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Subject: Re: Hunt-Lieberson vs. Larmore
From: Thierry Morice <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Thierry Morice <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 30 Mar 2005 13:35:05 -0500

text/plain (100 lines)

On Wed, 30 Mar 2005 10:15:30 -0500, Leonardo Ciampa
<[log in to unmask]> stroke again:

>Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson went from being a local Boston mezzo to an
>artist of wide popularity.  Why, I am yet to figure out, even after repeated
>listenings.  Her voice?  Her technique?  I know, I know, she has
>wonderful presence.  But what people HEAR in her is obviously
>something I am not hearing.  She is one of the most beloved singers
>before the public today.  To my ear, Hunt-Lieberson is still a Boston
>mezzo – an Early Music mezzo of questionable technique.

The Belcanto fanatic should listen to her Ariodante in Göttingen (yes, it's
in Europe) ... She displays everything one can expect from a Belcanto
singer, including an incredible stamina. Her "Dopo notte" after 3 hours of
performance was just stunning, as fresh as if she were just jumping out of
the shower. No shortcoming at all!!! This was in 1995. Ten years later, Ms
Hunt (now Hunt-Lieberson) is still feted in various parts, ranging from
Baroque to contemporaneous through Berlioz. How could she do it with a
"questionable technique"??

>In fact, I’m going to make that leap and state that Jennifer Larmore is
>someone who gives me hope for the future.  And even if she didn’t, it
>doesn’t matter, because she has a fine career, and it promises to last
>for some time.
>But here’s where the line between the voice and the palcoscenico
>become blurred.  They say Hunt-Lieberson has a wonderful stage
>presence, while Larmore, one of you claimed, has “no stage presence
>at all.”  However, listening to the discs, without the distraction of
>costumes and scenery, Larmore is clearly superior, vocally and

Larmore, a lazy soprano who tried her skills in high mezzo parts, with a
discutable vocal production, a coloratura technique which seems to ignore
the existence of legato, who burnt herself while trying parts much too heavy
for her and is actually attempting a come-back between contraltino and
Colbran ... Hopes for the future!!!! I'm rolling on the floor ....
Yes, she did some good recordings (the Giulio Cesare under Jacobs e.g.), but
they are of yesteryear ..... and if you base your judgement on recordings
only, try her Cenerentola on Teldec, you'll be convinced she can sing two
different notes at the same time !!!!
Listen to her Arsace (DGG), to her Falliero (Opera Rara), and come again to
speak about Belcanto technique !!!!! "Belcanto Larmoriano", to coin a term !!

Of course one may enjoy her in the theatre, for a live performance is made
of many elements, including commitment, magic of the stage presence ... And
one shouldn't become so jaded as not to enjoy a great moment of theatre with
professional performers who do their best. But please, don't come with your
pontifying words!

Speak about technique, yes, and I'll speak about car mechanics!!!

>For once, the Metropolitan seems to agree with my taste.  In that
>house, as of this writing, Hunt-Lieberson has sung only 17
>performances of two roles.  Larmore has sung 59 performances of
>seven roles.

Maybe you should have entitled your book "twilight of the Met"....
You were the one to criticize the PR methods of a Pavarotti .... didn't you
realize Larmore had similar ones ? (that is, before Teldec/Warner cancelled
her contract). AFAIK, Ms Hunt-Lieberson never got the support of a major
recording company. I don't want to criticize the Met policy, for fundings
are needed and an advertised "star" brings more than a "confidential" one,
but the standards of singing are not to be set according to Met appearances.
Some great singers do appear there, but OTOH the same week of a Met
broadcast of l' Italiana in Algeri with Larmore I saw the same opera in
Stuttgart with an "unknown" mezzo who was head and shoulders above her.

As someome justly said, Ewa Podles hardly featured in the Met. And yet,
she's one of the great *Belcantist* contraltos of our days, someone who can
use her *Belcanto* technique in the service of Verdi, Mahler, Mussorgsky,
too .... but never fails to be a great Handelian, Gluckian, Rossinian ....

>"There’s more emotion [in Handel] there than you’d encounter in a
>Verdi opera [SIC!!!], because in Handel’s operas there’s a power of
>emotion that can be put into the context of right now and she does just
>that. It’s incredible."
>No.  Incredible is the stupidity of a counter-tenor whose brain is stuck
>in 1759.  Verdi less emotional than Handel?  The word "stupidity" has
>to be used, because a weaker word just wouldn't be appropriate.

Please think two times before speaking of "stupidity" .......

>Was denkt ihr?  I can't make heads or tails out of any of this.

Neither should you...

th., who thought he wouldn't waste anymore time to answer somebody who
thinks of Pertile as a belcantist, but then too much is just too much .....

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