In RA Format
This recording (Amico Fritz) requires
maybe an explanation... Of course it is evident, also from this recording, that he was
not an opera tenor, he never pretended to be one,
and he's giving his best to comply here. He is reported to have always dreamed of being a "true"
tenor, but obviously he was perfectly aware that his voice was not sufficient. This particular
recording is very interesting; it's from a live TV show, I suppose around 1960, i.e. from the
pre-playback era. Villa came to the show to sing one of his pop songs, but when he wanted to
start, the TV host would start a conversation with him... he had heard that he, Villa, had been
studying the Duetto delle ciliegie with nobody less than Magda Olivero? Yes, Villa admits, they
have been working together privately. The host continues to speak about it, Villa is somehow
embarassed, wants to go on with his pop song - but then, totally unexpected for him,
Magda Olivero enters the show stage, they are bringing the Amico Fritz score for Villa,
and force him (indeed, he was very, very reluctant about it) to sing Mascagni instead of pop.
The result is... well, he is certainly no Schipa, no Gigli and no Bonisolli
(who did the best "Tutto tace" recordings IMO)... but there are actually opera tenors
who did it worse than he does, I think.
In RA Format
I wish to thank Daniele Godor for the recordings (Pagliacci, Tosca).
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the recordings (Turandot, Amico Fritz) and notes of this interesting event.