The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes
Donizetti: LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR--Act III: Mad Scene excerpt
Nellie Melba (s), Lucia
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Luigi Mancinelli
March 18, 1901
Glackens 82; the container now holding Side 3/Band 8 from Le Cid has Mapleson's notation: "Mad. Melba Lucia Mad Scene, March 18, 1901, weak connection." The recording speed matches the cylinder from the later part of the scene found on Side 4/Band 7.]
The beginning of this cylinder is totally obscured by noise; about a minute and twenty seconds in, we are definitely at the line "Ogni piacer pił grato," in the slow part of the "Mad Scene." Since it takes Melba just about as long to reach this point in her 1910 Victor recording of the passage, which begins at "Ardon gl' incensi," we may surmise that Mapleson began his recording at that standard starting-place. The noise gradually mutes, so that the phrases at the top of the staff, at least, can be made out, but the excerpt breaks off just before the interpolated cadenza written for Melba by Mathilde Marchesi (heard in Melba's studio recordings of the passage). This is the performance without chorus.