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Subject: Re: The good old days and singers
From: Peter Hammond <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Fri, 26 May 2017 01:25:45 -0400
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"Nilsson sounded like a laser beam. I stood next to her as she sang on several occasions and the voice was totally projected so that very little of it sounded if you were next to her. But in the theater it was intense."


This is a good point, and I think it fits with my post of a short while ago where I felt that Nilsson's vocal projection, and the physical effect it had on me, had a lot to do with the exact seat I was in at the exact moment she sang a certain phrase, in this case the word "Tristan!" as she ran to greet him in Act II.


I wish I had something relevant to add about either of those vocal gods you mention, Caruso and Melchior. The closest I have is that my piano teacher knew Melchior and had heard him sing informally in the late 1960s and even, I believe, the early 1970s. Of course I was very excited to learn this and asked what he sounded like. "Terrible" was the disappointing but unsurprising answer.


I know this discussion was started with the intention of learning what legendary singers had sounded like live in their prime, but let me just say first that Melchior was a once-in-a-century miracle, and I know this from hearing his recordings, and second, that even though my personal Melchior story is once-removed and disappointing, I'm thrilled to have it for the rest of my life. Seriously, I'm so in awe of these singers that the idea that someone who sat inches from me on a piano bench also knew and heard Melchior live is enough to take to my grave with satisfaction. What a great art this is that we celebrate here.




-----Original Message-----
From: R PRADA <[log in to unmask]>
To: OPERA-L <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thu, May 25, 2017 9:29 pm
Subject: The good old days and singers

Sutherland told a friend that Clara Butt once covered up two military bands on a field. I believe it was "Land of Hope and Glory". But I could be wrong. Sutherland stood close to her on stage at Coventry Garden to observe how she breathed and learned a lot from her.

Once an old timer told me that voice Caruso and of Melchior were so enormous that when you heard them sing it felt as if you were being pasted to your seat by blowback. He said nobody singing now has that kind of power.

Caruso was born in an age when body builders showed their strength by breaking chains around their chests by the sheer force of their expansion. I believe Caruso to have had that kind of power. Did he use it for singing? I have no idea.

I never heard anything like that, but Nilsson sounded like a laser beam. I stood next to her as she sang on several occasions and the voice was totally projected so that very little of it sounded if you were next to her. But in the theater it was intense. I was in several Strauss operas with her while I was in school.

In Electra at Teatro Colon, Mastilovich sounded uncomfortably loud as I stood behind her and above by about four feet. It was a big, aggressive sound and it sounded raucous to me. I was in the audience for several performances and it was just as loud.

RP




Sent from my iPhone

> On May 26, 2017, at 12:00 AM, OPERA-L automatic digest system <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> In his book ''The American Opera Singer,'' the critic Peter G. Davis
> recounts a story of Ms. Farrell's first performances with the powerhouse
> tenor Franco Corelli in ''La Forza del Destino'' in Philadelphia. After one
> duet, Mr. Corelli raced offstage shouting in Italian: ''Who is this woman?
> She has made me deaf!

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