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Subject:

Re: Never say 'never' if you don't want a lot of holes poked in your assertions

From:

Donald S <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Donald S <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 7 Oct 2016 13:47:19 -0700

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text/plain

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During the first ten years of her career Milanov sang Louise and Rachel albeit in Serbia-Croat.

Donald.

Sent from my iPad

> On Oct 6, 2016, at 11:52, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> OK, now, in fairness to Les, I think his basic point is valid although he may be wrong in
> some particulars - his basic point being, Italian singers in past times tended to stick largely
> to roles sung in the Italian language. And although there certainly are exceptions - which
> have been duly noted - that basic point is true. In the '50s and well into the '60s (to limit
> discussion to singers of the post-WWII era), most of the big-name Italian singers sang their
> roles in Italian - including the roles written originally in, and generally performed in, French,
> German or Russian. (Carmen is a big exception for mezzos.) To point this out is not to
> make a criticism of those singers; that was just the way it was done in times past. Frankly,
> I would much rather hear an Italian singer sing a French role in good Italian than in bad
> French. (It seems to be more common to hear native French-speaking singers sing in
> decent Italian than to hear native Italian singers sing in decent French. Again, we are
> talking about singers of earlier generations.)
>
> Pavarotti has been cited as an exception to Les' point. And technically, yes, he sang Tonio
> in French - but it was atrocious, Italianate French. (Bonynge has written about the difficulty
> they had in getting Pavarotti to learn the French words, even at that early point in his
> career.) But other than Tonio, he stuck to Italian roles sung in Italian. Wisely, IMO. He
> never sang Werther, although vocally it would have been a great role for him, I am sure
> because he was uncomfortable learning it in French.
>
> Re Fedora Barbieri singing Carmen in French, one of the things I was surprised at when I
> first heard her 1954 (?) Carmen Met broadcast, was how good her French was. Certainly
> next to Del Monaco, she sounded like she had been born and raised in Lyons.
>
> Historically, I think American singers have been more versatile and accomplished,
> linguistically, than singers of any other nationality.
>
> So I would agree with Les' point as a general rule, with notable exceptions. One could say a
> great deal about the reasons for these linguistic straitjackets - it also applies to a lot of
> German singers, who sang Italian roles in German translation - but that is another
> (interesting) discussion. Perhaps someone would like to take a crack at that topic rather
> than continue to nit-pick about Italian singers who sang the occasional (rare) role in French.
>
> MDW
>
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