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Subject: Re: Late Leontyne Price
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Tue, 14 Mar 2017 13:30:25 -0400

text/plain (40 lines)

Peter Hammond wrote:

"[Leontyne Price] seems to have made a choice [in her later years] to preserve her upper 
range at the cost of the lower."

If so, that was a good choice, and a smart one.

Count me among those who find Price's later (i.e., post-1975] singing a trial at times.  She 
lost the ability, increasingly as the years passed, to move the voice from note to note, 
especially across large intervals, without sounding ungainly and clumsy.  And her diction 
and tone got more and more occluded and potatoes-in-the-mouth sounding.  

I remember a performance of "La Forza del Destino" in 1977, with Domingo, Milnes and 
Talvela (what a cast!!), in which some of her singing was so ungainly it was almost 
embarassing.  I particularly remember a grotesquely hooty portamento down from a top 
note in the final trio that almost made me laugh out loud.

BUT... when Price could sing a sustained line in the upper-middle register, she remained 
incomparable, a true miracle.  Best example of this is her justly famous final performance of 
"O patria mia," which is - again, that word - miraculous.  And in that "Forza" performance I 
mentioned above, there were moments of stunning beauty, such as "La vergine degli angeli" 
and parts of "Pace, pace mio Dio."  As much as I dislike some of her singing in the later 
years of her career, I happily cut her a great deal of slack because, at her best, she was 
such a great singer.   I will always be grateful for the precious memories she gave me.  
What a great, grand lady.


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