Amazon has a 10 CD collection of recordings by one of the greatest tenors of the 20th Century – Beniamino Gigli (1890-1956). They are currently selling it for $36. I got it for $14, so you should wait until it goes on sale again before buying it. The tenor had one of the most beautiful voices ever recorded. So well tuned was his vocal production that though he was a pure lyric tenor, he could sing spinto roles without damaging his instrument which lasted almost until his death.

Gigli’s recorded output was very large. This compilation presents a good overview of the roles that were prominent in his career. If you can get it for $14, it’s well worth the cost. Below are some of the less familiar pieces that he set to disc.

Ah! ritrovarla nella sua capanna from Act 3 of Mascagni’s Lodoletta was recorded in 1918 at the beginning of Gigli’s career. It’s an acoustical recording. E passera la viva creatura is from the same composer’s Isabeau. It’s an opera based on the Lady Godiva legend. This aria is from Act 2.

Vedi io piango ma se piango is the aria from Act 2 of Giordano’s Fedora that is rarely performed apart from the opera, which itself is rarely performed. Act I: Addio, Mignon, fa core is from Act 1 of Thomas Mignon. It’s sung in Italian. It features the honeyed tones the tenor was famous for.

Finally, the last act from La Boheme sung by Gigli and the great baritone Tita Ruffo. O Mimi, tu piu non torni