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Subject: Re: Marilyn Horne Remembers Triumphs, Battles and 'Singing Everything'
From: "A.C. Douglas" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:A.C. Douglas
Date:Fri, 28 Oct 2011 23:44:17 -0400

text/plain (35 lines)

Lloyd William Hanson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Wagner tried to overcome the effect his extremely large orchestras had on 
>his desire bel canto singers by keeping a major part of the orchestra under 
>the stage with baffles to throw the orchestral sound back unto the stage 
>where it could mix with the singers voices and then, mixed together, be 
>presented to the audience. His solution was all acoustical.

As the old saw goes, if I had a buck for each time I've read that bit of 
revisionist history I'd be a wealthy man.

Wagner sunk his orchestra out of sight in the Festspielhaus for reasons 
visual, not acoustic. The acoustical benefits that resulted were merely a 
happy accident, not a planned effect. And I don't quite know what your "his 
[Wagner's] desire bel canto singers" is supposed to mean, but bel canto 
singing and Wagner is a contradiction in terms. The idea that Wagner wanted 
his singers to sing in the bel canto tradition is a persistent urban legend 
that simply refuses to die, especially among Italian opera aficionados.


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