Opera Gems is a site which focuses on aspects of opera and reviews performances of choice. Opera Gems complements a host of formidable opera sites by following a singular path in its presentations and reviews.

The panel reflects, features bits of opera, composers, singers, occasional operetta and recalls great opera and ballad singers. Fair use is made of photos and audio files to illustrate and clarify comments made in the texts.

The panel reviews operas, comments on and allots marks to the opera performers. Fair use is made of photos, audio and possibly video files to convey visual, sound or video perception of comments made in the texts. 

Operatic scene photos, occasional photos, portraits, audio and video files with description and comment are displayed, ranked and kept in gallery.

Opera Gems is an enthusiastic activity by non-professionals for interest to opera devotees and people who appreciate opera.



Eva Maria Westbroek as Francesca

and Marcello Giordani as Paolo

in Zandonai's FRANCESCA DA RIMINI act I

(The Met - 2013)



Finale ultimo >>>>>

in act IV

The soprano is Maria Caniglia in the role of Francesca, the tenor Giacinto Prandelli as Paolo and the baritone Carlo Tagiabue as Giovanni in 1952 (ed.)


See also Gallery



Isaac Hurtad as The Duke of Mantua

and Andrew Fernando as Rigoletto

in Verdi's RIGOLETTO act I

(San Jose` Opera - 2008)




Gilda – Renata Scotto

Rigoletto – Ettore Bastianini

The Duke – Alfredo Kraus

Maddalena – Fiorenza Cossotto

Sparafucile – Ivo Vinco

Monterone – Silvio Maionica

with chorus and orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under Gianandrea Gavazzeni (1960).

Our panel member, soprano Lynn Samohel, gives a splendid account of the opera and comments on the legendary performers.


RIGOLETTO The prelude >>>>>

RIGOLETTO act I Questa o quella >>>>>

                      Ch'io gli parli >>>>>


A commentary of the opera RIGOLETTO by Verdi is saved in Archive



Arrigo Boito (1842-1918) the Italian poet, journalist, novelist and composer is best known for his libretti, especially those of Giuseppe Verdi's operas Otello, Falstaff and his own opera Mefistofele.


MEFISTOFELE The Prologue >>>>>


See also Gallery


Jonas Kaufmann as Don Jose

and Magdalena Kozena as Carmen

in Bizet's CARMEN act I

(Salzburg Festival - 2012)

CARMEN The flower song >>>>>


See also Gallery


Nmon Ford as Zurga

and Leah Partridge as Leila


(Michigan Opera - 2012)


THE PEARL FISHERS "Je crois entendre encore"

from act I >>>>>


See also Gallery


Deborah Voigt as Minnie


(The Met - 2011)


See also Gallery



Mara Zampieri as Minnie Falconer, Placido Domingo as Dick Johnson, Juan Pons as Jack Rance and Antonio Salvadori as Sonora at the Teatro alla Scala in 1991. A star cast with chorus and orchestra under Lorin Maazel.

The prelude, the miners' nostalgia and delight at Minnie's entrance >>>>>


Lise Lindstrom as Turandot

in Puccini's TURANDOT act II

(Lyric Opera of Kansas City - 2011)



Nessun dorma >>>>>

Nessun dorma >>>>>

The tenor is Giacomo Lauri-Volpi in 1934

Nessun dorma >>>>> 

The tenor is Mario Del Monaco in 1956

Nessun dorma >>>>>

The tenor is Franco Corelli in 1961

Nessun dorma >>>>>

The tenor is Salvatore Fisichella in 2001


Four Italian great tenors in a fray for supremacy

Lauri-Volpi, Del Monaco, Corelli and Fisichella were among many great tenors in the golden age of opera in Italy and the world. The chosen four battle it out in the wake of the well known and famous tenor Luciano Pavarotti who sang and made “Nessun dorma” a victory piece during the FA world Cup in Italy in 1990. Personally, the great arioso is sung by Lauri-Volpi with vocal purity and his famous squillo, Del Monaco pours it out with weight and volume, Corelli with beauty of tone and nobillity and Fisichella with enthusiasm and zest (ed.)


See also Gallery



Angela Gheorghiu as Magda

in Puccini's LA RONDINE

(The Met - 2009)


"Il bel sogno di Doretta" >>>>>

The soprano is Luba Orgonasova in 1989 (ed.)


Carter Scott as Tosca

in Puccini's TOSCA act II

(Fort Worth Opera - 2012)


Jose Cura as Cavaradossi

in Puccini's TOSCA act III

(Vienna State Opera - 2012)


Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore >>>>>

E lucevan le stelle >>>>>

Un tal baccano in chiesa >>>>>

The baritone is Giuseppe Taddei in 1963

E lucevan le stelle >>>>>

The tenor is Giuseppe Di Stefano in 1945 (ed.)


See also Gallery


Angela Gheorghiu as Adriana


(The Royal Opera - 2010)



A medley of the opera >>>>>

"Io son l'umile ancella" >>>>>

The soprano is Renata Tebaldi in 1961

La dolcissima effige >>>>>

The tenor is Franco Corelli in 1962 (ed.)

See also Gallery


Phoenicia Johnson as Laura

and Susannah Glanville as Luisa

in Verdi's LUISA MILLER act I

(Buxton Festival - 2010)


LUISA MILLER Overture >>>>>

"Ti desta, Luisa, regina dei cori" >>>>>

The mezzo is Audrey Michael in 1979 (ed.)


See also Gallery


Zoryana Kushpler as Ulrica


(Vienna State Opera - 2012)



Prelude to act I >>>>>

"Finisci il vaticidio" >>>>>

from the act I Finale

The tenor is Mario Del Monaco in the role of Riccardo and the mezzosoprano is Giulietta Simionato in that of Ulrica at the Geneva Great Theatre in May 1946 (ed.)


See also Gallery


Annalena Persson as Isolde

and Clifton Forbis as Tristan


(Opera Seattle - 2012)




See also Gallery


Giovanni Meoni as Count Di Luna

in Verdi's IL TROVATORE act II

(Opera Royal de Wallonie - 2012)



"Vedi le fosche notturne spoglie" >>>>>

from act II

"Di quella pira" >>>>>

from act III

The tenor is Giacomo Lauri-Volpi in 1941 (ed.)


See also Gallery


The slaying of king Duncan

in Verdi's MACBETH act I

(Teatro dell'Opera di Roma - 2011)



"Orrore...O gran Dio" >>>>>

from act I Finale

"Si colmi il calice" >>>>>

from act II

The soprano is Lucia Aliberti in 2008 (ed.)


See also Gallery


Jill Grove as Amneris

in Verdi's opera AIDA act I

(Chicago Lyric Opera - 2012)



"Celeste Aida" >>>>>

"Su del Nilo al sacro lido"

and "Ritorna vincitor" >>>>>

from act I

"Gloria all'Egitto", Marcia trionfale, "Vieni"

and "O guerriero vindice" >>>>>

from act II (ed.)


See also Gallery


Enkelejd Shicosa as Giulietta

and Giuseppe Filianoti as Hoffmann

in Offenbach's opera LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN

(The Met - 2010)


LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN Barcarolle >>>>>


See also Gallery


Ginger Costa-Jackson as Lola,

Marcello Giordani as Turiddu

and Idilko Komiosi as Santuzza

in Mascagni's opera CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA

(Gran Teatre del Liceu - 2011)




Brian Jagde as Pinkerton

and Sandra Lopez as Butterfly

in Puccini's opera MADAMA BUTTERFLY act I

(Virginia Opera - 2011)


"Un bel dì" from act II >>>>>

The Humming Chorus from act II >>>>>



Fiorenza Cedolins as Butterfly, Francesca Franci as Suzuki, Marcello Giordani as Pinkerton and Juan Pons as Sharpless at the Arena di Verona in 2004. A star cast with chorus and orchestra under Daniel Oren.

The prelude to act III, the awakening of Suzuki and Butterfly >>>>>


The village scene

in Puccini's EDGAR act I

(Teatro Comunale di Bologna - 2010)


EDGAR Prelude andante con moto act I >>>>>

EDGAR Prelude lento triste act III >>>>>


See also Gallery


Annalisa Raspagliosi as Anna

and Carlo Ventre as Roberto

in Puccini's LE VILLI act I

(Oper Frankfurt - 2010)


LE VILLI Prelude >>>>>

LE VILLI The witches' Sabbath >>>>>


See also Gallery


Timothy Nolan as Lescaut

and Melody Moore as Manon Lescaut

in Puccini's MANON LESCAUT act I

(New Orleans Opera - 2008)


MANON LESCAUT Intermezzo >>>>>


See also Gallery


Simon O'Neill as Siegmund

and Waltraud Meier as Sieglinde

in Wagner's DIE WALKÜRIE act II

(Teatro alla Scala - 2011)


DIE WALKÜRIE Ride of the Valkeries >>>>>


Johan Botha as Otello

and Zvetelina Vassileva as Desdemona

in Verdi's OTELLO act IV

(San Francisco Opera - 2010)


OTELLO "Ave Maria" and "The Kiss" motive

from act IV >>>>>



Joseph Calleja as Gabriele

and Placido Domingo as Simon


(The Royal Opera - 2010)


See also Gallery


Varduhi Abrahamyan as Bersi

in Giordano's opera ANDREA CHÉNIER act II

(Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse - 2009)


See also Gallery



Anya Matanovic as Nannetta,

Sasha Cooke as Meg Page

and Svetla Vassileva as Alice Ford

in Verdi's FALSTAFF act I

(Seattle Opera - 2010)


See also Gallery


Salvatore Fisichella as Gualtiero

and Lucia Aliberti as Imogene

in Bellini's IL PIRATA act II

(Teatro Massimo Bellini - 2001)


See also Gallery


Grant Doyle as Count Almaviva

and Sophie Bevan as Susanna

in Mozart's LE NOZZE DI FIGARO act III

(Garsington Opera - 2010)


See also Gallery


Emma Matthews as Lucia

in Donizetti's LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR act II

(Opera Australia - 2008)


See also Gallery


Marina Poplavskaya as Elisabetta

and Jonas Kaufmann as Don Carlo

in Verdi's DON CARLO act V

(The Royal Opera - 2009)


See also Gallery


Sally-Anne Russell as Malika

and Emma Matthews as Lakmé

in Delibes' LAKMÉ act I

(Opera Australia - 2006)


See also Gallery


Beatrice Una Monzon as Charlotte

and Giuseppe Filianoti as Werther

in Massenet's WERTHER  act IV

(Teatro dell'Opera di Roma - 2007)


See also Gallery



Ekaterina Siurina as Amina

in Bellini's LA SONNAMBULA act I

(Michigan Opera Theatre - 2008)

See also Gallery


Anne-Sophie Dupreils as Manon

in Massenet's MANON act I

(Scottish Opera - 2009)


See also Gallery



Mariusz Kwiecien as Riccardo

and Norah Amsellem as Elvira

in Bellini's I PURITANI act I

(Seattle Opera - 2009)


See also Gallery



Roberto Alagna as Canio

and Nuccia Focile as Nedda

in Leoncavallo's PAGLIACCI

(The Met - 2009)


See also Gallery


Kristina Wahlin as Isabella

and Reinhard Dorn as Mustafà

in Rossini's L'ITALIANA IN ALGERI act II

(Oper Köln - 2007)


See also Gallery



Susanna Phillips as Musetta

in Puccini's LA BOHÈME act II

(The Met - 2008)


See also Gallery



Olga Borodina as Laura

in Ponchielli's LA GIOCONDA act I

(The Met - 2008)


See also Gallery



James Westman as Figaro

and Allyson McHardy as Rosina


(Minnesota Opera - 2009)



Antonello Palombi as Don Alvaro

and Ned Barth as Don Carlo di Vargas


(Baltimore Opera - 2007)


See also Gallery



Petra Maria Schnitzer as Elisabeth

and Eric Halfvarson as Langraf Hermann

in Wagner's TANNHÄUSER act II

(San Francisco Opera - 2007)


See also Gallery


Stephane Degout as Papageno and

Diana Damrau as Pamina

in Mozart's DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE act I

(The Met - 2007)

See also Gallery



José Cura as Samson and

Denyce Graves as Dalila

in Saint-Saëns' SAMSON ET DALILA act II

(The Met - 2005)

Four versions of the aria Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix are published in Gallery. (ed.)


Michael Colvin as King Argirio and

Robert Pornakov as Orbazzano in

Rossini's TANCREDI act I

(Canadian Opera Company 2005)

An audio and video on the opera Tancredi are published in Gallery. (ed.)


Piero Cappuccilli as Gérard and

José Carreras as Andrea Chénier in

Giordano's ANDREA CHÉNIER act II

(Teatro alla Scala 1985)

A free video including this scene is published in Gallery. (ed.)


SUOR ANGELICA Ave Maria piena di grazia >>

The soprano is Rosanna Carteri in 1950 (ed.)


Andrea Giovannini as Rinuccio and

Amarilli Nizza as Lauretta


(Teatro Comunale di Modena - 2007)

GIANNI SCHICCHI O mio babbino caro >>

The soprano is Liz Schwarzkopf in 1948 (ed.)


Lisa Gasteen as Brunhilde and

James Morris as Wotan

in Wagner's DIE WALKÜRE act III

(The Met - 2008)

See also Gallery


NABUCCO by Giuseppe Verdi

A review of NABUCCO, the opera itself, a comparison between the Arena di Verona production featuring Ghena Dimitrova as Abigaille in 1981 and the St. Margareten production featuring Gabriella Morigi as Abigaille in 2007, comments, marks allotted by members of the panel and video files in support are published.

See Opera review  


 Dimitrova as                     Morigi as

   Elisabetta                        Norma


Gabriella Morigi as Abigaille

in Verdi's NABUCCO act III scene 1

(Opernfestspiele St. Margarethen - 2007)


Tenor Salvatore Fisichella

Our Guest of Honour, tenor Salvatore Fisichella, has accepted our invitation to give his thoughts on the two productions of NABUCCO. His expert comments, written in his usually elegant and inimitable style, are published in English and Italian. (ed.)

See Opera review  




Tchaikovsky's THE NUTCRACKER act I

(National Ballet Sofia - 2006)




(Arabesque Dance Company Sofia - 2006)

See "Free ballet"

of Gallery



See also Gallery



Two of the greatest tenors of the Italian Romantic Opera were recalled in January and July 2008:


Salvatore Fisichella             Luciano Pavarotti

       as Arturo                         as Riccardo


"On winning the Concorso Lirico Adriano Belli, in 1970 Fisichella debuted at Spoleto in Werther and one year later at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma in Rigoletto and I Puritani. Since then, Fisichella advanced in his career triumphantly." writes Joseph

Published in Reflections


"Luciano Pavarotti was definitely acclaimed as the greatest opera singer since Caruso. His recordings are still selling by the millions, he was known and loved throughout the world because he brought opera into the lives of everyone." concludes Lynn

Published in Recalls       



The following powerful tenore lirico-spinto has been recalled in November 2007 and the mythical basso will be recalled in April 2009:


  Mario Di Felici                     Boris Christoff

    as Rodolfo                            as Boris                       


"The very young Di Felici got an audition with the great tenor Mario Del Monaco. He was very impressed by the voice and physical presence of Di Felici to whom he gave some advice, wished him a quick progress and saw an heir in him." writes Joseph   

Saved in Archive


"It was a powerful, very easily recognizable voice belonging to one of the greatest interpreters of the Italian repertoire and also of Russian operas. He had a huge impact on the operatic scene due to his temperament and unchallengeable stage presence." writes Lynn on Christoff's voice

Published in Recalls       



Two of the greatest sopranos of the Italian Romantic Opera will be recalled in November 2009 and May 2010:       

     Maria Callas                       Leyla Gencer


"The legendary soprano Maria Callas also known and acclaimed as La Divina was a genial and tragic singing-actress, a fully fledged interpreter and a restorer of the virtuoso technique" writes Joseph  


Published in Reflections


"...A beautiful, grand voice, a rare soprano with an unbelievable belcanto technique ... these were reviews since Leyla Gencer stepped on the podium the very first time" writes Lynn


Published in Recalls   


Opera Gems has created a new series in gallery called OPERA YOUNG VOICES in line with a policy of exposing promising young talents. The following six ladies and two gentlemen will be recalled in gallery around and beyond Christmas 2006:


      Chiara Ursino                 Melita Lamicela

                          Sopranos                                   (2006)        



     Paola Cacciatori               Mihai Bogdan

      Mezzosoprano                     Tenore                 (2006) 



    Alfie Boe                       Nancy Calà  

   Tenore                           Soprano 

 (2006)                             (2007)


    Ivanna Speranza               Roxana Cetali



Login and Search by Keyword for operayoungvoices (no space) >>>>>

The new series in gallery on promising young talents is proving to be a continuous success. Some of the young singers have already expressed their thanks for the comments posted in gallery.

See Feedback



Pinkerton (from the distance):

Butterfly!…Butterfly!  Butterfly!

Madama Butterfly act III and finale ultimo


With style and elegance, our Guest of Honour, tenor Salvatore Fisichella, retraces the origin of Madama Butterfly, its music, its characters, the less amiable Pinkerton, the opera premiere disaster, the reasons for his preferred Milan version and his thoughts on Pinkerton's vocality.


The article in Italian and English is published in


The production of MADAMA BUTTERFLY at Torre del Lago Puccini in 2000 is reviewed. Our Guest of Honour, tenor Salvatore Fisichella, sang Pinkerton opposite soprano Maria Pia Ionata as Cio-Cio-San. The music author Puccini is profiled and the opera critically evaluated, comments are made on and marks allotted to the performers by members of the panel, with 1 audio and 6 video files in support.

Saved in Archive


Charlotte: Ces lettres! ces lettres!

Ah! Je les relis sans cesse

Werther acte III

(Stage set at Teatro Comunale di Bologna 2004)


A commentary of the opera WERTHER by Jules Massenet with a stellar cast led by tenor Georges Thill as Werther under Elie Cohen (1931) is published in featured bits

Soprano Ninon Vallin and tenor Georges Thill sing the languid duet IL FAUT NOUS SEPARER (We have to separate) from WERTHER act II by Jules Massenet (1842-1912) >>>>>


LA TRAVIATA Prelude and Violetta's entrance >>


A review of LA TRAVIATA, the opera itself, a comparison between the Covent Garden production featuring Angela Gheorghiu as Violetta in 1994 and La Fenice production featuring Edita Gruberova as Violetta in 2004, comments, marks allotted by members of the panel and 8 video files in support are published.

Saved in Archive


Gheorghiu (1990)           Gruberova (1975)



Mara Zampieri as Minnie Falconer, Placido Domingo as Dick Johnson, Juan Pons as Jack Rance and Antonio Salvadori as Sonora at theTeatro alla Scala in 1991. A star cast with chorus and orchestra under Lorin Maazel.

Saved in Archive


Our Guest of Honour, tenor Salvatore Fisichella, relates a letter from Puccini to Ricordi concerning a Fanciulla del West. With elegance and fervor, the tenor writes about Puccini within the context of the opera and about its moments of nostalgia, passion and farewell. (ed.)

Our Guest of Honour, tenor Salvatore Fisichella, confides his initial feelings of strong doubt to sing the demanding role of Arnoldo in Guillaume Tell. He recollects his early experiences in the role and that great night in Zurich. (ed.)

Both articles in Italian and English are published and saved in Archive




The great scene of Casta Diva in the opera Norma

The prelude >>>>>


A star cast led by Gabriella Morigi and Salvatore Fisichella (pictured) with chorus and orchestra under Alberto Hold-Garrido at the Finland National Opera in 2004 Helsinki. Direction by the celebrated oprano Renata Scotto. Scenography by Carlo Diappi, the renowned costume designer in films and television.

Saved in Archive

Our Guest of Honour, tenor Salvatore Fisichella, reflects on his fascination for Bellini's music since childhood, his intense study and work on the Bellinian operas, culminating in a dream prize, and the last pearl of the chain: Norma. (ed.)

Saved in Archive



Lohengrin´ swan and the opera murals in King Ludwig´s Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

A commentary of the opera LOHENGRIN by Wagner with a cast led by tenor Ben Heppner as Lohengrin under Sir Colin Davis (1994) is saved in Archive

Prelude >>




Salvatore Gioia

An admrable tenore di grazia

(1933- 1999)

Born in Villarosa, Sicily, the handsome looking tenor was destined to tread the paths of great lyric tenors of grace such as Tagliavini, Schipa, Valletti, Alva and the youthful Di Stefano but for an incurable disease which forced him to abandon a very promising artistic career and spend a long time recovering in a hospital of Siracusa. His battle horses were Bellini’s Sonnambula, Massenet’s Manon and Donizetti’s The elixir of love. Outside Italy, he sang at Toulouse, Baden, Dublin and Lima. He liked live concerts together with prestigious sopranos such as Magda Olivero, Fiorella Ortis and Edda Vincenzi. His recordings are rare to find except for some vinyl discs and registrations by RAI.


From L'arlesiana by Francesco Cilea (1866-1950), Salvatore Gioia sings E` la solita storia del pastore >>>>>


See also Gallery       



Sondra Radvanovsky

The soprano with great vocality

Born in Berwyn, Illinois, Sondra Radvanovsky is an American soprano of Russian descent. Her dramatic stage presence and versatile vocal gifts have attracted the attention of audiences and critics who see her as one of the prominent Verdi and Puccini sopranos of her generation. She possesses the unusual flexibility demanded in such roles as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and the title role of Lucrezia Borgia but the power and intensely plaintive quality of her sound allow her to include in her repertoire characters such as Tatiana in Eugene Onegin and the title role of Rusalka.    

From I Vespri Siciliani by Verdi (1813-1901) Sondra Radvanovsky sings Merce`, dilette amiche >>>>>

See also Gallery



Happy Valentine' s Day to all our visitors

Luciano Virgili sings

Portami tante rose by Bixio


Tonina Torrielli sings

Amami se vuoi by Panzeri




Olga Borodina

The thrillingly dramatic mezzo

In the footsteps of Gabriella Besanzoni, the Russian mezzo is an ideal Carmen and Delila with savage, voluptuous and ferocious fickleness and in those of Dolora Zajick, sha is an ideal Amneris with silent but relentless vengeance. Her Princesse de Bouillon in the intoxicating opera Adriana Lecouvreur by Cilea proved to be the opera’s best performance, namely, an embodiment of desire and torment that, in her interaction with Maurizio and Adriana, revealed emotional complexity instead of mere vengeance.      


See also Gallery


Deborah Voigt

Darling of the Golden West!

Deborah Voigt is an American dramatic soprano of German descent. Since 2000, she has gradually expanded her repertoire to Italian opera which is beyond her specialty in Strauss and Wagner roles that call for the high dramatic soprano range. She sang Puccini's Tosca in concert, Verdi's Lady MacBeth, Leonora in Il trovatore, the title role in Aida, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera and most recently has begun to sing Minnie in La fanciulla del West where the soprano emerged in this very demanding role.



From act I

Renata Tebaldi sings 'Laggiu` nel soledad" >>>>>

Juan Pons sings "Minnie, dalla mia casa" >>>>>

From act III

Vasco Campagnano sings

"Ch'ella mi creda libero e lontano" >>>>>


Teresa Zylis-Gara

Teresa Zylis-Gara is a Polish operatic soprano who had a major international career during the 1950s through the 1990s. Although chiefly known for her portrayals in operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giacomo Puccini, and Giuseppe Verdi, she sang a broad repertoire that embraced a wide array of musical periods and languages. In addition to her work on the stage, she has been active as a concert singer and recitalist.

The main soloists:

Teresa Zylis-Gara (soprano)

as Leonora

Gordon Greer (tenor)

as Manrico

Il Trovatore act IV scene 1 by Verdi (1813-1901) >>>>>


See also Gallery



Opera Gems recalls the French National Day which is celebrated on 14 July of each year.

La Marseillaise, a war song, was written by Rouget De Lisle, an officer of the Republican Army in 1792. François-Joseph Gossec and Hector Berlioz arranged the music in 1830. By a government decree on 14 February 1879, the song

was declared the French national anthem.

Georges Thill sings

La Marseillaise

by Rouget De Lisle


Georges Thill sings

Le Chant du Départ 

by Etienne-Nicolas Méhul >>>>>


Simon Ghraichy

Simon Ghraichy is a very talented piano virtuoso from France, who in early 2012 was on tour in Australia, visiting Sydney and other cities, where he gave recitals to the great delight of audiences. His graduation program at the Conservatoire National de Paris has been qualified as “stupendous” by one of the Jury members. He has studied under masters such as Michel Béroff and Daria Hovora within the Conservatoire National de Paris and Tuija Hakkila at the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki. He has won international awards: Prizes at the International Piano Competition in Rio de Janeiro, the International Piano competition in Mexico, the Torneo Internazionale di Musica in Rome among others. (ed.)


Sacred dance and final duet of AIDA by Verdi - Transcription by Franz Liszt played by Simon Ghraichy - >>>>>


Reminiscences of DON GIOVANNI by Mozart -

Transcription by Franz Liszt played by Simon Ghraichy - Partial rendition >>>>>


Indian dance - illustration of L'AFRICAINE by Meyerbeer - Transcription by Franz Liszt played by Simon Ghraichy - Partial rendition >>>>>


See also Gallery



Queen Elizabeth II in 1951

Elizabeth II is one of the longest reigning monarchs in English history. This year marks her 60 years of reign on the English throne. As a granddaughter of the monarch in the male line, Elizabeth's full title at birth was Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York. She was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle, Edward, Prince of Wales, and her father. She was not expected to become queen, as the Prince of Wales was still young and many assumed he would marry and have children of his own. As monarchs in the female line, one should recall Queen Victoria, the austere queen, and Elizabeth I, the virgin queen, daughter of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII.(ed.)


Fantasia on Greensleeves

composed by Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) and played by the LPO >>>>>


Knightsbridge March from London Suite composed by Eric Coates (1886-1957)

and played by the LPO >>>>>


Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 composed by

Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

and played by the LPO >>>>>


The National Anthem played by the LPO >>>>>



Giacomo Lauri-Volpi

as Radames

"Personally, I never heard Lauri-Volpi singing live but those who did have said that on the stage the tenor's voice was of such squillo and fullness that none of the recordings he left us bear testinony. A pity! It would have been a case of witnessing the miracle of a voice. His deportment on the stage had such charismatic quality that some slight defect was forgiven, if there was any."

(Salvatore Fisichella)  


From The Nile Scene

act III of AIDA by Verdi.

"Vieni d'Iside al Tempio" >>>>>

The bass is Luigi Manfrini and the mezzosoprano Irene Minghini-Cattaneo in 1928


"Ma dimmi per qual via"


The soprano is Elisabeth Rethberg, the tenor Giacomo Lauri-Volpi and the baritone Giuseppe de Luca in 1930





Karita Mattila as Tosca

in Puccini's homonymous opera


From Tannhauser by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) the exciting Finnish soprano lirico drammatico Karita Mattila sings

Dich teure Halle >>>>>


From La forza del destino by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) Karita Mattila sings

Pace, pace mio Dio >>>>>



Opera Gems wishes

all its visitors the

Compliments of the Season

and Best Wishes for the

New Year


Salvatore Fisichella sings

Cantique de Noel  by Adam


Luciano Pavarotti sings

Ave Maria by Gounod >>>>>

Georges Thill sings

Agnus Dei by Bizet >>>>>




On May 5, 1860, Giuseppe Garibaldi led an expedition of 1000 men and conquered Sicily thus annexing it to the rising Italian State.

On May 5 this year, 151 years after Giuseppe Garibaldi's expedition, Italy celebrates its National Unification

I Vespri Siciliani (1861)

Overture by Giuseppe Verdi




Dame Joan Sutherland

Dame Joan Sutherland has been a foreign pillar of the Italian belcanto together with mezzo soprano Marilyn Horne. She had an intense soprano voice in the middle and extremely limpid in the high register, an elegantly melancholic timbre, an absolute, classical, Italian technique and an immaculate coloratura. She sang Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Meyerbeer, Massenet and made some excursion in operetta. (ed.)


From The Merry Widow by Lehàr (1870-1948)

Joan Sutherland sings

Vilja Song >>>>>



Giulietta Simionato

Giulietta Simionato spent half of her career as a comprimaria, the other half as an acclaimed prima donna and a colleague of Callas and Del Monaco. She had a mezzosoprano voice, profound musicality and excellent technical equipment with particular merit for agility. She sang a great variety of roles: Gluck’s Orfeo, Rossini’s Cenerentola, Seymour from Anna Bolena, the soprano-like Valentina from The Huguenots, the contralto-like Zia Principessa from Suor Angelica, Adalgisa from Norma, Carmen, Amneris and Santuzza. (ed.)


From Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

Giulietta Simionato sings

Si apre per te il mio cuor >>>>>



Gabriella Morigi as

the High Priestess Norma in

Bellini's NORMA

NORMA act I - Sinfonia >>

NORMA act II - Brano >>

  NORMA act II - Finale >>

The soloists:

S. Fisichella (tenor)

G. Morigi (soprano)

H. Forsberg (bass)




The Messa da Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi is a music composition of the Roman Catholic funeral Mass first performed on May 22, 1874, to mark the first anniversary of the death of Alessandro Manzoni, an Italian poet and novelist much venerated by Verdi. (ed.)


This Requiem was performed at Solingen in 1995 with the MGV Wupperhorf Choir 1812 of which S. Fisichella is an honorary member. (ed.)

The soloists:

S. Fisichella (tenor)

L. Rybarska (soprano)

B. Baglioni (mezzosoprano)

Y. Nesterenko (bass)

1. Requiem and Kyrie           (chorus and soloists) >>>>>

2. Dies irae                    (chorus) >>>>>

Tuba mirum

(chorus and bass) >>>>>

Liber scriptus

(mezzo and chorus) >>>>>

Quid sum miser

(soprano, mezzo, tenor)     


Rex tremendae

(chorus and soloists) >>>>>


(soprano and mezzo) >>>>>


(tenor) >>>>>


(bass and chorus) >>>>>

3. Domine Jesu

(soloists) >>>>>

4. Sanctus

(choruses I and II) >>>>>

5. Agnus Dei

(soprano, mezzo, chorus)


6. Lux aeterna

(mezzo, tenor, bass)


7. Libera me

(soprano and chorus) >>>>>



Maria Callas

A reflection on the mythical soprano has been published in November 2009


Published in Reflections



Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) filled the void of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, became rapidly the foremost Italian living composer and from 1839 to 1893 wrote thirty operas many of which never left the repertory of the world major opera houses. Verdi wrote impressive and magnificent overtures to many of the operas among which those of the operas La forza del destino and I Vespri Siciliani come to mind as works of classical magnificence. (ed.)


Lucia Aliberti

as Beatrice di Tenda

Doubtless, Lucia Aliberti is currently one of the last prima donnas. She treads the distinguished path of belcanto legendary sopranos, Pasta, Patti, Tetrazzini and Robin, Callas, Gruberova and Sutherland last century. Like Callas, Aliberti is endowed by the renowned triple voice: coloratura, lyrical and dramatic, one prevailing on the other two depending on the role. The timbre is unique, the pianissimo stupefying, the mid register enchanting and the high notes are powerful. Her operatic repertoire is imposing, including works by Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Gounod, Delibes, Massenet, Meyerbeer, Thomas, the youthful works by Verdi and La Bohème by Puccini. She performs in the world major theatres, concerts and festivals. (ed.)      


From Roméo et Juliette by Gounod (1818-1893) Lucia Aliberti sings Je veux vivre >>>>>


From I Lombardi alla prima crociata by Verdi (1813-1901) Lucia Aliberti sings

I vinti sorgono >>>>>


See also Archive   



Nicolae Herlea

as Rodrigo

A leading Romanian baritone of his generation, he studied in Bucharest and Rome and debuted at the Bucharest Opera as Silvio in I Pagliacci during 1951. His repertoire included Italian and Russian roles. His powerful voice was considered one of the finest after World War II. Herlea’s is a beautiful, rich and powerful voice with a velvety timbre. He has no difficulty in singing Verdi’s high tessitura and with gloriously ringing high notes. Herlea also displays a fine legato in a wide-ranging perfectly matched scale. He was not the most adventurous singer in terms of repertoire but that beautiful sound which has been called the “Herlea sound” was always enjoyed.



See also Gallery    



Maria Caniglia

Maria Caniglia was, without a doubt, the most known and acclaimed soprano between 1930 and 1950. She was one of the last great voices out of the Neapolitan school following soprano Giannina Arangi-Lombardi and mezzo Ebe Stignani. In her prime, she probably had the most beautiful voices which Italy could vaunt before Renata Tebaldi came to the fore. Caniglia’s voice was exceptionally pure, fluid, the timbre sweet and pulpy, the lower register voluminous and powerful, the accent really expressive and convincing and the upper register sure and ringing. She sang the operas of all major Italian composers and recorded 28 full operas co-starring legendary tenors, the likes of Gigli, Lauri-Volpi, Corelli and Masini. (ed.)


From Lohengrin by Richard Wagner (1813-1883), Maria Caniglia sings Elsa's aria Sola nei prim'anni  >>>>>


See also Gallery



Renata Tebaldi

as Desdemona

The voice of “an angel” according to the known definition by Toscanini was homogeneous, had a unique more than a rare timbre almost imbued with all the colours of the iris, a lyric expression of boundless elegance and a technique which was surest in the emission and dynamic play. She sang Verdi, Puccini, Catalani, Ponchielli, Giordano, Cilea and the early Wagner from 1944 to 1976 in Italy and the United States, resulting in an immense popularity. (ed.)


From Adriana Lecouvreur by Francesco Cilea (1866-1950), Renata Tebaldi sings Poveri fiori >>>>>



Montserrat Caballé

Montserrat Caballé has been the only post-Callas soprano to deserve the aura of the legend. An immaculate voice in the two octaves, lyric timbre between beauty and expression, perfect emission, sensitive embellishment and tender coloratura allowed her to shine in late-classic and pre-romantic singing. She sang Rossini, Bellini, Verdi, Donizetti, also Handel, Mozart, Wagner, Ponchielli, Puccini and Strauss. (ed.)


From I Masnadieri by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901),

Montserrat Caballé sings the cabaletta Carlo vive? o caro accento >>>>>



Peter Glossop

Peter Glossop, a Verdian interpreter of quality, was one of the pre-eminent baritones of the Sixties and Seventies and specialised in such demanding roles as Rigoletto, Iago, Rodrigo (Don Carlos) and Count di Luna (Il Trovatore). He was often heard in London, at both Sadler’s Wells and Covent Garden, and appeared at all the world’s leading opera houses. The voice was sumptuous, powerful, dark and bent to a play of ligature and portamento. (ed.)

From Otello by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), Peter Glossop sings Credo in un Dio crudel >>>>>


Gianni Raimondi as

Wilhelm Meister in

Thomas' MIGNON

Gianni Raimondi, a mainstay of La Scala during the Golden Age of Italian tenors, was Percy beside Callas' Anna Bolena, Devereux beside Caballé's Elisabeth of England and Alfredo beside Zeani's Violetta. With an extended, robust and thrilling voice, he sang Arturo in I Puritani, Guglielmo Tell in Rossini's masterpiece of the same name, Fernando in La Favorita and Rodolfo in La Bohème conducted by von Karajan in 1963. (ed.)


From Mignon by Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896), Gianni Raimondi sings Ah, non credevi tu  >>>>


Gabriella Morigi as

the High Priestess Norma in

Bellini's NORMA

She is the greatest Norma of her generation and sings the famous aria Casta Diva in Gallery




The  International Josef Traxel Vocal Society

It is a purely philanthropic society, established in 2005 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of passing of the great German tenor Josef Traxel and incorporated under the Quebec Registry of non-profit organizations ( Nr. 1164048960 ).

There is a NEW RELEASE of Historical Recordings by Hamburger Archiv für Gesangskunst: A Special Edition with the great German Tenor Josef Traxel  (1916 -1975). Many so far unpublished audio-documents are now accessible to the public. 

Further details may be obtained by contacting the following address:

Dr. Gérard MOHR

4048 Bd. Dorchester Ouest MONTRÉAL Qc. H3Z 1T9


(Tél. 514- 935 5658) gerardmohrmd@qc.aira.com


Tenor Salvatore Fisichella

in the title role of

Gaetano Donizetti's


One of the greatest interpreters of Italian Romantic operas

in Manrico's aria

Di quella pira


(Concert at Solingen - 1989)


Verdi authorised the high C in the cabaletta “Di quella pira” but added, “provided it is beautiful and well flung". Countless legendary and great tenors have sung the cabaletta and the high C. Here above, tenor Salvatore Fisichella sings the cabaletta and his high C is the longest in history, 2 seconds longer than the one of the famous tenor Giacomo Lauri-Volpi. (ed.)



Leyla Gencer

Leyla Gencer known as the last diva of the XX century sang Gluck, Cherubini, Spontini, Pacini, Rossini, Bellini, Verdi but had a predilection for the prolific Donizetti with unforgettable portrays of Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, Antonina (Belisario), Paolina (Poliuto), Caterina Cornaro and Lucrezia Borgia, probably her masterpiece. She achieved a strong presence in the opera world, not only by the variety of her repertoire but also with the dramatic nuances of the operatic heroines she sang.


From Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Leyla Gencer sings Ah! Fuggi il traditor! >>>>>

See also Gallery


Giuseppe Di Stefano

From Mignon by Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896), Giuseppe Di Stefano sings Addio Mignon! >>>>>

See also Gallery



Roxana Briban as Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow (2004)

The great Romanian soprano exploded on the world stage in 2001. This unique ambassadress of the Italian and International repertoire has a solid technique, a taste for nuance, elegant articulations, dramatic gestures and steely top notes.

See also Gallery


The legendary Greek soprano lirico-drammatico Maria Callas as Paolina and Italian tenore lirico-spinto Franco Corelli as Poliuto in Donizetti's POLIUTO act I (La Scala 1960)

Published in Featured Bits



The celebrated Bulgarian soprano lirico-drammatico Ghena Dimitrova as the scheming Abigaille in Nabucco act I at the Arena di Verona (1981)



The great tenore lirico-spinto José Carreras and soprano lirico-spinto Eva Marton as the two lovers condemned to the guillotine in ANDREA CHENIER act IV at La Scala (1985)

See Gallery



The famous Hungarian

Sir Georg Solti

conducts Verdi's

SIMON BOCCANEGRA at Covent Garden (1991)

Saved in Archive



Morigi as Desdemona

Giacomini as Otello


(Theater Biel, Solothurn, 2005)



Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

one of the greatest voices of XX century

in Elsa's aria

Einsam in truben tagen

from LOHENGRIN act I




Corelli in 1946

He was one of the finest tenors of the XX century and had "a voice of heroic power yet great beauty of tone, of thunder, lightning, fire and blood, mysteriously melancholic and darkly sensuous" (Herbert von Karajan on Franco Corelli's voice at the Salzburg Festival).

From the Epilogue of Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito (1842-1918), Franco Corelli sings Giunto sul passo estremo >>>>>

From Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919), Franco Corelli sings Recitar >>>>>

Lynn, a member of the panel, knew Corelli in person. A recall of the great tenor is

published and saved in Archive



The famous American bass Samuel Ramey and tenor Mihai Bogdan outside The Met (2004)


The celebrated Mirella Freni and tenor Mihai Bogdan captured candidly at her Corso Accademico (September 2006)


Mirella Freni tutors tenor Mihai Bogdan at her Corso Accademico

(December 2006)


Paola Cacciatori as Carmen

at the concert of Velletri

(December 2006)


Nancy Calà  and the legendary soprano

Renata Scotto



Moore as Louise

Grace Moore, the beautiful and popular American born soprano, sang on the stage and made numerous films in the 1920s and 1930s. Her femininity, charm and tenderness fascinated a myriad of people.

Grace Moore in the opera Louise act III is published in Gallery



Björling in 1946

The great Swedish tenor Jussi Björling (1911-1960) sang at The Met for years and his records continue to fascinate the listener. A sweet and beautiful, round and coloured voice let him approach the French and Italian repertories with success. (ed.)

With two supreme divas, soprano Milanov and mezzo Barbieri in the opera AIDA's tomb scene O terra addio




Nilsson as Turandot

Irvin Kolodin once described her art of singing as 'a kind from which legends are born' and certainly she has become a legend in her lifetime. Nilsson retained her vocal power and quality until a remarkable old age.

The legendary soprano Birgit Nilsson sings Donna Anna's aria in Don Giovanni act I sc 13 by W.A. Mozart Or sai chi l'onore




The power couple of 2005

Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon in the duet from Traviata act I Follie! Follie! Delirio vano è questo (2005) >>

The Russian young soprano has a voice of unique colour and homogeneity, a lyrical expression of huge elegance and a technique so sure both in the emission and dynamic play.




Tenor Mario Del Monaco

as Verdi's Otello

One of the great Otellos in history, Del Monaco was also a great Italian patriot. He sang the national hymn with ardor, vis, fervor and heroic top notes, showing his feelings for Italy superbly >>



Gabriella Morigi as Norma

A top soprano drammatico d'agilità, Morigi displays a soft, emotional and luminous voice as Aida, Odabella, Norma, Tosca and Elisabetta.

As Norma she gives a great demonstration of her vocal possibilities.



Johnson: Minnie, dolce nome
Minnie: Ti piace?
Johnson: Tanto! T'amo…

(Fanciulla act II)


Minnie: Lasciatemi, o l'uccido e m'uccido!

(Fanciulla act III)

Saved in Archive



Ben Heppner as Lohengrin

(1996 San Francisco Opera)



        Opera is drama or comedy

        set to music with soloists,

chorus on the stage

      and orchestra in the pit.

     The combination of stage

     set design, costumes,   

   human voice and music

   attracts lots of people.


   Instrumental works are

        music scores for orchestra

        set on the stage. The sheer

       music attracts many of us.

These art forms fulfil

          longings for classical music

        and cause great emotions.







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Credo in un Dio crudel


Je veux vivre

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The site's favourite quote

General George Armstrong Custer on the eve of the battle at the Little Bighorn (June 1876) cited:

There is one thing to be said for glory - you can take glory with you, when it is your time to go



       The Panel
            s.f. Salvatore Fisichella

     y.l.c. Yves Le Coz

     l.s. Lynn Samohel

       m.m. Michèle Muller

             r.s. Roberto Scandurra
        j.f. Joseph Fragala
         g.m. Geoff Mallinson
     a.t. Andrei Turcu
       k.s. Keith Shilcock
        d.t. DragosTomescu

       m.b. Mihai Bogdan



There is a myriad of opera singers who tread opera houses through decades. Some of them are featured in our Gallery and their photos reproduced here.

Anna Netrebko


Barbara Frittoli



Beverly Sills



Cecilia Bartoli