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Subject: Re: Vocal Record Collectors Society-November meeting
From: Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 30 Oct 2016 20:04:20 -0700

text/plain (130 lines)

I wish I were on the East Coast to go to this.

Is there, however, another category for those singers who were great singing actors and actresses and who managed this while singing superbly with great and beautiful voices? I'm thinking of Frida Leider, Kerstin Thorborg and, in my own experience, Sena Jurinac, Christa Ludwig, Elisabeth Söderstrom and Jon Vickers.  For a good bit of her career, Evelyn Lear belonged in this group.

These deserve some ranking of their own for managing to encompass all aspects of the art without compromising.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPad

> On Oct 30, 2016, at 18:55, [log in to unmask] wrote:
> The Vocal Record Collectors Society presents
> Voice vs. Art: The Stimm Diva vs. The Kunst Diva
> Friday November 4, 2016, 7:45 PM sharp.
> Christ Church, 60th St and Park Avenue (Northwest corner), 3rd Floor
> Meeting Room
> We are pleased to welcome back Eli Jacobson, whose very own introduction
> appears below:
> As a burgeoning opera fanatic in my teen years (far back in the last
> century), I borrowed a copy from my local library of a book by Ethan
> Mordden called “Demented”. In it Mordden traced the history and the
> phenomenon of the prima donna and her effect on opera. To back his
> precepts, Mordden cited the authority of a certain Lotte Heinotz, the
> “curiously unpopular” singer of minor roles in Vienna in the early 1900s,
> who authored the unpublished yet classic pamphlet, “Der Weltsopranfuehrer”
> or “The Prima Donna’s Handbook”. In this pamphlet, Fraulein Heinotz
> outlines two types of prima donna. The first dominates by virtue of a
> glorious and uniquely beautiful and technically superb vocal instrument –
> the “Stimmdiva” or “Voice Diva”. The *stimmdiva* uses a glorious instrument
> as her primary vehicle of expression. The second prima donna is more of a
> synthesis of singer, actress, musician, poetess and spiritual guide – this
> is the “Kunstdiva” (“Art Diva”). The *kunstdiva* may have an inherently
> flawed instrument or technique but compensates through other means,
> including vivid musical, physical and textural expression, dramatic
> intensity and personal charisma. It turns out that Lotte Heinotz was a
> fictional character invented by Ethan Mordden himself. Nevertheless,
> Fraulein Heinotz’s pronouncements, theories and concepts have influenced
> contemporary opera criticism, discussion and analysis. Several of Mr.
> Mordden’s own newly-coined terms (“demented” among them) entered into the
> lexicon of operatic parlance. When I later ventured into opera criticism
> myself, I discovered upon rereading “Demented” that many of the concepts I
> attributed to my own mature appreciation and long observation of the art
> form were actually instilled in me as a newbie by Mordden and his fictive
> counterpart Lotte Heinotz via “Demented.
> For those of us who first encountered opera via the first complete
> operatic LP sets issued in the early 1950s by EMI and London/Decca, the
> archetypal *kunstdiva* was Maria Callas and her *stimmdiva*
> counterpart/rival was Renata Tebaldi. However, the *kunstdiva* goes far
> back – more than 150 years prior to the emergence of Callas to the late
> Classical and early Romantic era of music. Such *kunstdiva* avatars as
> Wilhelmine Schoeder-Devrient, Maria Malibran, Pauline Viardot and Giuditta
> Pasta divided critics and music lovers while inspiring composers, writers,
> painters and poets. The *stimmdiva* goes back to the dawn of opera. Many of
> these 19th century *kunstdivas* had *stimmdiva* rivals (Giulia Grisi,
> Josephine Fodor-Mainvielle and Henrietta Sontag et al) just like Callas vs.
> Tebaldi, and their fans were equally passionate and argumentative.
> Inspired by the book “Demented” by Ethan Mordden, Eli Jacobson will present
> an evening comparing and contrasting recordings of the “stimmdiva” vs. the
> “kunstdiva” from the dawn of recording to the digital era. He will play one
> aria as interpreted by a *kunstdiva* and then repeat the aria as
> interpreted by a *stimmdiva*. Kunstdivas will include not only Callas, but
> Muzio, Garden, Fremstad, Bellincioni, Moedl and Bruna-Rasa among others.
> The Stimmdivas will be represented by Nilsson, Tebaldi, Leontyne Price,
> Emma Eames, Galli-Curci, Sutherland and Rethberg et al. He implores us to
> be thrilled, perplexed and even get into vicious arguments and fistfights
> like the standees in the old Met as these divas go toe to toe battling
> voice vs. art!
> Eli Jacobson has been a regular opera critic for Gay City News, New York
> City’s leading LGBT publication, since 2007.  He  has also been a
> contributor to  City Arts and the Opera  Britannia  blog.
> Only last year, Eli Jacobson gave us a wonderfully researched program on
> the history of Giacomo Meyerbeer, from his (not previously heard by us)
> most youthful work through his great Paris Opera masterpieces, and it was
> one of the most memorable of all VRCS outings, so we strongly urge your
> attendance at his VOICE VS. ART program. We haven’t had fighting in the
> VRCS aisles for years!
> -------------------------------------------------
> We expect our 2016 VRCS Annual CD Issue to be available for pick-up at our
> December 2 meeting, so as we usually do when this happens, we are mailing
> out dues renewal notices for both November and December at this time. If
> you are due in December and can possibly renew prior to that meeting date,
> it will make things immeasurably easier for your Secretary/Treasurer in
> arranging distribution of the CDs. If not, that’s okay, too, but beware the
> curse of Amon-Ra (he looks like Seth Winner).
> -------------------------------------------------
> posted by
> Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
> Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
> blog:   Twitter: @kos2
>  Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
> --- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---
> **********************************************
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