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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Songs By Ann Maria Alberghetti

Songs By Anna Maria Alberghetti
Mercury Records MG 20056

From Billboard - April 30, 1955: The teen-age songbird thrushes 12 tunes (some formerly released as singles) with varying degrees of success. The coloratura soprano is at her best when she remains within her own field. Her voice is pure and lovely when she applies it to operatic arias, but somewhat less impressive when she tries to swing over into the pop field field with "Kiss, Kiss, Kiss," However, the inclusion of this kind of pop material may account for extra sales to pop customers. Record-wise, Anna Maria Alberghetti is best known for her performance on Mercury's sound track album "The Medium" and dealers should be wise to remind prospective buyers of this fact. They also might stir up some extra business among movie fans, in view of the singer's appearances in a couple of Paramount's films (Bing Crosby's "Bride and Groom," Rosemary Clooney's "The Star Are Singing") back in 1952.

From the back cover: "Vocal prodigies come alone so rarely that it is no wonder that there was such incredulity and delight last night at Carnegie Hall. A coloratura soprano who was a real wunderkind (wonderchild) made her appearance there. She was Anna Maria Alberghetti." Reprint from the New York Times Music section April 29, 1950

Also from the back cover: Anna Maria was born May 15, 1936, in Rome, Italy. Her father, taking one look at the robust infant, immediately announced to his friends and family that he had a famous singer for a daughter. That insistence, which during her infancy branded him an over-doting father, has been borne out ever since. Daniele was himself a fine, aspiring tenor at the start of his career, but a vocal coach urged him to swing to the baritone range. Because of the strain placed upon his voice, Daniele halted his career early because of the realization that his vocal equipment had become worn prematurely. Seeing that his career was blighted, he vowed that his first-born should see the long and successful career which he has not been able to fulfill.

The Island of Rhodes, where Anna Maria spent her first year, became a bomb-blasted area as the years of World War II extended. A stopping off place for Italian and German naval shipping. It was regularly bombed by the Allied fleet and planes. As a result, Daniele and Vittoria determined to leave the island in 1942. Because both of them were employed at the government-operated Conservatory, Italian law demanded that civil service employees remain at their posts along with their families. Daniele twice petitioned the island's governor, but was turned down twice on his effort to move his family, which, with the birth of a second daughter, Carla, in 1939, had grown to four. As a last effort to win the governor over, Daniele started a concert in early July, 1942, at which precocious six-year old Anna Maria made her first public singing appearance, doing the difficult Caro Noms from Rigoletto. The governor, impressed by the child's voice realized that Daniele wanted to save the family because of the musical possibilities offered by the tiny tot's voice. He agreed to let the two children move to the Italian mainland, but forced the parents to remain on the island.

During the ensuing two months, the Mussolini regime fell and the parents and two daughters were re-united at Pesaro, a coastal community on the Adriatic shore. When the fighting between Italian and German troops and the Allies reached this area, the family moved inland to a farm, about 15 miles from Pesaro, where Paulo was born February 7. Looting became rampant and the only possessions of any value salvaged were a piano, which thieves found too heavy to steal and which Daniele had to haul two miles on a wheel barrow with the aid of a friend; and his cello.

When the Allies occupied Pesaro a year later, the Alberghettis returned to their home in the costal town. It was here that Anna Maria made her first big appearance with her father and mother, who as conductor and soloist, respectively, with a symphonic wing, did camp shows for Allied troops, Anna Maria still recalls the heaps of chocolate candy with which the GI's applauded her performances.

In 1946, Daniele received special permission for Anna Maria, now 10, to work as an added extra attraction at the "Concorso," a regional competition for the brightest adult singers from each city. After her guest appearance, the judges, veteran musicians, singers and conductors, voted to crown Anna Maria the best talent they had observed. She was the first child ever so honored. Again, her winning song was Cara Noms. During the latter part of the year, the three Alberghettis worked their first professional concerts together in smaller Italian cities such as Catholic, Riccone and Urbino, with Anna Maria billed as "The Smallest Soprano in the World."

When she reached 11, Anna Maria was booked by her father into the Press Theater, Turin, Italy, the Palace Theater of Italian music. She passed the critic's rugged requirements easily, being called the "reincarnation of Adelina Patti, legendary coloratura soprano of Italian music who was the rage of the early 19th century."

By early 1950, after numerous appearances all over the European continent, offers from impresarios like Sol Hurok, were coming from America. Daniele felt the 14-year old girl wasn't ready. Maestro Verna, now a teacher in New York of some of the country's finest singing talent, had known Daniele when both were in music school. He came to La Scala from America in mid-1950 and upon hearing Anna Maria, beseeched her father to bring her to America. Maestro Alfrano, prominent composer and director of the Conservatory at Pesaro, too, insisted on an American tour.

Not wishing anything but the biggest break in, Daniele introduced Anna Maria at famed Carnegie Hall and the resultant accolades from New York's critics spelled immediate American success. In November 1950, despite a growing number of request for appearances all over America, the Alberghettis returned to Italy for a short time so that Anna Maria could play in the filmed version of Gian Carlo Menotti's The Medium. This movie is still a consistent player in American movie houses and the soundtrack, starring Anna Maria, only Italian in the cast which is otherwise American, is a Mercury best seller.

Early the next year, Anna Maria and the family returned to America. She appeared on the Ed Sullivan network TV show, where Frank Capra saw her and hired her for her first movie, Bride and Groom. she made a second for Paramount in 1952, The Stars Are Singing.

The family works with her on many of these engagements. Vittoria still accompanies Anna Maria on the piano, Daniele handles the baton, as he did on this Mercury album, while sister Carla, who possesses a most robust lyric soprano at 15, and brother Paulo, 9, who has conducted as large as a 60-piece symphony orchestra at Red Rocks, Denver, listen carefully to her performance to enable them to make helpful comments.

Giannina Mia
Theme and Variations
The Blonde Girl In The Gondola (La Biondina In Gondoletta)
Kiss, Kiss, Kiss
Sleep, My Baby (Fa La Nana Bambin)
Dancing Doll (Poupee Volsante)
It's A Most Unusual Day 
Musetta's Walt (From "La Boheme")
The Song From Desiree (We Meet Again)
Darling, Come Back To Me (Non Ti Scordar Di Me)
Estrellita (Little Star)
The Firefly (Le Lucciole)

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