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The first Grand Opera vocal recording on disc celebrates its 125th birthday today


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Grammophon

The first Grand Opera vocal recording on disc celebrates its 125th birthday today

 

On January 21, 1896, presumably in Philadelphia, Italian-born tenor Ferruccio Giannini sang the aria La donna è mobile from Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi for the Berliner Gramophone Company (catalog number 967). It is the world's first Grand Opera vocal recording on disc. Ferruccio Giannini visited the Gramophone studio for the first time and the sound engineer knew his name only by hearsay. He therefore wrote "F. A. Gainimi", or something like that, on the disc. From the recordings of March 4, 1896, which were to be followed by numerous others, the name was then correctly stated.

 

I have been looking for this disc since May 1996, when I ordered the book "Berliner Gramophone Records" by Paul Charosh from a bookstore in Hamburg from the USA and "devoured" it in one piece. 25 years later, and exactly 125 years after the recording, I was miraculously able to acquire it in quite good condition for a rather symbolic price. A rare collector's luck.

Giannini_Neu_ergebnis.jpg

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Congratulations to this amazing find, and also for providing some insight into the earliest days of gramophone records. 

 

Andreas

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RodPickett

Very nice and thank you for posting the historical background and photo.  If you ever feel comfortable with a digital transfer, that would be welcome here too.

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Tinfoilphono

Patience rewarded! It's great that you were finally able to find it, after so many years. That anticipation makes it all the sweeter.

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I'll add my congratulations as well.  There's nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment in finally acquiring an artifact you've searched for years to find.

 

This one is particularly noteworthy, since it represents the first of what would eventually be a long and distinguished line of operatic recordings on disc.  Victor can trace much of its marketing success to its recordings of opera stars, and this humble little record is the genesis of that monumental effort.

 

I vividly recall (back in the 1970s) first reading about Giannini in His Master's Voice was Eldridge R. Johnson, by Fenimore Johnson, and The Music Goes Round, by Frederick Gaisberg.  Over the years, I encountered a number of Giannini Berliners, but I never saw this one.  Congratulations again!

 

George P.

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