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Subject: Re: bohème in english - was Re: Merrill's Per me giunto
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Sat, 20 May 2017 18:18:32 -0400
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In Bing's memoirs, he discussed this early experiment with opera in English at the Met.  He 
said the problem was that the English translation was largely unintelligible.  After a dress 
rehearsal of (I think) the Boheme, which fell on his birthday, Bing was in the auditorium and 
the cast sang "Happy Birthday to him from the stage.  Bing said, "Thank you, ladies and 
gentlemen.  Those were the first words I understood all afternoon."

Singing intelligible English (or maybe any language) is a matter of training in clear 
enunciation and text projection (which is a specific skill many singers lack), as well as a 
function of how clear and forward the singer's tone is.  Two singers who for me were paragons 
of singing clear, intelligible English were Dame Janet Baker and Elly Ameling (yes, she was 
Dutch, but her forward placement and precise enunciation were exemplary).  Also Eleanor 
Steber.

MDW

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