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Subject: Re: Hampson destroying .... Luisotti the biggest scourge of all
From: Don <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Don <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 12 Mar 2017 19:08:30 -0600
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One of my favorite Hampson roles was the Busoni Dr. Faustus.  I thought the
role suited his voice really well and it's one of my favorite
off-the-beaten-path operas.
dond

On Sun, Mar 12, 2017 at 6:26 PM, Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hampson did sing Posa in “Don Carlos” in French, very famously some 20
> years ago in the Paris production conducted by Pappano with Alagna, Mattila
> and Meier.  I think his years for that are past. He’s also been singing
> Germont for some years.
>
> He’s sung a large number of Verdi roles during the past decade or so,
> including Simon Boccanegra, Macbeth, Renato and Iago. To me, he’s never
> sounded right in any of these in much the same way that Fischer-Dieskau
> never sounded (to me) right in Verdi roles. Too much evident puffing up and
> artificially darkening the sound.
>
> The one role that, even though an older character, does fit in very well
> for a high lyric baritone is Germont. It’s the most lyrically written and
> sits high enough to be comfortable for the high lyric voice type.
> Unfortunately, after years of doing the “big boy” parts, Hampson’s time for
> Germont seems also to have passed.
>
> Some 20+ years ago, his voice struck me as being something of a
> “mezzo-tenor,” not unlike Fischer-Dieskau but with a fuller and more robust
> sound. In the early 90’s, I heard a broadcast of a recital in which he sang
> Siegmund’s “Winterstürme” and it sounded terrific. That made him very well
> adapted to the very high baritone literature, like the Mahler orchestral
> songs (“Songs of a Wayfarer” sitting ideally for him) and, while it might
> not have worked well for him on stage, his voice category would have been
> ideal for Pelleas. He also did very well with Mozart and some Rossini.
>
> I think high baritones have a problem in general when it comes to aging.
> The roles (other than Germont) for this kind of “cavalier baritone” are
> generally young, handsome men who can cut a dashing figure on stage. It’s
> somewhat parallel to the situation for coloratura sopranos who are supposed
> to be young, pretty “pert” characters. What do they do when they pass 40
> or, worse, 50?
>
> Often, they try to make their voices into something that they aren’t. Very
> rarely works. Some people’s voices naturally darken and fill out the lower
> register, which allows them a convincing transition of repertoire, but it
> doesn’t happen to all, by any means.
>
> Max Paley
>
> > On Mar 12, 2017, at 2:02 PM, John Rahbeck <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> > 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
> > are
> > 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
> > production
> > the art matters more than  the individual.  That's what an artistic
> > director
> > is paid to do,  isn't it?
> >
> >
> >
> >
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