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Thu, 16 Nov 2006 12:14:16 EST





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I don't want to be politically incorrect but, I think Jane Eaglen's
problems, are primarily due to her gross obesity. I am not arguing here that you
have to be built like a model. If you are fine, but most people are not. A
singer, especially in the big dramatic roles has to be physically fit and it
helps to have an imposing figure but at some point, it becomes size a great
liability. From the first time I heard Eaglen live, and that is back around
1994, I have been greatly alarmed by the obvious effort in what she does. Her
breathing, remains the loudest and most obtrusive of any major singer that I
have heard live. You can audibly hear a wheeze on the intake of breath. I
have always thought that at some point it would catch up with her. Likewise,
the supremely gifted Sharon Sweet (make no mistake, this was a major, major
instrument) eventually had to give it up not because the voice gave out but
because the body rebelled.

Big as Deborah Voigt might have gotten, I think they were both bigger for
their frames. And, let us not go back to Callas, Sutherland, or pre weight
loss Tebaldi. All were zaftig, but all were also very tall, large women. None
of the three were every anything close to obese.

BTW, Eaglen's first Ring in Chicago was a revelation. The best I had heard
after Nilsson and Hunter. Some of the Donna Anna's were fine also. I was
never as enthusiastic about the Isolde as other were. From there, it was down
hill. The Norma, even the early ones, never impressed me. The voice
started to loose overtones at the top and the quality changed. I think it all had
to do with support and her great bulk.


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