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Subject: Re: A minute and 36 seconds of Nina Stemme in ‘Tristan und Isolde’
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:06:30 -0400
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David Kubiak wrote:

"This enthusiasm for Nina Stemme is utterly bizarre to me.  I finally turned
off the radio because I could not bear to hear another note from her.  A
wobble you could drive a truck through and high notes like a tentative
coloratura. She seemed a combination of Gabriella Schnaut and Gwyneth 
Jones, with a little Martha Mödl thrown in.  Just dreadful, dreadful, ugly 
singing, a technique so poor that it made irrelevant to me anything she 
might attempt to do dramatically."

I wouldn't go quite so far, particularly with respect to the slam at Jones 
and Modl (at their best, both great singers), but I agree with the general 
sentiment.  The enthusiasm for Stemme seems bizarre to me, too.  I heard 
Stemme live as Isolde in Houston, and I was underwhelmed by the voice, 
which to me is a rather mediocre instrument.  She is a very compelling 
stage personality, no question about that, but I do not enjoy listening to 
her.  In that regard she is like Behrens (whose voice was a creation of 
smoke and mirrors) - exciting to watch, perhaps, but not to listen to.  I find 
Stemme's voice unsteady with a lot of wobble, and unattractive in tone.   I 
felt that way about her Elektra, which I nonetheless enjoyed because a 
dramatically powerful Elektra can make quite an impression with with a 
loud but less-than-great voice.

Among dramatic sopranos today, I think Christine Goerke has a much 
better voice than Stemme, and she is a fine actress, too, notwithstanding 
her generous figure.  I wish that Goerke had been singing Isolde last night 
rather than Stemme.

MDW

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