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Commentary

27 Sep 2004

Pavarotti’s forgotten predecessor: Bruno Prevedi

By Jan Neckers The line of Decca-tenors seems to run straight from Del Monaco to Bergonzi to Pavarotti. Granted there are some intrusions by Giuseppe Campora, Giuseppe Di Stefano and Franco Corelli but their names are not widely associated with...

By Jan Neckers

The line of Decca-tenors seems to run straight from Del Monaco to Bergonzi to Pavarotti. Granted there are some intrusions by Giuseppe Campora, Giuseppe Di Stefano and Franco Corelli but their names are not widely associated with this label. Granted too that Bergonzi never felt himself to be very welcome by Rosengarten, Decca's big boss who preferred the better-selling Del Monaco and who tried to supplant Bergonzi by Jussi Björling (who died after one failed recording) and Franco Corelli (who was too unreliable). So after his initial five-years exclusivity-contract lapsed, Bergonzi looked to other labels as well. Not until Luciano Pavarotti arrived did Decca once more have a tenor with Del Monaco-fidelity. That was initially more Pavarotti's clamping on than Decca's wish. Indeed the tenor from Modena had to start out with an insulting 45T-record in a time when no classical artist recorded on this format anymore. And the label had no problems in lending him out to EMI to record L'Amico Fritz. One of the reasons behind this policy was that Rosengarten thought the label had more than its fill of Italian tenors in the sixties. Anyway making sure that competition wouldn't pick up the best ones sometimes was an aim too, and then throwing them in the dustbin was a regular feature. Gino Penno only got an MP but retired before he could complain. Flaviano Labo was signed at the same time as Carlo Bergonzi; he got an LP (in the US) and a reduced version of that recording on MP in Europe. And that was it. And then came along a possible successor to Del Monaco and Bergonzi (still only 40 years of age): Bruno Prevedi and for a short time it looked as he would get to wear the robe of the elder tenors. But then his recording career didn't take flight and his theatre career slowed down and petered out.

[Remainder of article here]

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