Il Grande Inquisitor

The big comparison

The counterpoint to this site's untiring tenor explorations: our double bass page. A great duet of two basses in as many versions as possible. It's always the singer of Filippo first, the singer of the Inquisitore second. Here we go:
  1. Theo Adam & Gerhard Frei (in German, second half only)
  2. Raphael Arië & Mark Elyn (in French)
  3. Boris Christoff & Glynne Howell
  4. Boris Christoff & Manfred Schenk
  5. Xavier Depraz & Jacques Mars (in French)
  6. Ezio Flagello & Ramón Vinay
  7. Nicolae Florei & Valentin Loghin, with Vasile Moldoveanu
    Who'd have thought that two largely unknown Romanians would outdo all those Ghiaurovs and Christoffs and Rossi-Lemenis?

    Picture of Nicolae Florei
    Nicolae Florei

  8. Gottlob Frick & Kurt Böhme (in German)
  9. Ferruccio Furlanetto & Louis Lebherz

    Picture of Louis Lebherz
    Louis Lebherz

  10. Nikolai Ghiaurov & Gheorghe Crăsnaru
  11. Nikolai Ghiaurov & Giovanni Foiani
  12. Nikolai Ghiaurov & Nicola Ghiuselev
    At age 36 and 30, respectively.
  13. Nikolai Ghiaurov & Pavel Manolov (in Bulgarian, as far as Manolov is concerned)
  14. Nikolai Ghiaurov & Ruggero Raimondi
  15. Nikolai Ghiaurov & Luigi Roni
  16. Georg Hann & Walter Großmann (in German)
  17. Craig Hart & Jerome Hines
    Jerome Hines in his last appearance. He is 80 years old and needs a cane to walk. Craig Hart is one of his students and a baritone.
  18. Jerome Hines & Hans Hotter
  19. Jerome Hines & Nicola Moscona
  20. Jerome Hines & William Wildermann
  21. Aleksandr Kipnis & Alfred Jerger (in German)
    This is particularly interesting since the most famous couple in this duet was Kipnis and Ludwig Hofmann, who used to alternate in both roles at the Berlin Staatsoper. Both combinations seem to have been great, the one with Kipnis as Filippo and Hofmann as the Inquisitor obviously the greater of the two.
    Evidently, Hofmann's rendition of neither role has been captured by any recording; but by Kipnis, we have at least this fragmentary version where he is Filippo (combined from two actual Vienna Staatsoper performances of December 1936 and January 1937, respectively). Jerger is clearly no Hofmann, but not bad as a substitute either. The fame of those legendary Berlin performances holds true, Kipnis is certainly the best Filippo I've ever heard in this scene.
    Very unfortunately, the end of the duet wasn't obviously recorded in either of the two performances and is thus missing.
  22. Jacques Mars & Marc Vento (in French)
  23. Arnold van Mill & Rolf Kühne (in German)
  24. James Morris with himself
  25. Alois Pernerstorfer & Alexander Welitsch (in German)
    Vienna Volksoper 1944
  26. Dimiter Petkov & Giovanni Foiani
  27. Ivan Petrov & Valerij Jaroslavtsev, with Nikolaj Zakharov (in Russian)
  28. Paul Plishka & Gabor Andrasy (in French)
  29. Paul Plishka & Jerome Hines
  30. Nicola Rossi-Lemeni & Romeo Morisani
  31. Nicola Rossi-Lemeni & Giulio Neri, with Manfredi Ponz de Leon
  32. Nicola Rossi-Lemeni & Antonio Zerbini
  33. Matti Salminen & Paata Burchuladze
    Unfortunately, the sound is noisy due to a flawed microphone.
  34. Pierre Savignol & Randolph Symonette (in French)
  35. Cesare Siepi & Jerome Hines
  36. Cesare Siepi & Giulio Neri
  37. Cesare Siepi & Tancredi Pasero
  38. Thomas Silverbörg (end only)
  39. Harald Stamm & William Dooley, with explanation by conductor Gerd Albrecht (partly in German)

    William Dooley and Harald Stamm

  40. Martti Talvela & Harald Stamm

    Harald Stamm

  41. Richard Van Allan & John Tranter (in English)
  42. Ivo Vinco & Giovanni Foiani

    Ivo Vinco

  43. Frangiskos Voutsinos & Jacques Mars
  44. Tadeusz Wierzbicki & Christian Portanier (in Dutch)
  45. Alfredo Zanazzo & Victor von Halem

    Victor von Halem

I wish to thank Claude Ribou for the Mars/Vento, Petkov/Foiani, Savignol/Symonette and Voutsinos/Mars recordings.
I wish to thank Joseph Shore for the Hart/Hines recording.
I wish to thank Tom Silverbörg for his own as well as the Ghiaurov/Ghiuselev recording.
I wish to thank Helmut Krautschneider for the Salminen/Burchuladze recording.
I wish to thank Daniele Godor for the Talvela/Stamm recording.

Go Home