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Becchi, Muzio, and Tauber this week on The Lyric Stage

This week on The Lyric Stage we feature Gino Becchi, Claudia Muzio, and Richard Tauber who was not just a singer of operettas as we'll see. All three were prominent in their day, and we'll find out why this week.

Gino Becchi,was a leading baritone who compared favorably with his mid 20th century contemporaries such as Ettore Bastianini, Leonard Warren, Tito Gobbi and Robert Merrill. Becchi sang little outside of Italy, but his his recordings have carried forward his reputation as a leading Verdi baritone. He will sing two Verdi arias, and also an an aria by Rossini.

Claudia Muzio was an expressive singer with a beautiful vocal line. From 1911 she sang in most of the major opera houses including the Metropolitan, where she created Giorgetta in Puccini's Il Tabarro in 1918, also La Scala, Paris, Covent Garden, Chicago, Buenos Aires and in the first performance at the new War Memorial opera house in San Francisco as Tosca. Here are some samples of her work from recordings she made in 1934.

Richard Tauber, was active from 1920 until his death in 1948. He is the touchstone of how to sing operetta. Singers such as Mario Lanza learned from him and one of today's best tenors, Piotr Beczala, has an album called "Heart's Delight - a tribute to Richard Tauber." But he sang opera beautifully as well, and was the Calaf in the first German production of Turandot in Dresden in 1926.