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Subject: Sharpless, esp. on Met broadcasts.
From: Robert White <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Robert White <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 19 Nov 2006 16:03:45 -0500

text/plain (82 lines)

Matt & list

I love Leonard Warren, but think his voice is all wrong for Sharpless;  Merrill
certainly has the voice for Sharpless in his sleep, but as a stage figure it is
almost more important for Sharpless to be sympathetic, and I don't associate that as
a particular Merrill trait.  I still can't figure why NO recording company could
ever get him to the mikes for it.
MacNeil never did the part either as far as I know, and certainly not at the Met.
Brownlee is one of the hardest voices to take for me (mercifully i am young enough
to never have heard him in person).  On the Sirius broadcasts so far I have already
had quite enough of him-- Lucia, Romeo.  Theodor Uppmann another wonderfully genial
artist with not too much voice has a number of broadcasts and in many respects was
Brownlee's successor (the Met liked Uppmann and they did Butterfly all the time, so
they threw it to him).  there are a number of VERY undistinguished Sharplesses in
the 70s,80s, and 90s best left unmentioned.  Clifford Harvuot is on 2 great
broadcasts (Stella and Tucci), but he is very ordinary.  Dwayne Croft is much better
on the broadcast with Gorchakova and you DO notice his contribution;  Allen and
Soviero sound like a good combination.  One of the great Sharplesses (and fine
baritone) Rolando Panerai never appeared at the Met (except with the Rome Opera as
Figaro with another famous Sharpless on recordings, Tito Gobbi as the Count).  RCA
blew it twice with Philip Maero (what WAS the connection?) as Sharpless.  Juan Pons
(not usually a favorite) is on a Soviero broadcast and he is musically and
stylistically a fine singer, just not a heroic Verdi baritone.  He certainly has the
equipment to be an excellent Sharpless esp. ca. 1996.  The last Sharpless I will
mention is Mario Sereni, who is PERFECT for Sharpless, but only has one broadcast
(with Kirsten in 1960). Great Italian style, solid voice not stretched in any way by
this part. He is also on the De los Angeles recording with Bjoerling.

 In the end no one goes to a Butterfly for the Sharpless, but a good one, especially
in the theatre can make the opera even more moving.

Robert W. White
Executive Director
Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS)
810 Main Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601
201- 489-1904

> Make that the melody SUNG by Sharpless.. :)
> {Listening to Butterfly tonight and through the Sirius broadcasts I can't
> help but fall in love with the "Io son che alle" trio in act
> three...particularly the melody song by Sharpless. However, going through the  Met
> database, I
> was distressed to see the lack of top flight baritones who've  sung the role.
> No Robert Leonard Warren (can't you just imagine  their dulcet
> tones tackling this?). My question as a Met collector...who was the  best Met
> least as far as the broadcasts go?  That way I can  track it down
> and hear for myself. The list is very limited. Was it John  Brownlee? He
> certainly sang it more than anyone else on the broadcasts, and I  have most of
> them. How about Thomas Allen in the 1994 broadcast? I'd love to  hear that if you
> recommend it has the wonderful Diana Soviero in the  title role.
> Perhaps you prefer Croft's current turn as Sharpless. Any thoughts  or
> recollections?}
> Matt
> * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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Robert W. White
Executive Director
Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS)
810 Main Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601
201- 489-1904

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