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Subject: Price cancellations and Kirsten Fanciulla
From: Kenneth Wolman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Kenneth Wolman <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 12 Jun 2002 10:12:53 -0400

text/plain (35 lines)

I recall now when Price dropped off the Met roster for a large part of the
'61 season because of vocal problems.  I don't know if her distress was
caused by the specific demands of Fanciulla, but I recall the cancellations
were met with considerable alarm.  She was listed for a Christmas Eve '61
Aida that wound up as the operatic equivalent of the Jerry Springer show.
I'll spare you the details (check the Archives), but the cast included Mary
Curtis-Verna, Rosalind Elias (inaudible and replaced in Act IV by Irene
Dalis), Sandor Konya, and a short-careered baritone named Randolph Symonette
with perhaps the most enormous voice I've ever heard.  To say this
performance was "over the top" is a bit of an understatement.  "Egyptian
Wild Kingdom" might be better.

In any case, Dorothy Kirsten sang the broadcast Fanciulla the following
season with Tucker (looked silly, sounded great) and Colzani.  She came out
with guns blazing in all senses and simply enveloped the performance--I
suppose the great ones have both a vocal and stage authority that marks them
in certain roles, and Kirsten had that in Fanciulla.  I own a copy of the
Melodram CD of the performance allegedly given at the Philadelphia Opera in
1964, also with Colzani but with Corelli as Dick Johnson (magnificent) and
John Macurdy as Jake Wallace; I'm suspicious of the details because the
comprimarios include Franke, Scott, Sgarro, Harvuot, and Boucher.  Why would
Philadelphia have to import New York house singers?  In any case, the
recording is a reminder of the dramatic intensity and gorgeous singing
Kirsten brought to the role.  I'm also refreshed in my memories of Anselmo
Colzani, who had a much better voice than most of us back then gave him
credit for having.  If he was a "singing actor" the two words balanced
rather nicely.

Kenneth Wolman
"Do you think grief is anything like depression? Go with grief. It's better.
In grief you're at least feeling a rich, deep feeling. In depression you
don't even have that, it's just that awful feeling of nullity."--Dick Cavett

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