Saturday, July 14, 2012

Great Historical Singers (Adamo Didur)

Adamo Didur was one of the most unusual operatic basses that I have ever heard on records because of his unusually strong upper range.  His peak was around the turn of the 20th century, but many recordings of his art have survived.  A lot of them are recorded with only piano because they were recorded around 1900.  The voice is so powerful and electrifying that it doesn't really matter though.  Adamo Didur's voice is relatively new to me.  I admit that I am just becoming familiar with him, and I do not know his voice as well as some other famous basses of the past.  The power, richness, and highly unusual upper range of Didur's voice struck me as I was listening to him earlier today.  Adamo Didur should not be neglected by any singer, because he was a very significant figure on the operatic stage for a long time.  He made his professional debut as the bass soloist in Beethoven's 9th symphony, a solo very well suited to his talents.  He sang in places such as La Scala, Covent Garden, Warsaw Opera, Russia, and the Metropolitan Opera, where he would perform for twenty fovea years.  He took part in several important world premieres and American premieres. He sang the American premiere of Boris Godunov, and he created several Puccini roles including Simone in "Gianni Schicchi, Talpa in "Il Tabarro", and Asby in "La Fanciulla del West." He also sang in the premiere of "Konigskinder", which is by Humperdinck, the composer who wrote "Hansel und Gretel." What strikes me about Adamo Didur's voice is the unusually wide upper extension he had.  I would personally call him a bass-baritone instead of a bass, because he could sing both bass and baritone roles.  He had a high A natural above middle C which is well beyond the bass range.  I am not sure if the term bass-baritone was used during Didur's career. Didur's upper range sounds stunning on these old recordings.  It must have been huge live.  He excelled as Mephisto in both Gounod and Boito's version of "Faust." He does his own whistling on the recording of "Son lo Spirito Che Nega" from Botio's "Mefistofele." Didur was mainly famous for his roles in Italian operas, but he also sang roles by Meyerbeer, and the four villains in "Les Contes des Hoffman, so he had a varied repertoire.  Adamo Didur's last performance at the Met came in 1932.  After that, he spent the last years of his life in Poland, where he was from originally.  He died there in 1946 at the age of 72.

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