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Subject: Re: VASTLY DIFFERENT CRITICAL OPINIONS
From: John Irving <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:John Irving <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 31 Jan 2017 10:30:06 -0600
Content-Type:text/plain
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Amen!  


    John

Sent from my iPhone

> On Jan 31, 2017, at 8:25 AM, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Sterling: 
> Your point is well taken. I don't understand it either. There are some opera people who feel that if one doesn't appreciate an artist they hold up as sacred, it's a personal insult to them. There has to be a psychological explanation for it, but I can't waste the time looking for it. Opera is a passionate art form and it seems to invite passionate opinions, which kind of makes it fun until someone crosses the line and becomes rude and abusive. One important lesson: You never build an artist UP by knocking another artist DOWN. 
> We've all seen critics do that (THEY frequently differ in THEIR opinions!). People should listen and enjoy what they respond to. Period. 
> 
> 
> ----- Original Message -----
> 
> From: [log in to unmask] 
> To: "Les Mitnick" <[log in to unmask]>, "OPERA-L" <[log in to unmask]> 
> Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 12:45:28 AM 
> Subject: RE: VASTLY DIFFERENT CRITICAL OPINIONS 
> 
> I worked at the Tower classical annex in San Francisco until it expired. I told many of my clients: "Look. If there are 3,000 people in the audience, 3,000 different performances are happening simultaneously. Plus the orchestra. And the singers. Everybody hears it differently according to their own perspective and experience." 
> 
> I have never understood why some people get so angry when we do not worship the same gods they do... 
> 
> Sterling 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> -------- Original Message -------- 
> Subject: VASTLY DIFFERENT CRITICAL OPINIONS 
> From: Les Mitnick < [log in to unmask] > 
> Date: Mon, January 30, 2017 11:25 pm 
> To: [log in to unmask] 
> 
> I am going to try to weigh in on this. It's only my feelings being 
> expressed, and I speak for no one else. When it comes to professional 
> critical opinions, I read very carefully, usually accept the opinion (most 
> of the time) and move on. We all are actually our own critics. What 
> reaches US individually is highly personal. 
> With a role like Norma, there is far too much for everyone to agree on. 
> For me, Callas remains the ultimate Norma (on her live recordings, both of 
> her studio recordings --------- even though on the second her vocal 
> imperfections are easy to discern). On the 1960 studio recording, even 
> given the condition of her voice, she moves me like no other Norma. She's 
> commanding, has tremendous authority, and puts her stamp on the role as no 
> one else has. Given that, I find that despite some flawless singing, 
> outstanding duet work with Marilyn Horne, etc, that Joan Sutherland was 
> never a real Norma. She lacked the authority and venom that must be present 
> in the role. Too many phrases went for nothing. I think that Caballe came 
> much closer to the ideal. The role was way beyond Scotto, but she did her 
> best (which wasn't enough). I won't go into Elena Suliotis, whom I heard in 
> Chicago. At age 25, with a Callas-like voice, she failed terribly, in 
> thought. June Anderson tried Norma in Chicago in 1997, and it was at best 
> an honorable attempt but still a noble failure. 
> Sondra Radvanovsky is most emphatically a beautiful and real Norma, 
> though I'm sure many will disagree. No, she can't dip her voice in venom 
> like Callas could, but she sings with authority and with conviction. I am 
> unaware of any other Norma today who could touch her. But this is only a 
> reflection of what moves and thrills ME. I love the opera, and I find the 
> Norma situation made even more difficult by the "new approach" by Cecilia 
> Bartoli, whom I feel has some really beautiful moments. In fact, the whole 
> performance is different from all the others, and it did take me several 
> plays to appreciate it. There's room for her interpretation also. I've 
> said this before, but I'll say it again: I find it amazing that the critics 
> praised it (for the most part) but opera lovers disdained it. Perhaps many 
> have changed their minds. 
> The crux of my point is that there are so many different ways to 
> approach this very complex and difficult role that anyone who undertakes it 
> is going to face some controversy, which is healthy. I listen mostly to 
> Callas, Caballe, Bartoli, and now Radvanovsky. I find Sutherland's efforts 
> to be technically admirable, but for me she's bloodless, and not really 
> suited for this opera. The emotional depths of the role are not hers to give. 
> So there is no right or wrong. People gravitate to what they like to 
> hear in a Norma. I find Radvanovsky today just about "as good it it gets" . 
> I'm glad she waited so long to undertake the role and hope oher Norma 
> deepens andrefines itself even further in the coming seasons. I wonder what 
> Anna Netrebko will one day make of this opera (if she ever besides to 
> perform it.) 
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