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Subject: Re: Victoria de los Angeles
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 5 Dec 2016 20:15:04 -0800
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Why are you guys getting so worked up about Walter's comments?  He has a right to his opinion.

It doesn't reduce or invalidate Victoria or anyone else:  if your ears and experience tell you otherwise, why worry?

I only heard Victoria de los Angeles on records.  She was one of the first singers who caught my attention when I started listening to opera.  Her singing was so clean, so unmannered and fresh sounding and so sweet.  

The thinning of her upper register was something I noticed but I also noticed that with Farrell.  I remember reading an article in one of the English pubs (likely Opera or Gramophone) about mezzo sopranos.  It may have been by JB Steane.  I was surprised that he included Victoria in that category.  It stuck in my mind.  He referred to the fullness and beauty of her middle and lower notes and made the comment that, while her singing of high notes was always solid and reliable, "One rather wished she didn't have to."  

Although, shortly after I read that (maybe 1970), World Record Club reissued the "Suor Angelica" and my local Discount Records had it in the Imports section.  It moved me to tears and I thought her high Cs were spectacular.

I loved her Carmen (not least because of Beecham's sexy swagger through the score) and her Butterfly.  The clear, somewhat dry sound of her voice was a great antidote to sentimentally.  I actually like the later stereo recording better for the darker colors in her voice and the greater intensity and resolve in her "Che tua madre."

Most of all, I liked her in song.  Her exquisitely shaped "Nuits d'Été" with Munch (but why no stereo?), her marvelous Schubert and Brahms in "The Fabulous Victoria de los Angeles," the 60s Ravel "Sheherazade" and the beautiful record of Debussy and Ravel songs with Gonzalo Soriano.

What I remember as her last great recording was the lovely "Chants d'Auvergne."

Max Paley

Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 5, 2016, at 14:12, Daniel Tritter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> i have read all the posts here on the subject of victoria de los angeles,
> from
> some enthusiasts, from some tone deaf, from some alleged  vocal
> pedagogues, and from outright halfwits. i heard this artist from the
> mid-'50's
> in opera and concert and recital until her last appearances in  new york.
> i have likewise listened to nearly all her commercially recorded (and some
> privately recorded) output. the caviling and allegedly technically negative
> commentary here and elsewhere is , frankly, beneath contempt and is
> the clearly moronic negativity of some loggionisti with some private agenda
> to elevate another singer to his/her private hall of fame. the vocabulary
> of this commentary is at best juvenile, at worst a self-condemnation
> unworthy
> of opera-l or any otherwise serious group. to take seriously the pathetic
> statements here about one of opera's/vocal music's most enduring great
> artists is beneath contempt.
> 
> dft
> 
>> On Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 4:31 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> I'll be brief. My first live opera ever was Manon at the Met on 13 Nov
>> 1959, with de los Angeles and Gedda. I fell in love that night. I didn't
>> know much about opera, but I knew a lot of vocal music. She sounded
>> wonderful and the audience, most of whom knew a lot more than I,
>> rewarded her with huge ovations at every turn.
>> 
>> Several comments have been made about her vocal deterioration by
>> the late fifties, but judging from this performance and the 58 Otello,
>> she had some very good days. And she is the soprano on my absolute
>> favorite live performance of Tannhauser - the famous/infamous Bayreuth
>> Tannhauser of 1961 with Bumbry, Windgassen Fisher Dieskau, Greindl
>> and Crass under Sawallisch. Bumbry was protested by racist groups,
>> and the revival made headlines around the World. De los Angeles was
>> glorious from beginning to end, from top to bottom. Her voice was more
>> than able to handle both the weight and the tessitura of the role. Everyone
>> performed at the highest level and it has been available in great
>> sound for lo these many years. You can't go wrong!
>> 
>> If there were compromised performances there were also some that
>> approached perfection. And she continued to charmaudiences in
>> concert and recutal for another 35 years.
>> 
>> Not so brief, after all.
>> 
>> Bob
>> 
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