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The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes

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Luigi Arditi: Parla Vals excerpt: Final portion Marcella Sembrich (s)

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Phillippe Flon January 30, 1903

[On the cylinder (Glackens 15), this follows the first excerpt from the Fille du Régiment performance of January 30, 1903. Early in the Mapleson project, it was suggested that Sembrich might have interpolated Parla into the lesson scene of Fille at that performance, but in Recorded Sound 83 a more conservative assignment was made, to a Sunday-evening concert on February 9, 1902, despite the fact that the sound quality was far superior to other 1902 Mapleson cylinders. At the time, the actual program of that concert was not known--the old Metropolitan Opera Annals merely listed "Songs (selected)" by Sembrich; Jean Uppman has now established that Parla was not on that program.Subsequently, Louis Snyder kindly furnished us reviews from his extensive Sembrich files, which indicate that she regularly sang the Parla Vals as an interpolation at the end of the opera.

In support of this, the speed of the first Fille excerpt and the Parla conclusion match--and, as John Stratton noted, so does the speed of a brief recording of Parla 's opening measures found at the beginning of the first excerpt from the January 31, 1903 Aida (Side 5/Band 5), the remainder evidently shaved off to make room for the Aida. This was very suggestive, and in the original layout for this set we considered combining the two Parla fragments on the same band; when we actually juxtaposed them, however, the contrast in sound perspective immediately convinced us that they must come from separate occasions. Consequently, the introduction fragment has been placed in the Appendix (Side 12/Band 5); the coincidence of speed may, of course, be just that--a coincidence: in fact, 192.46 appears to have been one of Mapleson's more usual recording speeds (see the table in Appendix A). The song has been pitched in the usual key of D major: the reviews almost invariably call attention to Sembrich's high D at the end--truncated, alas, in this recording.]

Ogni tormento di gelosia, ah!
un sol tuo detto svanir farŕ, si!
Parla, mio bene, ah!
Si, mio ben, mio ben, parla!

All torments of jealousy, ah!
would vanish with a single word from you, yes!
Speak, my love, ah!
Yes, my love, my love, speak!

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