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Subject: Re: Barcelona's Liceu 2001-02
From: Tom Kaufman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Mon, 5 Mar 2001 15:40:11 EST
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In a message dated 03/05/2001 2:55:49 PM Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:


> Dear Kati and list:
>
> Last year it was Sempere and not Bros who was cast as Orombello in
> "Beatrice di Tenda" at the Liceu. Sempere's (sometimes) crude singing
> took away something from the otherwise wonderful performance.
>






> I don't agree with calling Bros "voiceless".
> I have heard him live several times since 1996. He is my favorite Percy
> (in "Anna Bolena"), because he doesn't just sing the notes but gives
> refined vocal characterization, and his sweet timbre underlines the
>



I fully understand Kati's point of view, and am in no way disputing it. We
are dealing with a very basic difference in taste, and in our expectations
from singers. In a sense, it's the old problem:

Do we want voice, squillo, top, virility in a tenor? Or do we want style,
refinement, perhaps vulnerability?

Granted, Orombello and Percy are very similar characters--they love Beatrice
and Anna Bolena, respectively, and are used by the villain of the opera
(Filippo or Enrico) to get rid of an unwanted wife. Both are victims, both
are powerless to do anything about the situation. OK--maybe Manrico or Arnold
would have tried to mount a rebellion, and led it with a rousing "Di quella
pira" like aria. But they don't. Still, they are both noblemen, presumably
well educated, probably trained in war, and, while they seem to be victims in
these operas, this is only because the villains are also their lords, and the
rulers--either of the duchy or the kingdom.

Kati is one of the world's leading Gruberova fans. More power to her. I am a
tenormaniac--not to the same extent, perhaps, because I don't travel to hear
my favorites. But to me, with my somewhat strange taste, almost all operas
are about the tenor. And I want him to get the lady he loves and live happily
with her ever after. I enjoy Anna Bolena very much--it's one of the few bel
canto operas with two tenor arias (most have one, while the prima donna gets
two, sometimes three). Totally unfair, of course :-) :-), but that's the way
it is.

Beatrice, of course, is a near non-starter. Orombello has far too little to
do. And none of the characters are all that sympathetic.



> I have also heard Sempere as Arturo - he is certainly better-equipped
> in the high range, and has a bigger voice, but for me Bros sounds
> more elegant. As far as this role is concerned, I don't want to choose
>




So far, I have heard neither--but no doubt about it, I would prefer Sempere.
Still if Gruberova (or some other prima donna) were to record some Pacini or
Mercadante rarity, and the tenor were to be Bros, I would still rush out to
get it. Although I would immediately post on Opera-L:

Why wasn't it Sempere?  and say:

"Sempere per sempre"

Best regards

Don Tomasso

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