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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tancredi Pasero, The Great Bass

Tancredi Pasero, The Great Bass


Many thanks to my dear friend Fran├žoise 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!