Today, on Franco's birthday, April 8, 2013 we proudly present the first of a series of special downloads that we have been preparing over the last year.

We celebrate Franco's birthday with the 2CD/MP3 Download issue 'An Ardent Lesson', which deals with the beginnings of Corelli's career, precisely with his studies with Arturo Melocchi. In the wake of writing Prince of Tenors, I was given a copy of a voice lesson that Arturo Melocchi gave to the tenor Gastone Limarilli, presumably around 1958.

Melocchi teaches Limarilli some vocalizes and the interpretative finesses for 'Celeste Aida' and sections of Turandot. Among the latter is the famous passage 'Ti voglio ardente d'amor', which appears at the end of the riddle scene, after Turandot begs her father not to marry her off. Most tenors shun the optional high C there, but Corelli always sang it in performance (an intriguing rehearsal tape confirms that he reserved his top notes for the audience, whilst saving himself in rehearsal). When Melocchi explains Limarilli how to sing it on stage, Limarilli tells him that he always sings the lower option. Melocchi, rather outspoken on this candid lesson, exclaims that this is 'bruta' (ugly).

What can you expect of this download? To begin with there is the tracked and annotated voice lesson of Melocchi to Limarilli in acceptable sound quality (rather than the quality given in the YouTube excerpts of this lesson). Even if you don't speak Italian, you will be able to follow the sections of the lesson. In addition, you find the excerpts rehearsed in full renditions by Limarilli, as well as by other Melocchi pupils, most notably Mario Del Monaco, Franco Corelli himself, and Melocchi's last pupil, Robleto Merolla. The latter also features in an interview excerpt with the undersigned. I interviewed Merolla, who died in 2010, in the wake of writing Franco Corelli The Legacy. Filmed excerpts of Merolla explaining Melocchi's lowered larynx technique can be seen on FrancoCorelli.nl, in the Ardente section. Through splicing Franco's Calaf renditions of the sections rehearsed in as a bonus, you can hear exactly on what anvil his interpretation was forged. The download is available here


'An Ardent Lesson' comes with an elaborate, 34 page pdf booklet. The booklet is beautifully designed and loaded with high quality photographs, all digitally remastered by experts at my web design company, 401www. It features interview excerpts intended for Franco Corelli The Legacy, among these the unique memoires of Carlo Federico Scaravelli. The latter was the pupil of Melocchi who, in the late 1940's, passed Melocchi's lessons on to Corelli. There are reminiscences of Del Monaco of Melocchi, and of course the essential biographical information regarding Melocchi that hitherto was unfindable. His birth and death dates, photographs, and a survey of his unique career at the Pesaro Conservatory, where he started teaching as early as 1912 !!

A detailed tracking with samples you can find here

The Ardente pages you can find here


A little over a year ago we have inventorized the wishes of our members regarding CD–issues versus downloads. We had stated that we needed either substantial donations (around $ 5000 per issue) to produce high quality cd issues with the sort of booklets we envision. We needed 200 advance order copies for such an issue and received interest for about 10%  of the needed number. In short, interest fell far short of what was needed, perhaps also because selling is not our prime objective. Maintaining the website and funding research is. We sell these downloads at modest price of 12 euros for a two cd set with a truly elaborate, well researched booklet, for which I’ve traveled as far as Pesaro. We hope that at least some of you will enjoy the effort.


Some recordings that we will offer in the future may have been previously released, either in part or complete. However, as some esteemed fellow labels – we mention among others Divina Records and Marson Records – we intend to offer only the best in line with elaborate documentation. We will not offer mere MP3 downloads on the Amazon basis (without booklets and artwork). Basically, we aren't so much offering MP3 downloads, but rather are we offering the booklets. We consider the music as a free bonus to the text rather than as the key element in the offer. It might well be that Franco Corelli The Legacy will eventually be released as a stand alone digital book with the audio inside the text. Technically nothing stops us from doing that except for the time it would take to complete it. If it was the legacy of Beyoncé I would immediately do it in that way, but reality abides us to take not of the fact that the fanbase of old school tenors like Franco Corelli, is not exactly identical with the i-pad generation. Most of us still treasure the vinyl pressings against the bling-bling of the cd-era, and we value box cover art work, and booklets. Lets just say that FrancoCorelli.nl will try to take our love for those things to the 21st Century with our downloads.


Please don't be surprised by the name of the download area, which is 401Sales.com. We are too small to maintain low key web shops with secure checkout and PayPal implementation for our four niche websites – apart from FrancoCorelli.nl, there is also one on Dutch Operas, one on Dutch Singers, and one on Jacques Brel. Jacques who? Well… Brel was perhaps not on a par with Corelli in terms of operatic singing, but… the do have something in common: both were born on April 8! It is truly pure chance, but I indeed wrote the biographies of the only two internationally renowned people born on April 8.