On the debit side of the vocal ledger, Tetrazzini's vocal registers were not well-integrated and there could be audible changes in gear as she moved up and down the scale. Her lower register was strong, but the middle voice was weak and undeveloped, with a quality that some critics described as "infantile" and tenor John McCormack likened to "the wailing of a cross infant." Tetrazzini was short and stout and she was not much of an actress. But she was a good musician and had considerable personality, qualities which are evident in the many records she made. She recorded extensively for Victor and HMV.
Her best recordings include a spectacular rendition of "Io son Titania" from Ambroise Thomas' Mignon and "Saper vorreste" from Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, in which Tetrazzini's personality virtually jumps out of the grooves at the listener. On a different note, her recording of "Addio del passato" from La Traviata is very moving and also demonstrates her fine legato, as is her "Ah non credea mirarti" from La Sonnambula. Her "Una voce poco fa," and "Ah non giunge," made for the Victor label, remains, after all these years, unsurpassed for its sheer joy and spectacular ornamentation. Read more on Last.fm.
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