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Subject: Question to those with the longest experience
From: Geoffrey Riggs <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Geoffrey Riggs <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 22 May 2017 18:41:31 -0400
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Hello --

My experience only goes back to the Met's 1963/'64 season.  So I just missed
out on some of the especially ample/powerful voices of the 1950s and early
'60s in person -- Flagstad, Melchior, Traubel, Harshaw, Milanov, Del Monaco,
Vinay, Penno, Sullivan, Schoeffler, Hotter, Pease, Callas, Varnay, Moedl,
Grob-Prandl, Gencer, Thebom, Stignani, London, Warren, etc. -- although I am
familiar with many of their recordings, both studio and "live".

I know that my chief question here has already been briefly referenced here
and there in many other threads in this forum.  But I'm not sure if we've
ever before had this question addressed so directly and exclusively to those
old-timers still here who were lucky enough to actually hear these voices in
person rather than over the air, or however.

Let's take someone like Carlo Bergonzi, a tenor whom I saw a number of
times, including at the Met.  My estimation of him was that he was a
profoundly expressive singer, a stylish musician, and possessing a voice
that, while not ample, was not simply a lyric tenor's either.  He had a
vocal presence in the house that could project a genuinely imposing
authority on occasion, and for certain moments like Ernani's revelation of
his identity in Act III, he could achieve what might be termed an "authentic
furore".

However, I cannot pretend to know how to measure his in-person impact
vis-a-vis the impact in person of someone like Bjoerling or Tagliavini,
neither of whom I saw sing.  Those lucky enough to have seen _both_ Bergonzi
_and_ Bjoerling in the house can place Bergonzi in a context denied me. 
Similarly, those lucky enough  to have seen, say, _both_ Moedl _and_ Nilsson
can place Nilsson in a context denied me.

How did the relative visceral impact of Bjoerling in the house compare to
that of Bergonzi in the house?  How did the relative visceral impact of
Moedl in the house compare to that of Nilsson in the house?  How did the
relative visceral impact of Melchior in the house compare to the relative
visceral impact of Vickers in the house?  How did the relative visceral
impact of Thebom compare to that of Christa Ludwig in the house?  How did
the relative visceral impact of Milanov in the house compare to that of
Arroyo in the house?  --  And so on.

Clearly, the time to reap answers on these questions is right now before the
generation with the requisite experience moves on.

Yes, I am specifically interested in answers to these specific questions
that I've already cited above.  But that doesn't preclude personal accounts
relating to a whole range of other similar pairings.  I am also _only_
interested in those answers coming directly from people who _actually_ _saw_
_both_ generations in _action_.

Again, I also welcome similar remarks relating to entirely different
pairings from these same two generations as well.  However, again, I'm only
interested in such accounts from that generation lucky enough to have seen
_both_ generations in _action_.  For the purpose of this thread, I'm simply
not interested in either recordings or videocasts.

Please, I want to hear only from those who saw in person all the artists
being discussed.

Many thanks,

Geoffrey Riggs

www.operacast.com

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