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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
Content-Type: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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