The recordings on the present CD show Vickers at the beginning of his career, but certainly not as a beginner. In the summer of 1961 he had just put his three and a half turbulent years behind him when he recorded a recital programme for RCA under Tullio Serafin. The repertoire in which Vickers felt himself at home is immediately evident. Although he always tried hard to achieve it, vocal flexibility and finely spun legato lines were not his strength (his voice was simply too rough and edgy). But he had a wonderful ability to create large, powerful phrases.
For those who never got to hear Vickers in a live performance, he may not be easy listening the first time you hear him: one becomes accustomed to his voice. What was fascinating about him is the combination of a powerful and at the same time very expressive voice with his special gifts as a performer capable of portraying the inner conflicts, passions and suffering from introverted characters at odds with themselves and often socially isolated.
Rec. RCA Juli 1961
Ponchielli, Amilcare: Celo e mer (La Gioconda)
Flotow, Friedrich Adolph Ferdinand von: M´appari tutt´amour (Martha)
Verdi, Giuseppe: Io l´ho perduta... Io la vid (Don Carlo) / Ah si, ben mio coll´essere (Il Trovatore) / Dio mi potevi scagliar / Nun mi lrra (Otello)
Cilea, Francesco: É la solita storla (L´Arlesiana)
Leoncavallo, Ruggiero: Recita!... Vesti la giubba / No! Pagliacci non son(Pagliacci)
Giordano, Giuseppe: Un di, all´azzurro spazio / Come un bel ci di maggio (Andrea Chenier)
Puccini, Giacomo: Recuncita armonia (Tosca)
Handel, George Frideric: Comfort ye, my people (Messiah)
Beethoven, Ludwig van: Gult! Welch Dunkel hier / In des Lebens Frühlingstagen (Fidelio)
Saint-Saens, Camille: Vois ma misere, helas (Samson et Dalila)
Verdi, Giuseppe: Se quel guerrier... Celeste Aida (Aida)
Wagner, Richard: Ein Schwert verhiess mir der Vater (Die Walküre)