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Subject: Re: orchestration and tuning (diapason)
From: John Irving <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:John Irving <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:05:15 -0400
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I believe Gedda did sing in full voice an F from a Philadelphia Puritani with Sutherland from the sixties.  Rockwell Blake and Gregory Kunde have attempted this stratospheric note as well as others.  I believe there are you tube videos which document many tenors attempting this feat, many in falsetto.

         John

Sent from my iPhone

> On Jun 21, 2017, at 6:32 PM, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Hi All:
>     Only my own personal opinion which only reflects my own feelings.  I do not have perfect pitch either (I guess I have approximate pitch in that I can certainly tell if a singer is veering flat or sharp). I started studying piano when I was five (I begged for them and my parents were thrilled to indulge me).  I also started listening to opera very early on.  Until around twenty years ago, I felt transpositions to be a definite "no-no". I had far more respect for a singer who tried for a top note and failed than for a singer who would even think of transposition.
>     I've moderated my feelings about this considerably. After doing a lot of listening, I discovered that in "Norma", both Milanov and Ponselle indulged in transpositions; Tebaldi transposed by a half or whole key the finale of Act One of "Traviata"; Corelli transposed "Di Quella Pira" downwards into B; other tenors transposed in "Boheme, Marilyn Horne transposed "O don fatale" in "Don Carlo" (a role she had no business singing in the first place), and I'm sure there are many other instances where singers have transposed downwards, or perhaps relinquished a top note immediately after arriving there (Milanov seemed to be prone to this on the high C in "O Patria Mia" (though her top C on the RCA commercial recording is superb and beautiful ----- no doubt due to the fact that there was ample opportunity for her to get it right free of live performance tension).
>     Callas and Sutherland got people used to hearing a top E flat at the end of Act I of Traviata because major Violetas before them --- Steber, Albanese, Novotna, Bori simply didn't have the note, and for Tebaldi it was a foregone conclusion since she sang the aria downwards anyway, but we know that she had no high D (if sung in the key of G major) But I would imagine that Melba, Galli-Curci, and sopranos of their period DID and they sang it in the original key of A flat. Everyone knows that in "Anna Bolena", a very late Joan Sutherland assumption, she had the cabaletta to the Mad Scene transposed down into D flat from E flat.  She manages the D flat, but the "bridge" written by Bonynge) to get her into the key of D flat from E flat is very strange and not at all pleasant to the ear.
>     I don't expect ANY tenor to take that insane high F at the end of "Puritani".  Pavarotti's falsetto tone on the F on the Decca recording is NOT what I wanted to hear.  For me, a high F from a tenor is simply asking too much, and I've never heard any tenor sing that awful note with a full voice and sound even tolerable.
>     I've learned to tolerate downward transpositions, such as those I've noted above - but I do not sanction a singer employing "bridges" to move from one key to another.  It sounds terrible and the whole melodic line is blemished.  
>> On June 21, 2017 at 8:53 AM Jean Michel Pennetier <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> 
>> I haven’t a perfect pitch. If I’m exposed to an aria alone, “Che gelida manina” or “Nessun dorma”, I certainly won’t be able to tell if it's transposed down or not. It's easier during a performance : you "know" when the tenor is transposing down “La Pira” and usually you can feel the lack of brightness.
>> But for belcanto, it’ a completely different story for me : I'm usually shocked by a transposition : in many Puritani’s last act for example.
>> In other words, are there works, composers, styles that support better transposition than others ?
>> 
>> Jean-Michel.
>> 
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