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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tancredi Pasero, The Great Bass

Tancredi Pasero, The Great Bass


Many thanks to my dear friend Françoise Crameri  for having introduced me to this wonderful bass some time ago.  Widely known in Europe,  Tancredi Pasero (1893-1983) is not as widely known in America as he should be.  La Scala, where he debuted in 1926, became his artistic home, and although he sang abroad, including at the Met during the early 30's, he was primarily based in Italy.  His first debut was in Turin in 1917, as Ramphis in Aida.  It is possible that to many Americans, Pasero sounds very "old-fashioned," having been trained in a traditional bel-canto technique, one of the characteristics of which (or in Pasero's case almost a trademark of which) was a rapid vibrato, very rare in the age of verismo.  I personally love it, and many Europeans also are fond of it, but it is an unusual sound in this country and many are simply unaccustomed to such singing technique, which is a pity, actually, because he was extraordinary.  Here is one of his best recordings.  If this is the first time you have heard Pasero, be prepared to be amazed; this is one of the great voices of the 20th century:

Isn’t that simply extraordinary!

I know of no other bass that has that sound.  And what about that amazing vibrato!!  Oh, how I wish that bel canto singing would return.  We have lost so much in the last 100 years.  It is such a pity.  Here is one of the most famous of all the great bass arias, “O Tu, Palermo”

Bring Back Bel Canto,  PLEASE!



JD Hobbes said...

Ah yes, excellent! The speed of his vibrato reminds me of Tibbett, especially in "Largo." However, you are right in checking on the speed of the recording. That could be the answer.

Edmund St. Austell said...

I checked it against another recording of the same aria, and the fast vibrato is still there. I think it's legitimate. That kind of machine-gun like vibrato was part of the bel canto technique. I really like it, myself. Some popular singers have extremely fast vibrato like that. Edith Piaf, for example.

Jing said...

Most interesting, Edmund. Thanks for yet another artist utterly unknown to me. Without your making the connection to bel canto technique, I would surely have regarded his vibrato as idiosyncratic. I see elsewhere that others have compared and contrasted his voice with Pinza's. His vocal quality certainly rivals and perhaps excels Pinza's. What I wonder, though, is how a bass in Verdi's day would have sounded, especially in the days before the rise of verismo. What I have always adored is the beautiful legato line of this greatest of bass arias from Don Carlo. Hard to imagine, though.

G F-M said...

Caro Edmund, che bel piacere per verderti ritrornato al tuo sito. La migliorava mia notte insonne tanto. Non c'è bisogno per rispondere, ma ti vorrei sapere che io sia così grato al tuo ritorno. Un saluto, tuo Gioacchino.

Edmund St. Austell said...

My dear friend. Thank you for your comment. I'm sorry not to have written until now, but I have been in the hospital for the last three months, and am just now able to use a computer. Last April I suffered a stroke, ( colpo apoplettico) and the recovery has been long and hard I hope I can soon return to normal, although it will take time. CIA, Davide