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Subject: Re: Leontyne Price - Fanciulla del West
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 15 Mar 2017 12:29:32 -0400
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Peter

I'll take a stab it this.

Leaving Walter aside, I don't think anyone is saying that 
Leontyne Price and Fanciulla were a mismatch. She was very 
well received on the Opening Night, and, as I said earlier,
she sounded fine in the first act the night of the vocal collapse.

It is hard to describe what happened. She didn't go sharp or 
flat; she wasn't defeated by the vocal line - she simply lost her
voice and literally spoke the last twenty or so minutes of the 
second act. It was a form of laryngitis, I guess.

She sang three later performances of the role, which were 
reported to have been fine.

She did not sing lots and lots of Puccini, so I would read no
more and no less into her "few" performances of Fanciulla than
that she wasn't nuts about the memory of it, maybe, and that,
more likely, she was happier with the long line of Verdi.

I saw her as Liu, Butterfly and Tosca in her early Met years,
and vocally, they were jaw droppingly gorgeous. And as was
noted yesterday, her Butterfly recording is stupendous.

Bob


On Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:57:54 -0400, Peter Hammond <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>I've been reading this board for ages and have only rarely dipped my toe in to comment. I 
do so now because two of my great loves, Leontyne Price and La Fanciulla del West, are 
under discussion. I've never understood the Price/Fanciulla thing because to me she seems 
vocally so well suited to the role. It must have been an unfortunate accident of timing that 
she had a vocal mini-crisis right when she undertook the role. Or maybe someone on the 
board who is wiser than I am in these matters can explain why the role was a mismatch for 
her.
>
>
>
>A recording of Price in Fanciulla during the Met run would send me off to Valhalla a happy 
man, but I know no such recording exists, any more than a recording of the Callas/Björling 
Trovatore in Chicago exists.
>
>
>
>All the talk about Price and her latter-day swooping and whooping is fair game. We who 
love great singing are entitled to analyze it. But one thing about Price that should not be 
overlooked, and that other recent commenters have alluded to, is that she was no ordinary 
singer. At her best she epitomized great singing. Moreover, she was and is loved and 
admired more than almost any other singer I can think of. I remember a recital she did in 
Los Angeles in the early 1980s where she was about to begin a number, an encore probably 
but I'm not sure anymore, when the silence was broken by someone in the audience (not 
me!) saying, "We love you." She was taken aback for just a brief moment but did not break 
her pose, and then put her hand over her heart and said, "And I love you." It was corny as 
hell but at the same time deeply moving.
>
>
>
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
>To: OPERA-L <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Wed, Mar 15, 2017 8:19 am
>Subject: Re: Leontyne Price - Fanciulla del West
>
>Last night, on You Tube, I heard several performances of Pace Pace Mio Dio by Price in the 
early-mid eighties. Not as good as in her prime, but still wonderful and better than most 
singing the role then. It seems that most great sopranos, past 45 have vocal difficulties and 
off nights. Certainly Callas, Tebaldi, Victoria dLa, Price and Milanov did. Probably the most 
consistent great sopranos past 45 were: Sutherland, Caballe, Freni, Devia, Edita Gruberova, 
Kirsten, Nilsson, and dare I say, Amara? No doubt there were others, but I can't think of 
any right now.
>
>
>________________________________
>From: Discussion of opera and related issues <[log in to unmask]> on 
behalf of Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 9:40 AM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: [OPERA-L] Leontyne Price - Fanciulla del West
>
>From how Price talked about the "Fanciulla" experience later, it's clear that the experience 
of having her voice, as you put it, "give out completely" absolutely terrified her. Someone 
with less grit would have probably cancelled all future performances of the opera and 
everything else, but she was a pro.
>
>She talked about how she retreated to Rome as soon as she could to rest and think. She 
was ecstatic to find herself able to "scream my lungs out" before long, but she also clearly 
applied deep thought toward how she would manage her voice and career moving forward.
>
>From that point on, she seemed to do what she felt was right for her and didn't care so 
much what anyone else thought. Later on, she advised young singers on the importance of 
bring able to tune out "the noise."
>
>She once said that her least favorite of her own recordings was the first "Forza" (the 
Schippers set with Tucker) because she felt she was "not in voice" for those sessions. She 
wasn't happy with several of her "Cosi fan tutte" live performances but she was quite proud 
of the recording.
>
>One of my favorite recordings of hers is the Handel "Care selve" that opened Vol. 2 of her 
"Prima Donna" series. It's absolutely clean, pure, silver sound.
>
>Max Paley
>
>Sent from my iPad
>
>> On Mar 15, 2017, at 05:56, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> Walter
>>
>> This is actually what happened -
>>
>> She sang the role on Opening Night of the Met 1961
>> season.
>>
>> I attended the second performance. which was interrupted
>> for over an hour, when her voice gave out completely in the
>> middle of act two. Dorothy Kirsten, who reportedly had
>> retired for the night, was called at home and arrived as
>> quickly as she could to sing the third act, wonderfully, I might
>> add. Price gave no hint of distress in act one. She sounded just
>> fine!  The date was 10/31/61.
>>
>> Walter, barely a month later, on 12/4, she sang a complete
>> performance at the Met,
>>
>> During the Spring 1962 tour she sang the opera at both
>> Cleveland and Dallas.
>>
>> Walter, words matter!
>>
>> Bob
>>
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