It were not only Americans that considered Broadway as something to take seriously. The Don Giovanni and one of the biggest Verdi-basses of the second half of the last century, Cesare Siepi, didn’t look down on the musical theatre either.
His CD on which he gives his vision on the songs of Cole Porter is called Easy to Love. It sounds ‘easy’ indeed, but it is not at all. Porter’s music benefits from simplicity, coupled with the best vocal chords in the world, and Siepi has it all.
His interpretation of ‘Night and Day’ is one of the most beautiful ones I’ve heard in my life. Not to mention ‘So in love’ or the delicious ‘Blow, Gabriel blow’ from Anything Goes.
As a bonus we get to hear some of his best Verdis: Nabucco, Philip II and a Boccanegra like you don’t hear anymore.
This CD is entitled The romantic voice of Cesare Siepi and that is exactly what you get: a beauty of a voice that awakens all the romantic feelings in you! No Broadway here anymore, but popular Italian songs that fit Siepi like a glove: just delicious.
What really makes the CD special are the bonus tracks, with arias from Meyerbeers Robert le Diable and Les Huguenots, La Juive by Halévy and – for most people a real rarity – an aria from Salvator Rosa by Antônio Carlos Gomes. My goodness, what beautiful music! I ask (again): when do we get to see another opera by Gomes? After the performances of his Il Guarany in 1994 in Bonn it has remained silent for much too long around this Brazilian Verdi.
Below ‘Di Sposo Di Padre Le Gioie Serene’ from Salvator Rosa van Gomes, 1954:
The album was recorded in 1961 (songs) and in 1954 (arias) and the sound is excellent. In the arias Siepi is accompanied phenomenally well by the Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Alberto Erede. At that time Erede was considered a ‘decent’ conductor, but now he would be considered one of the greatest opera conductors of all. He gives his soloist all the space he needs and allows the orchestra to breathe with him.