Alcune lettere - Some letters

Un'articolo riguardante Michelangelo Verso pubblicato in Sorrisi e Canzoni Nr.22 del 2002

Pubblicato in 'Sorrisi e Canzoni TV' Nr. 22 - Maggio 2002
(Published in Italian TV magazine 'Sorrisi e Canzoni')

"Versatility is Verso’s Virtue"
by John Huthmacher (15/02/98) - New York (USA)

Perusing the “Heavyweight Archives” of the tenor voice, I recently uncovered a lesser-known giant who still stands tall among his peers—Italian tenor Michelango Verso.
Verso, whose resume reads like someone who SHOULD be a household name, boasts a multitudinous repertoire of recordings dating back to the early 1950s
(see his homepage for all the details).
He has sung internationally including numerous live radio performances and has been compared
to Enrico Caruso both in volume and delivery by those fortunate enough to have heard him.
Just why this great tenor has remained unheralded among the giants in his field is unclear.
Certainly, his vocal instrument is complete—possessing versatility, vitality, masculinity,
tone and power matching the firepower of his better known peers.
But unlike many tenors who live and die by the knockout punch of the high C,
Verso instead melts the listener with preciseness and clarity of phrase.
Each note is carefully and affectionately delivered, not simply something to be rushed
through en route to a triumphant ending.
This vocal artist paints each phrase as if it mattered.
Through his own interpretations, he has tastefully added a few strokes of his own
to the tried and true masterpieces of the great operatic classics of all time.
His voice is big—perhaps not as rich as Mario Lanza’s or as bright and methodical as
Luciano Pavarotti’s--but every bit as interesting and provocative.
Lanza would have fared well to have attained such precise control; Pavarotti,
would benefit from harnessing Verso’s emotional vitality. Caruso? Gigli? Di Stefano?
Verso has learned well from these, his favorite mentors, and their influences are prevalent in his every syllable. Though certain aria arrangements in his repertoire move a tad too quickly from time to time (i.e., Recondita Amoria’s ending and Che geldia manina’s middle), as do many of the “old school” arrangements; his inner conviction and trembling scales, wrought with fervent emotion and compassion, lack nothing.
Verso’s voice is an instrument, and he never lets the listener forget that.
It moves fluently through both aria and classic, ascending and descending scales
frequently and fluently. His lively personality is embedded in each inflection.
His enthusiasm contagiously invokes a like response from those who listen to his magic.
In the “Live” and “Records” tape, sort of a “greatest hits” collection featuring recordings
from his triumphant youth through present, Verso’s career is neatly capsulized in blocks of
glorious renditions including arias and classics alike.
From the opening tune, La Danza di Rossini, the listener is roused into the awareness that
this artist truly enjoys what he is doing.
The rendition is bouncy, rousing, authoritative, and just plain fun.
Core ‘ngrato, which follows, assures the listener this tenor isn’t all fun and games.
The mournful pleas and masterful use of half-voice showcase the versatility and depth
of feeling possessed in his all-encompassing voice.
Recondita Armonia introduces an enticing descending scale in the opening verse--
“l’ardente amante mia (my passionate love)”, which his son assures me is uniquely his.
The bright, crisp string arrangement, coupled with Verso’s alluring tones,
make this one of the truly memorable cuts in the collection.
Later, in E lucevan le stelle, Verso auspiciously captures and shapes the contrasting
transformation of painter Mario Cavaradossi’s sighs of love into the throes of depression.
With these arias, one can only speculate at just how convincing a Cavaradossi Verso would have been had Tosca been among his repertoire of operas. M’appari rounds out this “Radio concert in Mexico, 1956 block”, gently, persuasively and convincingly.
Next, is an eight song block from New York Radio “WEVD” recorded in 1953.
Among the collection: Recitar (Pagliacci), Che gelida mania (La Boheme), E lucevan le stelle,
Addio alla Mamma (Cavalleria), Lamento di Federico (Arlesiana), Musica proibita, Duetto delle Ciliege, and Anema e Core. “Recitar” taps the depths of Verso’s emotion, and is splendidly doleful. In Che gelida mania, Verso’s voice pulsates in time with the orchestra, creating a sort of “hearthrobing” vocal sensation unique and breathtakingly romantic.
In Addio alla Mamma, Verso draws on his emotional vitality once again to impart just
the right emotion to this traditional favorite.
Lamento di Federico and Musica proibita are two of my favorite songs on the tape. Mixing his thrilling half-voice with his imperious full-throated arsenal, Verso runs the gammet of Federico’s emotions—realization, lament, and finally resolve--as if he had lived the tragedy himself. Musica Proibita has a warm, even quality that rivals, dare I say, even the Great Caruso’s stately rendition!
His duet with soprano Elena Spina is mechanically sound but uncharacteristically unremarkable. Anema e Core and Tu che m’hai preso il Cuor, in contrast, are both strong, highly visible and memorable pieces.
Side 2 begins with Malafemmena, a rousing emotional rollercoaster showcasing Verso’s power, energy and persuasive tones. In Canto all’Amor, and Ti voglio tanto bene, and later in Mamma, Verso’s booming voice is barely contained within the confines of the recordings.
In Se tu sei con me (the Most Wonderful Night of the Year), Verso’s gentleness and warmth overcome the tune’s somewhat hokey guitar arrangement--an apparent attempt at a “gondola serenade” gone awry. An orchestral arrangement would have more befit his strong vocal effort.
Funiculi, Funicula is an unpretentious, roll up your sleeves, throw ceremony to the wind and clap-along rendition, just as it was written to be!
Verso’s voice explodes into what sounds like a spontaneous high C near the song’s triumphant ending, much to the crowd’s thunderous approval.
In Come prima, Verso steps up the final few bars to more effectively impart his fervent,
passionate pleas of love.
In Granada, Verso’s two big, sustained notes prior to the mid-break leave the crowd muttering audibly in astonishment. His climactic closing note is met with an equally booming ovation.
In Martha, Verso’s tones and half voice most resemble Lanza—warm, fluent, seductive and charming.
The tape finishes with tunes recorded in the Netherlands, Radio Hilversum,
and a few cuts recorded as recently as last year.
Of these, Non ti scordar di me and La Spagnola are the most memorable and worthwhile.
Mr. Verso’s amazing voice transcends time as he continues to record even today.
The voice is STILL big. His range remarkably similar. His charm, ever-present.
In his latest recording entitled, “Romanze”, Verso re-visits many of the songs he immortalized decades earlier with surprisingly positive results. Highlights from this 1995 release include
Recondita Armonia, Ave Maria, Del Tempio Allimitar, Recitar, Nesson Dorma, and M’Appari.
Perhaps, through web sites like this and word of mouth, Mr. Verso will someday receive the fame and accolades due him. Certainly those who hear these recordings will not soon forget them.

John Huthmacher

Letter by Jerri Kestner (08/03/98)
Spanaway (USA)

Dear Michelangelo Verso SR and Michelangelo JR, One of the happiest days
of my life happened when I visited your site.
My wish is that all who find this site will download the music of one of the greatest
opera singers in the world. The quality of Mr. Verso's voice is inimitable.
I have been stricken by the emotion in which he expresses every note.
A trained voice by great teachers most certainly but Mr. Verso has the emotion
to carry through with more than a trained voice.
His artistry, his love for his music and artistry in every note cannot go unnoticed.
I know already but I am told by a great Italian Tenor that no matter if one knows great
opera songs or not, if the singer touches emotions, then they may call themselves an artist.
I have been touched for sure. I love the feeling in my heart that Michelangelo Verso SR
replaced because I had forgotten how much opera music I really do love and know.
I love this sight, I visit often to hear "Non Ti Scordar Di Me."
My further lucky day was to purchase all the music offered here and at a very nominal fee.
No one will be disappointed in the remastering of the music done by the wonderful beloved son Michelangelo Verso JR. My compliments to both artists, Father and Son, Verso's.
The music speaks for itself. It is further enhanced so beautifully by a loving respectful son.
May I say that I adore each of you for your exceptional warmth as caring human beings.
I am in concert at this moment with the music of Michelangelo Verso SR because
of the artistry in Electronics of Michelangelo Verso JR.
I thank you, I appreciate and respect both of you so very much.
My life is a far better place because of you. I must think that it was all meant to be that you would exist...and that I would find you on a less bright day, and instantly my life would be forever changed. Love, Jerri Kestner, one of your greatest fans of Father and Son!
Jerri Kestner

"Surprise Gift" (09/03/2000)
by Leighton Jenkins - Wales (UK)

Hello there, Michael and the Great man himself, Michelangelo. I have listened to the CDs that you so kindly sent me, several times today, and the singing is absolutely superb, when I listened to the Recital,Teatro Bellas Artes, Mexico, Caro Mio Ben, and Vaghissima Sembianza,
I can truly and honestly say that I had goose bumps on my arms, the feeling and emotion that was put into the singing was tremendous, BRAVO,BRAVO.
And of course all the other songs etc were very thrilling and equally enjoyable and sung with such gusto, and they gave the feeling and enjoyment that your Dad felt as he was singing them,
Oh to have been in one of those concerts almost 50 years ago, to hear your dear father sing his heart out!!
Alas those pure silver notes are not all lost forever, with your help they have been preserved for generations to come.
And I thank you for sharing with me the wealth of Bel canto which your Dad has bestowed upon us. Today has been a very happy day for me, I was more excited than when I received the CARUSO2000 CD!!! simply because it was more of a personal nature.
My little three year old grandson was listening to the CDs with me and he was trying to mimic the singing, and when one song stopped he would shout" sing more," it was quite funny to see a young child like him listen to classical music/singing, lets us hope he has been given a gift of a voice, he certainly has shown a liking for music from an early age, I can only but encourage him. I think you will be quite surprised when you hear the CARUSO 2000 CD they really have made a very good job on the recording, no scratches or surface noise, just think, any day now your copy will arrive.

Thank you both, for making a wonderful day for me today,

Cordiali Saluti,


"Salud de Messico" (05/03/2002)
by Ed Trevino - Monterrey (Mexico)

Actually we found the site quite by accident.
We were trying to remember who the current MISS MEXICO was.
So, we did a search on ALTAVISTA for MISS MEXICO.
When we did this, somehow, the photo of your dad and an old MISS MEXICO showed up.
Then, we got deeper in to your website, which proved very, very nice!
Then someone said, I remember him in MEXICO when I was still I young man.
This person is now in his seventies.
Well then we went thru the discography I we stumbled on MEXICO LINDO y QUERIDO and I have to tell you the group of people who heard it actually CRIED! it was so well sung!!
The first comment was (and I hope you speak enough Spanish to understand this) was "QUE PULMONES tan BARBAROS" and the speakers I was using were not that great.
BUT the voice was still majestic. These people that remember him are not great or famous.
They are perhaps upper middle class Mexicans who suddenly remember hearing your dads voice and suddenly remembered their youth!!
I have to say it again "QUE PULMONES tan TREMENDOS"
Please tell him that the internet carries on the beautiful, simple, and great days of the 1950's.
They (we) all agree on one thing, we have never, never, ever heard ANYONE sing MEXICO LINDO better than your DAD, Better than Any MEXIican ever has!! (HA! HA!)
Please give him our best, and if you ever can, add some more music to your WEBSITE.
PS, I wonder how the MISS MEXICO he was photographed with on your WEBSITE looks like now ?? (WINK WINK) "as we say in Mexico, "Cuidado con los Ano's"
Please send some EMAIL when you can, and I will pass it on to friends relatives in MEXICO!!

Again, BRAVO on singing MEXICO LINDO, perhaps someone can get the radio stations in MONTERREY to play it! The public would love it!

Letter by Robert Yap (30/08/2005)
Manila (Philippines)

Dear Michael & Michelangelo
I listened first to the Early live classical recordings and I was reduced to stunned speechlessness after listening to your dad sing some of the great arias from the operatic repertory.
Never have I heard such a tremendous outpouring of emotionally charged singing coming from a human throat. 
All the heart rending grief, rage, anger, feelings of anguish and frustration came pouring forth unstintingly in wave after wave of resplendent golden tones in arias like vesti la giubba, e lucevan le stelle, lamento di federico and addio alla madre.
It was as if your dad sang every note as if his very life depended on it.
Alternating the most exquisite pianos and floating passages like wisps of tender melancholic strands of sound with towering fortes brilliantly augmented by powerful squillo to increase dramatic thrust and heighten histrionic impact, this is what real singing is all about.
Time and again, your dad sings with such incredible abandon and with all the animalistic fury coupled with the most amazing sensitivity of the true hot blooded Italian tenor.
Even in non-operatic fare like non ti scordar di me, ti voglio tanto bene, caro mio ben, core'ngrato, la spagnola and the others, he adds vibrant colors to his voice and shades and sculpts his phrasing in a myriad of ways to produce different and varied emotional effects.
Your dad is able to generate enormous levels of excitement in his singing because not only does he live and breathe each character he sings, he is also totally fearless in exploring and conquering the outer reaches of the human expressive mechanism in the realization of his goals.
Your dad's voice is truly ravishing in the lower and middle registers, reminding one of the warmth and radiance of Mediterranean sunshine, and absolutely gleaming and effulgent at the top.
This combination together with his personality, overflowing with warmth and generosity, created performances exploding with ardour and fervency, and his characterizations pulsate with an energy that is simply astonishing. 
I greatly enjoyed listening to your dad's later recordings as well.
Even at an advanced age he still demonstrates remarkable feeling and artistry, and his timbre remains very beautiful.
His high notes are sung with the penetrating focus of a laser beam, and are the envy of many singers half his age.
I was jolted out of my seat when I listened to the Esultate!
That would have been an amazing rendition for a young tenor in his prime.
For someone who is 80 years old, just astounding!
Your dad was also able to handle the treacherous and meandering highs and lows of Dio mi potevi scaliar with considerable aplomb and expressive power. Di quella pira was sung with great spiritedness and as the rousing cabaletta that it is.
In Ah! Non mi ridestar, your dad displays his still very impressive high notes and in Oh tu che in seno agli Angeli his incisive and masterful phrasing and powerful emotional delivery makes a deep and lasting impression in one's mind.
L'Alba separa dall luce l'ombra is an aria I've never heard before but it is sung brilliantly by your dad and has become one of my favorite renditions.
I could go on and on but this e-mail will become far too long.
There are just so many selections and everyone was a joy to listen to.
My admiration for your dad has grown even more.
Please tell your dad I thank him from the bottom of my heart for having bestowed upon me such an honor and privilege to be called his friend.
And thank you so very much Michael for your kindness and understanding in making sure I am able to receive these magnificent recordings of your dad's voice.
I wish you both the very best that life has to offer.

With my deepest respect & admiration

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Author and webmaster:  Michelangelo Verso Jr.
last updated on 06/08/2015