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Subject: Re: Hampson destroying .... Luisotti the biggest scourge of all
From: John Rahbeck <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sun, 12 Mar 2017 17:02:44 -0400

text/plain (77 lines)

I thought I would throw a little perspective into the conversation. Here  
are some facts and thoughts to consider. Many times the quality of the  
conducting can ruin a performance, especially if the singers are somewhat  
miscast or on the decline, and some conductors are notorious for  bombasticly 
drowning out the singers. I do agree that singing an  aria is not the same thing 
as singing a role, however one must take a total  career into 
consideration, and Thomas Hampson has had a considerable one. How we  love to worship our 
singers at the top of their game, and how we love to condemn  and kick them 
when them when they make a bad decision, and how the sharks  circle when 
they smell blood and are pushing the next generation into  place. 
 There are other things to consider as well. It's called money.  It costs a 
company a lot of money to buy out a singer, and it costs a singer a  lot of 
money to cancel. Often neither the company nor the singer can afford it.  
Not only is the company legally bound to buy out the performer if they  
decide to replace them, they have to pay for the replacement as well. There  are 
singers on the decline who would gladly retire if they could afford  it.
 With all this said, I did not see or hear this performance and  cannot 
make a judgement on it, but I have seen and heard these performers  including 
the conductor in other venues, and thought the casting odd. I can't  imagine 
Hampson in most Verdi roles. I also disagree he is a tenor. I hear a  
passaggio that either requires a mixed voice or full cover on an F. If he was a  
tenor, he wouldn't have to do that until F#. He's really smooth in how he  
transitions into his high notes. Men who mix rather than cover avoid the 
"turn"  or "cover" or whatever you want to call it to reach the higher notes  and 
can have a lighter tenor like sound, but it's really the passaggio  that 
determines a voice type. Romantic Italian literature was written for  fully 
turned chested high notes. That being said, almost every great  artist has 
made a major mistake in experimenting with new roles. If a  singer sticks to a 
small repertoire, they are chided for not branching out.  If they branch out 
and make a mistake, they are condemned as well, so I  think we should cut 
the guy some slack. 
And here's another thing to consider, there are many fine lyric baritones,  
but it's extremely difficult to find a real Verdi baritone. They may be the 
 rarest of all birds, and they have to cast somebody to fill the gap.  
Sometimes with a sensitive conductor a more lyric baritone can do some  justice 
to a Verdi role. I think if I were to hear Hampson in Verdi, I  would prefer 
to hear him as Posa in Don Carlo than Germont. I think he  would do 
especially well in the French Don Carlo. I would pay to  see that.
John Rahbeck   
In a message dated 3/12/2017 6:21:04 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

Certainly during rehearsal problems with Hampson--and to a  lesser degree 
Fabiano and Yoncheva should have been noted and corrections  made.  If the 
orchestra was playing too loudly and forcing the  singers above their 
abilities, someone should have spoken to the  conductor.  If the singers 
out of sorts and are having a moment  in their singing careers, take them 
aside and let them know you understand  but....bring in someone else.  That 
doesn't mean banish them from the  Met forever;  it means for this 
the art matters more than  the individual.  That's what an artistic 
is paid to do,  isn't it?

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