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Subject: Even Vocal Giants Have Limits (was Re: Question re Nilsson as Senta at the Met)
From: Charles Harrison <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Charles Harrison <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 1 Jun 2017 14:39:13 -0400
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Les Mitnick wrote:

"Nilsson sang Senta in Chicago in 1958 or 1959 (alongside of Turandot during the same 
season).   I remember reading somewhere that after 1960, when she began doing Turandot, 
Isolde, Brunnhilde, and Salome regularly, she had come to feel that Senta was not a good 
fit for her.  Ditto for Kundry in "Parsifal".  To my knowledge, she never sang Kundry in her 
entire career, and perhaps a very small number of Sentas."

What a great example of a singer "who could sing anything" making sensible role choices.  
Less-gifted singers should take note.

I think it is interesting that Nilsson thought Senta and did not lie well for her voice.  
Obvously not a question of range or stamina alone, probably that the vocal line and 
tessitura were not congenial for her voice.  All singers have their limitations, and the wise 
ones stay within them.  (Of course, it can sound silly to speak of "limitations" when one's 
comfortable roles include Turandot, Brunnhilde and Isolde!)

I remember being surprised when Fleming stated, after a successful run as Marguerite in 
"Faust" at the Met, that she would not sing the part again because it was not a comfortable 
role for her voice.  One would think her strong lyric voice would be a good fit for the role, 
but obviously she felt differently and she, a very smart singer, knew her own voice best.

CH

 

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