Many thanks to our friend Jean-Luc for this historical gift
Verdi’s “A Masked Ball” was one of seven complete operas that Arturo Toscanini (at that time 87 years old) conducted with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. The recording is taken from two NBC broadcast concerts in January 1954 in Carnegie Hall, only a few months before Toscanini announced his retirement. Portions of the recording were taken from remakes in June 1954, also in Carnegie Hall, which proved to be the last recordings Toscanini ever made.
# Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
# Performer: Herva Nelli, Jan Peerce, Robert Merrill
# Orchestra: NBC Symphony Orchestra
# Conductor: Arturo Toscanini
# Vinyl (1954)
# Number of Discs: 3
# Format: Flac
# Label: RCA
# DR-Analysis: DR 15
# Size: 1.25 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FileFactory
As Toscanini approached his 87th birthday, his health was failing and he was beginning to have trouble with his legendary memory. Reportedly, rehearsals for the performances were stretched over a number of weeks as Toscanini worked with the soloists and the Robert Shaw Chorale to achieve his usual very high standards.
As in all of Toscanini’s opera recordings, the Maestro was fortunate to have some very fine singers, including Herva Nelli, Jan Peerce, Virginia Haskins, Clarame Turner, and Robert Merrill. Typically, he was able to get his singers to sing better than they usually did. He was, of course, particularly fond of the American tenor Jan Peerce, who he considered his favorite in his later years. Peerce’s singing is particularly poignant, lyrical, and moving; it is he who plays the doomed governor who is eventually murdered during the masked ball.
Toscanini used Verdi’s censored text which moved the story from its original Swedish setting to the colony of Massachusetts. There is, therefore, a “farewell to America,” which Peerce sings as he dies.
Despite using Carnegie Hall, the RCA engineers placed the microphones very close to the singers and orchestra, resulting in very little reverberation (much like the situation in NBC Studio 8-H, where most of the NBC Symphony concerts took place from 1937 to 1950). This was presumably done to minimize picking up the audience’s coughs and other noises. However, the fidelity is quite good and the singers come through very clearly with excellent diction.
The overall performance is quite powerful throughout. There is considerable emotion and drama, too, as Toscanini must have recognized this would probably be the last full opera he conducted. Actually, the very last music he conducted was portions of Verdi’s “Aida,” again during the remakes in June 1954.
Analyzed folder: /96k(Mono) Verdi – Un Ballo In Maschera – Toscanini
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR15 -0.57 dB -20.75 dB sideA.wav
DR15 -0.17 dB -19.79 dB sideB.wav
DR14 -0.30 dB -19.31 dB sideC.wav
DR14 -0.07 dB -19.58 dB sideD.wav
DR15 -0.20 dB -20.83 dB sideE.wav
DR15 -0.21 dB -21.03 dB sideF.wav
Number of files: 6
Official DR value: DR15
- Un ballo in maschera by Giuseppe Verdi
- Performer: Herva Nelli (Soprano), George Cehanovsky (Baritone), Nicola Moscona (Bass), Virginia Haskins (Soprano), John Carmen Rossi (Tenor), Jan Peerce (Tenor), Norman Scott (Bass), Claramae Turner (Mezzo Soprano), Robert Merrill (Baritone)
- Conductor: Arturo Toscanini
- Orchestra/Ensemble: Robert Shaw Chorale, NBC Symphony Orchestra
- Period: Romantic
- Written: 1859; Italy
- Date of Recording: 01/1954
- Venue: Live Carnegie Hall, New York City
- Length: 121 Minutes 44 Secs.
- Language: Italian
- RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
- TT: Vintage (1982) Yamaha PX-3
- Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
- Phono amp: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Vintage (1979) Luxman L-55A
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music.
Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.
I tend more and more, in the last time, to de-click with an automatic setting between 0.7 and 1.2 so you can say, my rips are like half rough rips.
- Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Very light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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I reinvest all donations in maintenance of my rig, for purchasing cleaning solutions and, most important of all, purchasing of new vinyls.
Click on the “Donate”-button. Thank you very much !
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