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Subject: Re: beautiful baritone voices
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 18 Feb 2017 12:26:00 -0800
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John Culshaw, looking for something distinctive for the "Walküre" segment of the Solti "Ring" recording, asked Fischer-Dieskau to consider Siegmund as a "recording" role. Certainly all of the notes were within his range and recording conditions could allow him some ability to space out the strenuous sections (although that rarely works out as one would think; time/cost considerations and constant retakes can be a greater strain on singers than stage performance).

Fischer-Dieskau was intrigued but ultimately decided no. He was concerned that the sound of his voice wasn't right for parts of the role. He was also worried that it could cause confusion about his voice category among agents and opera house GMDs since all of his future operatic (and he had a very busy operatic schedule at that time) bookings were as a baritone.

A parallel to that consideration arose around Varnay's response to Culshaw offering her the role of Fricka. Varnay had started performing Herodias but wasn't ready to be categorized as a mezzo.  At that time she still had upcoming engagements as Brünnhilde and Elektra and didn't want perception of her changing Fach to endanger those.

Varnay offered a counter-proposal to balance the perception. She would sing Fricka if Decca would feature her as Elektra in a complete recording. They couldn't; they had already committed the role in a planned recording to Nilsson which, of course, was made one or two years later.

Max Paley


Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 18, 2017, at 09:50, daaaac <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> I believe I read somewhere that DFD considered Siegmund.  I also heard that Warren studied Lohengrin and Todd Duncan told me he studied Otello.  Tito Capobianco told me that Vinay, cast as Tonio, replaced an ailing Canio and that served as his change into the tenor we know today.
> 
> Donald
>> On Feb 18, 2017, at 12:34 PM, Max Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> I certainly agree about Schlusnus. My first encounter with him was his recording of the Mahler "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen" done near the very end of his life. Lovely, lustrous sound, very sensitive artistry and both big and powerful F#s and Gs but, even more remarkable to me, floated high G#s that were still clearly attached to the rest of the voice (not pure falsetto).
>> 
>> Two I'd add are Giuseppe de Luca and Herbert Janssen (in the right repertoire). I also loved the quality of prime Giuseppe Taddei, perhaps my overall favorite of the Italian "big boy" baritones (in terms of rep, not physique).
>> 
>> I have to add DFD. Fischer-Dieskau could shout, croon and exaggerate, particularly on recordings but I found him to sing out in a much more straightforward way live in recital. In evenings of Schubert songs, I found the sheer quality of his voice to be remarkably beautiful, albeit more tenorish than baritonal.
>> 
>> While Prey had beautiful, full low notes, his sheer ease with a high G# or A natural indicated the presence of headroom above that and led me to think he could probably have sung as a tenor if he chose. However that would have clearly involved retraining and realignment of his voice as well as total change of repertoire, so he may have had little incentive to fix something that wasn't broken.
>> 
>> Max Paley
>> 
>> Sent from my iPad
>> 
>>> On Feb 18, 2017, at 08:58, kurt youngmann <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> 
>>> We had a short thread a week or so ago about what we considered to be really beautiful baritone voices. Since then I’ve thought of three more I’d like to add to my list, all German speakers: Alfred Poell, Heinrich Schlusnus and Hermann Prey.
>>> 
>>> I first heard Poell’s voice when I was very young, as Falke in the Clemens Krauss recording of Fledermaus with Hilde Güden and Julius Patzak. The sound was very rich and, for want of a better term, baritonal.
>>> 
>>> Schlusnus was a terrific Verdi baritone even though he sang just about everything in German. I have only one complete opera recording of him, as Rigoletto, and wonder if there are any others available. I have a sizable collection of singles, mostly dating from the 30s but with at least on dating back to 1917 (the Nedda / Silvio duet with Mafalda Salvatini) and a few from the early 40s. For anyone unfamiliar with Schlusnus, I recommend seeking out some of his recordings.
>>> 
>>> As for Prey, I can only say that his sound was absolutely gorgeous. For me, the best example of the beauty of that instrument is the Pierot Lied from Did Tote Stadt. He recorded it as a single in 1957 (early in his career) and again in the complete performance of 1975. It’s one of the selections I play when introducing newcomers to great singing.
>>> 
>>> Kurt Youngmann
>>> 
>>> "I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the manmade sound never equaled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig." - Alfred Hitchcock.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
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