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Subject: Re: In spades.....
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 3 Dec 2008 21:51:47 -0800
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On Dec 3, 2008, at 8:40 PM, Dominic A wrote:

>
> As for Lisa... two sopranos come to mind.  There is a young  
> Bulgarian singer
> named Svetla Vassileva that has made a home for herself in Italy and  
> sings
> regularly at Parma and Torino etc.  I think she sang Violetta at the  
> Met a
> few years ago in a couple of performances.  Her voice more than  
> fills the
> house and she has a great stage presence (doesn't hurt that she's
> gorgeous!).  Another is Martina Serafin, who doesn't seem to come to  
> the
> States very often but also happens to have a really warm voice with  
> a strong
> middle register.  I think she sang Liza in Vienna this year or last;  
> I've
> only heard her in Italian rep, and her voice size rivals Guleghina's  
> but she
> has much more control.
>
> Of course they are both irrelevant as for as the Met is  
> concerned...Mattila
> is singing Liza in 2010.
>

Mattila came immediately to my mind as being about the right  
combination of size, color and
actng ability.

Unlike Jim, I adore this opera.  It haunts me.  I don't try to compare  
it to the superb Pushkin
tale on which it's, frankly, at best loosely based but I think it's a  
masterpiece.  That entire confrontation
scene between Hermann and the Countess (with her syncophants droning  
away in the background
at the beginning) is eerily effective in its construction.

I've seen a number of productions, starting with the SFO 1975 that  
marked San Francisco's first
attempt (so far as I know) to actually do a Russian opera in the  
Russian language and was the
"defect debut" of Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya.   Vishnevskaya was in  
rough shape, even for that
point in her career, due to illness (after one performance,  
Rostropovich told the orchestra in his
heavy accent "Tonight, Vishnevsksya was the pits.").

The best Lisa I've seen was Teresa Zylis-Gara.  A more formidable  
creature than Pushkin's mousey ward,
she struck me as being just about the ideal embodiment - vocally,  
visually, musically and dramatically - of
what the Tchaikovsky brothers set out to portray.   That same  
performance had the best Countess I've seen,
Regina Resnick.

I don't think there's any reason for LIsa to be a dramatic soprano  
mega-honk buzz-saw.  I think Lisa takes off
where Tatyana leaves off:  literally;  the voice that sings Tatyana's  
final confrontation with Onegin is the one
that Lisa needs to take forward.  A good full lyric to lirico- 
spinto.   Mature Freni was very good.  Fleming could
do it if sufficiently motivated.  If her voice is still in good shape  
(haven't heard much about her recently), Solveig
Kringelborn could be about the right sound, look and type.   Dalayman  
might have been right a decade ago,
but when I saw her do it a few years ago the voice was already too big  
and steely.  Martina Serafin would probably
be very, very good in the role.  Her voice isn't as loud as  
Guleghina's, but this isn't a bad thing by any means.

By the way, I saw Svetlana Vassileva do a "Trovatore" Leonora as far  
back as 1994 (too early for her to do it, but
an impressive job for a youngster and someone had to fill in, again,  
for a cancelled Julia Varady).  She was clearly
a talent to watch.

Does Radvanovsky sing Russian rep?

Max

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