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Subject: Barbara Cook retiring
From: James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 7 May 2017 22:45:35 -0700
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Well one of the all time great American female vocalists has just announced
her retirement. As far as I'm concerned Barbara Cook is going out on top, I
don't know if anyone has ever sung so well for so long and kept the
gorgeous sound of their voice so unimpaired. I'd say the only comparison
might be Nellie Melba, but Cook is far older than Melba was when she
retired.

I've heard many wonderful soprano voices since the first time I stepped
into an opera house in the late 1960s. I would rate the top operatic
sopranos for beautiful sound as (in no particular order) Kiri Te Kanawa,
Renata Tebaldi, Victoria de Los Angeles, Barbara Bonney, Lucia Popp, Jessye
Norman (perhaps more a mezzo...), Mirella Freni (only when she was in her
youthful prime),and Leontyne Price. If I had to pick one of those, it would
be a tie between Price and Te Kanawa.

And yet, I believe the most beautiful soprano voice of all that I heard in
person was that of Barbara Cook. Such a sumptuous, even, gorgeous limpid
sound, one could bathe in it, luxuriate in it. But Cook was not just a
pretty voice, she was a consummate interpreter. Does she belong in the
above company? Well she was the creator of Cunégonde which is now a staple
in many opera houses, the role was written for her and who can hear it
without thinking of her? Cook, like her Broadway successors Rebecca Luker,
Kelli O'Hara, Audra McDonald and Laura Benanti could do it all - sing AND
act.

I'm so glad I got to hear her both in concert and on the stage and I wish
her a happy and well deserved retirement..

James Camner

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