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Subject: Re: "Herodiade" at Carnegie Hall 1963 (was Re: What is a "huge" voice?)
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 30 May 2017 11:55:12 -0700
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There might be more than a little truth to the "bad night" part of that as those were the nights in which she seemed to lose all control over volume. I saw Crespin in what was probably one of her last performances as Tosca in  1970 and the high notes were huge and loud but they were also fairly wild screams. The climax of "Vissi d'arte" was very loud but also very ungainly and you could see members of the audience physically recoil.

Caballé was famous for her pianissimo but she could also approach Nilsson volume when she went all out, as I saw her do in performances as Turandot and Tosca. However, some of those sounds weren't particularly beautiful.

Another very big voiced singer, less frequently remembered now, was Amy Shuard.

 Berit Lindholm had a huge voice but her top deteriorated into effortful lunges quite early in her career. Interesting with her: I saw her do an Isolde at the ROH in which her high notes were painful squawks until the climax of the Act 2 Liebesnacht when she let out a free and radiant B-flat that led one to wonder why she couldn't sing the rest of her high notes like that.

Farrell sounded to me like Victoria de los Angeles with amplification. Sumptuously beautiful and rich in the middle and lower registers, much thinner (but still clear and loud) above the stave.

One singer I expected to have a huge voice who didn't was the Russian mezzo Irina Arkhipova. I saw her as Amneris and the sound was smaller and more fine grained than I expected. I was disappointed.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPhone

> On May 30, 2017, at 11:07, daaaac <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> I’ve said this before on this list, but a friend said the largest voice he ever heard was Crespin on a bad night :-)
> 
> Donald
>> On May 30, 2017, at 1:10 PM, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> Interesting review.  Schoenberg speaks the truth.  Crespin weilded the
>> largest voice I ever heard at full throttle, but she could back off and
>> sing the most delicate line and pianissimos.  While it lasted, it was one
>> of the miracles of its day.  Very much like Tebaldi in the size and
>> delicacy with which she could use it.  Of course later on as the top
>> receded and the voice became more difficult to control, she rarely let it
>> out full tilt.  Those of you who only heard her from the mid 70's on, have
>> little idea of the size of this voice.  As Milanov produced a more
>> controlled, somewhat smaller sound in the 50's and 60's compared to the
>> absolute torrent of sound she could unleash in the 30's and 40's, Crespin
>> made similar adjustments in her voice.  I will repeat it again, in the late
>> 60's, on stage with Birgit Nilsson in the 3rd Act of Walkure, both ladies
>> hurled forth huge tones into the Met auditorium.  Nilsson, focused and
>> laser like, hit you square in the face.  Crespin was like Niagara, you were
>> assaulted from all sides.  I guess it was like with the comparison of
>> Flagstad or Traubel vs Nilsson.
>> 
>> Donald
>> 
>>> On Tue, May 30, 2017 at 9:50 AM, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> 
>>> 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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