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Subject: Katia Ricciarelli
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:27:10 -0400
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Hi David

Katia Ricciarelli won an important Italian vocal competition
around 1970 and was immediately signed to an RCA Italian
recording contract. Suor Angelica was released soon after
and I brought a copy home from Rome that Spring. The voice
was gorgeous and it had range, but within a decade or so
the dreaded wobble began to intrude. I saw her at the Met in
Boheme, Otello and Ballo, all of which were wonderful,, but
by 1980 the unsteadiness was enough to make weak stomachs
seasick, more or less. She did not damage the voice as Di
Stefano did, in my opinion. She simply had a bad technique.
She sang a lot of music but she didn't oversing until after
the voice had declined and there was nothing to lose. But,
David, you are not alone. It was a truly beautiful voice, and
she had her moments.

Di Stefano did have an incredibly beautiful voice and it lasted a
little longer than some would grant. He was making records before
the end of WWII and he was not beyond repair until around
1958, and even after that he could be sensational in Italian songs.
He did it to himself. It was a conscious decision, and its
clearest manifestation is "Pagliacci" from Scala in 1955 with Clara
Petrella. The last 10 minutes, or so, are as thrilling as anything I've
ever heard. Most say he shouldn't have, but I embrace all of it.
This Canio, Core 'ngrato from Mexico in 1949, and a few other jaw
dropping records had no precedent and have had no equal.

Ardoin used the following for Callas, but it applies as well to Di
Stefano -

My candle hurns at both ends
It will not last the night
But oh my foes, and oh my friends
It gives a lovely light
     Edna St Vincent Millay

Bob

On Friday, September 30, 2016, David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> The career of Katia Ricciarelli is one I never paid much attention to, but
> I
> stumbled on some YouTube clips of a London "Luisa Miller" from 1979.  As my
> students would say, her singing there is "like seriously good" -- to me the
> basic sound of the voice is more beautiful than Caballé's.  Hearing her at
> the time I would have predicted she would mature into a splendid Norma.
> What on earth happened?  Was it a case of di Stefano-like self-destruction,
> or singing with a natural gift that just gave out at a certain point?
> Aside
> from di Stefano I can hardly think of a singer who sounded so good and then
> so bad.
>
> Thanks for any insight.
>
> David Kubiak
>
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