groves, which was included in a Richard Tucker gala years ago (he was one of the winners). During the same gala he also sang the Pearl Fisher’s duet with Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Great stuff.

        • James F. McGrath

          Thanks! I also found a video of David Gilmour singing it too…

          • Sean Garrigan

            David Gilmore? Interesting — I guess if Sting can sing John Dowland while playing a lute, then why not, hey?

  • Sean Garrigan

    BTW, if Mario’s performance of Che gelida manina doesn’t show all why he inspired countless opera stars, including The Three Tenors, this one will!