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Subject: Late Leontyne Price
From: David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 13 Mar 2017 13:51:11 -0400

text/plain (31 lines)

I was listening yesterday to a Sirius Met. Verdi 'Requiem' from 1982 with
Price as the soprano, and was trying to analyze what we think of as her late
style.  The whoop/swoop is the thing most cited, but there was also a
virtual shriek when releasing notes, weirdly exaggerated emphases, and a
raucous almost parlando use of chest voice.  What struck me is that when
important singers who are aging either do or don't do things they used to,
it is because of some kind of technical deterioration.  But I had the sense
that all these things were conscious stylistic choices for her and by no
means necessary.  In the really tough places like that endless floated note
in the 'Sed signifer sanctus' she was impeccable, and she produced a
magnificent C in the 'Libera me', only to compromise it by a wild swoop
downward that would have embarrassed even Zinka. 

I have read that during the civil rights movement she came to feel her
singing was too European and began doing things that she thought more
authentically African-American, but this seems far-fetched to me.  Any thoughts?

David Kubiak

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