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Subject: "Herodiade" at Carnegie Hall 1963 (was Re: What is a "huge" voice?)
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Tue, 30 May 2017 12:50:03 -0400
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Tom Ponti wrote:

"According to one reviewer, there was little paint remaining on the walls after the two ladies 
[Regine Crespin & Rita Gorr] stopped singing."

Yes, apparently it was a loud and exciting night.  From H.C. Schonberg's NYT review:

" 'Herodiade' may be a tintype, but at least it does not lack effective vocal moments.  and 
the singers last night took full advantage of those moments.  Carnegie Hall was filled with 
some of the loudest, lustiest singing heard hereabouts in ages.  Whether or not Massenet 
intended to have his tunes belted out so violently is another matter.  Certainly the old 
singers who recorded the popular parts of the score did not blast their way through it as did 
the principals on this occasion.

"We all know Rita Gorr has a big voice.  Last night she was positively earsplitting when she 
let loose.  The leading tenor part, that of John the Baptist, was sung by Guy Chauvet.  He is 
a Frenchman who was making his New York debut, and he too seemed to operate only on a 
fortissimo level.  His voice is hard and lacks any kind of sensuous coloration, but the young 
man does have good lungs and is not in the least bashful about showing them off.

"In size of voice, Regine Crespin matched anybody in the cast.  But in her case there was a 
significant difference.  She can mix timbres and dynamics and here she did, throwing in 
some perfectly beautiful pianissimo singing on occasion.  Miss Crespin is a dramatic soprano 
with something of Milanov in her sound and production.  The one weak part of her vocalism 
is the somewhat jagged sound she produces at full voice above the staff.  Otherwise she is a 
great singer, one of the really important ones of this decade."

MDW  

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