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Giuseppe Anselmi Sings "Il mio tesoro," from Mozart's Don Giovanni 1907

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Published on Sep 20, 2012

This is a most interesting recording that must be evaluated in terms of the era in which it was recorded, 105 years ago. Mozart achieved demigod status starting in the mid-20th century, but this was not always the case. Mozart did not enjoy anything like his current status as far back as the 19th century. Today, the standard for performance of this particular aria has been set by non-Italian tenors, with more nearly northern European stylistic sensibilities; tenors like Fritz Wunderlich and Niccolai Gedda. There have certainly been good Italian Mozart singers, but it is not the norm. There are definite national styles of performance, even today. Mozart in Italy, back in the days when this recording was made, was, as nearly as I can determine, sung much more like Rossini. Great liberties were taken to make difficult arias like this accessible. This would not be possible today, but one gets a good idea of what the performance standards were by listening to singers like Fernando de Lucía and, in this case, the great Sicilian tenor Giuseppe Anselmi. It is important to remember that in his day, Anselmi was greatly admired in Europe, Russia and Poland. He was considered an elegant, intelligent singer of considerable musicality, having studied both piano and violin. Given that reputation, I think it is reasonable to assume that his version of Il Mio Tesoro, with all its addenda and stylistic variations from what today would be considered the norm, would have been perfectly acceptable. Essentially, he presents Don Ottavio here as though he were Count Almaviva.

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