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Subject: Re: Bjorling-Bergonzi, et al
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 25 May 2017 11:41:24 -0500
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Mr. Affron:

        I find your observations very interesting.  My age prohibited me from ever experiencing Bjoerling, Albanese, Milanov live in the opera house, though I own tons of their commercial recordings and broadcasts from the Met.  I never experienced Tebaldi in the theater until the middle 1960s, which was pretty late in her career, but I can say without reservation that indeed the Tebaldi voice was pretty large when she put her voice into fifth gear.  

       I did have the opportunity in Chicago to super in a Nilsson Fidelio, as well as a Nilsson Turandot about ten years later.  I also heard her live (from the orchestra section of both the Opera House as well as Symphony Center.   When I appeared as a super in Fidelio and Turandot, I felt my ears vibrate and buzz when Nilsson was in full cry.  The sheer size of her voice was such that I was dumbfounded.  Her Gotterdammerung Brunnhilde was a marathon, and the final part of the Immolation Scene she cut through the orchestra like a giant laser.  As far as the Aida to which you allude, I'm not so sure that I'd use this opera as an accurate measuring stick to evaluate Nilsson's vocal power. I never felt this particular role was really appropriate for her voice. or more accurately, did it show her strengths to especially good advantage.   

      Of course you mention some mighty huge voiced singers in your post.  How lucky for you to have experienced them live!


                                                                                                                                       Les/Chicago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     j                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

> 
>     On May 25, 2017 at 9:23 AM Charles Affron <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>     The first time I heard Bjorling live was in the Dec. 1950 "Faust" matinee
>     with Siepi and Kirsten. I was sitting close to the proscenium in the Dress
>     Circle. Bjorling sounded undernourished. But in the Albanese "Manon
>     Lescaut" matinee and in his last Met performance as Turiddu, he was
>     thrilling, the sound not large and enveloping but certainly with a visceral
>     impact. His voice was focused like a laser and if you were seated on the
>     side you couldn't hear the full resonance. Nilsson was similar. I supered
>     in an "Aida" in Boston. During the Triumphal scene she threw all that sound
>     out into the auditorium but was nearly inaudible on the stage. Rita Gorr,
>     the Amneris, on the other hand, was stupendous.
> 
>     Bergonzi made an impact no matter where I was sitting. Del Monaco did not.
>     Milanov and Arroyo had enormous top registers; Milanov was also very strong
>     throughout the range.
> 
>     The biggest voices I experienced live were Farrell's and Tebaldi's. Farrell
>     made sport of Bernstein and the NY Phil is "bleeding chunks" of "Tristan."
>     In the Act III concertato of "Otello," the Met chorus, orchestra, and array
>     of principals were accompaniment to Tebadi's phrases. As for the final aria
>     of "Butterfly," a friend of mine was in the lobby of the old Met and heard
>     it. You can imagine what it was like in the auditorium.
> 
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