It's doubtful that most of you ever have attended a performance as thrilling as this one. Several now-defunct companies released this performance on VHS. Our DVD version easily surpasses all earlier incarnations, including ours. The images don't look like they come from a kinescope (although they do). Our tech Jonathan Casper restored the audio. Although occasional flaws remain, overall, the results are a joy!
Chenier was the role with which Del Monaco changed singing by introducing a technique taught by Arturo Melocchi, based on singing with the larynx kept low, at the bottom of the neck. It gave Del Monaco a powerful, brassy, thick, muscular, penetrating sound.
In March 1949 Del Monaco sang Chenier at La Scala. His performances excited the public and marked a changing of the guard. Gigli sang his final Scala performances in 1947, as Chenier. His object and that of the tenors he influenced was, above all, to caress you. Del Monaco's was to excite you.
Del Monaco sang La Scala's March 6, 1949 broadcast of Chenier. On hearing it Corelli, already having tried many teachers, went to study with Melocchi. Their lowered-larynx approach has been copied by Vladimir Atlantov, Giuseppe Giacomini, Luis Lima, Nicola Martinucci and a host of others. --Stefan Zucker