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Subject: Re: simplification
From: RAYMOND GOUIN <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:RAYMOND GOUIN <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 6 Oct 2016 01:17:22 -0400

text/plain (113 lines)

Hi, Les.

Without detracting from your summation, one of the things that I have always greatly admired about Zinka Milanov is that she learned her roles in three languages --  first in Serbo-Croat when she sang in her native country, then in German when Germany became her base, and finally -- when she developed an international career -- in the language in which they were originally written.  That's a heck of an accomplishment.



PS:   One of my favorite party records to stump people with was Del Monaco singing Wintersturme from Die Walkure (which he liked to sing in concert).  I also used it on radio fundraisers (yes, I was on the other side of the microphone during some of those obnoxious but necessary events).  Shifting vocal category, Del Monaco also sang the Prologo from Pagliacci in concert and is reported to have also sometimes sung it in complete performances on stage, which he demanded as as a pre-condition to his appearing as Canio.  :)

Wintersturme (commercial recording, nd) 

Prologo (commercial recording, 1953):



>     On October 5, 2016 at 11:06 PM Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>     I thank those who responded to my statement about Italian singers vs.
>     other singers in terms of repertoire. A few of the singers some of you
>     noted are, quite honestly, completely unknown to me. Be that as it may, I'm
>     going to assume (perhaps incorrectly) that many of you had to stop and think
>     for a few moments before posting your singers who have, in fact, sung
>     repertoire in a very different idiom and language from that with which they
>     were associated. I (again perhaps incorrectly) am thinking that the fact
>     that everyone came up with a few tells me something I actually suspected.
>     AS A RULE, Italian trained singers (and Italian singers, of course)
>     tend to stay in
>     in the Italian repertoire and seem much less likely to explore operas in
>     French and German than their non-Italian counterparts. I am still convinced
>     that Italian trained singers feel that they can explore the Italian
>     repertoire for their entire careers. I'm speaking of "superstar" quality
>     Italian singers, who, while they may have sung certain German or French
>     operas in Italian, they never ventured into singing in a language other than
>     their own.
>     By contrast, many non-Italian singers made honorable excursions into
>     the Italian repertoire: Birgit Nilsson, Regine Crespin, Jon Vickers, Christa
>     Ludwig, Zinka Milanov, Sena Jurinac, Elena Obrasztova, Elisabeth
>     Schwarzkopf, Victoria de los Angeles, Jussi Bjoerling, etc. The list goes
>     on and on and by no means am I including all. It's impossible. American
>     and English singers have roamed through multiple languages in opera.
>     Great Italian singers like Ponselle, Muzio, Tebaldi, Stella, Cossotto,
>     Barbieri, Stignani, Simionato, Freni, ;Pavarotti, Bergonzi, etc to my
>     knowledge never ventured out of the Italian language in the roles they
>     undertook, with perhaps Freni being an exception with Titiana and Lisa (a
>     lot of work to learn Russian for a mere two roles, but then again she was
>     married to Nicolai Ghiaurov!).
>     Very infrequently do we hear of Italian singers undertaking such roles
>     as those written by Strauss and Wagner. Of course there are always
>     exceptions to this very flexible "rule". Such exceptions would include
>     Jonas Kaufmann, Placido Domingo, Montserrat Caballe', Sutherland, Horne
>     (both of whom were native English speakers as was Gwenyth Jones)
>     It gets very sticky if one nit-picks. There are exceptions to every
>     rule, but it seems that "as a rule", Italian singers with Italian training
>     can and frequently DO stay with their own native language and forge their
>     entire careers along those lines. No disrespect meant to any of them. It's
>     takes lot of work to really master a second, third, or fourth language.
>     American and British training require mastery of at least French and
>     Italian. It would appear that Spanish training encourages German as well.
>     Does that make Italian-trained artists more limited and less adventurous in
>     their single language repertoire?
>     Should a multi-lingual singer not be considered more versatile and
>     valuable?
>     It's just a thought.
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