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Subject: Re: The Most Important Soprano Since Callas and Sutherland?
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Fri, 5 Aug 2016 16:18:41 -0400

text/plain (68 lines)

Callas sang more like 47 roles professionally during an onstage career that 
essentially lasted about 17 years, few performances after 1961 before 
giving up opera entirely in 1966.  Netrebko has been singing steadily 
from21 years and she’s  not close to being done yet.  Mr. Camner  
complains of those obsessed with Callas, yet \feels the need to compare 
two singers who need no comparison, particularly when one of them has 
been dead for nearly forty years and  not performed an opera in 50, in 
addition to always gushing on about Anna being the only true star.  He’s 
entitled to that opinion, but his dismissive, smirking tone and speaking in 
absolutes is what many find offensive.   It would appear there is room for 
but one opinion in his world, and discussion (though it frequently ensues) 
is futile, dismissing the necessity of any  continuation with phrases 
like, “deal with it.”  

While comparisons need not be made, if one is going to mention roles 
Callas never took on, it’s only fair to do same with Ms. Netrebko.  So, to 
that end I’ll play the next round of “My Diva Trumps Your Diva” and offer a 
few roles in Ms. Callas’s rep that are not likely not to end up in Ms. 
Netrebko’s:    Kundry, Turandot, Aida, Amina (Sonnambula), Gioconda, 
Elena (Vespiri), Brunnhilde, Isolde, Abigaile, Medea (though it might be a 
good fit),  Butterfly, Fidelio Amelia (Ballo), Madalena (Chenier), Paolina 
((Poliuto), Iphigénie,  Elisabetta (Don Carlo), Alceste,  Leonora (Forza), 
Margherita (Mefistofele), Armida, Giulia (Vestale), Marta (Tiefland) . . .

We each hear things differently, have our preferences . . . as well as our 
prejudices, and excuses need not be made.  I’m with those who find Callas 
Leonore to be one of the most moving performances on recording.  I’ve 
posted this before, but Richard Dyer’s description of her final scene her 
Leonore Trovatore comes as close to perfectly capturing what it was that 
made her so special to so many.  

"Callas articulates all of the trills, and she binds them into the line more 
expressively than  anyone else; they are not an ornament but a form of 
intensification. Part of the wonder in this performance is the chiaroscuro 
through her tone -- the other side of not singing full-out  all the way 
through.  One of the vocal devices that create that chiaroscuro is a varying 
rate  of vibrato; another is her portamento, the way she connects the voice 
from note to note,  phrase to phrase, lifting and gliding.  This is never a 
sloppy swoop, because its intention is as musically precise as it is in great 
string playing.   In this aria, Callas uses more portamento, and in greater 
variety, than any other singer. . . Callas is not creating 'effects', as even 
her greatest rivals do.  She sees the aria as a whole  . . . as if in an 'aerial 
view’ . . . 
simultaneously, she is on earth, standing in the courtyard of the palace of 
Aliaferia, floating  her voice to the tower where her lover lies imprisoned."

Even the man who fired her (Bing) spoke of that legendary 
Chicago "Trovatore":  "it was Callas' quiet listening, rather than Björling's 
singing that made the dramatic impact... He didn't know what he was 
singing, but she knew."  

Indeed, she did.


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