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Subject: Re: Toscaitis?
From: Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 18 Jun 2017 00:46:31 -0700
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We have different opinions. I heard and saw Gheorghiu live at the Royal Opera and found her one of the best Toscas I've seen which list includes Nilsson, Crespin, Caballé, etc etc. I felt she fully fulfilled the demands of the role. I had also felt the same about Gheorghiu's Marguerite, Magda, Mimi and "Boccanegra" Amelia based on seeing them live. She made a strong case for a lyric soprano's validity as Tosca as Kirsten had before and for which there's a tradition going back, in Puccini's lifetime, to Geraldine Farrar. It's a different sound and approach than the full spinto or dramatic, but done well (as I heard Gheorghiu and Kirsten do) it can be fully effective.

I've heard the 1956 (among many other) Tebaldi performance and while Gheorghiu or others may envy the opulence and beauty of the rest of the voice, but I don't think they'd willingly trade for those high Cs that sound so close to the limits of her range. On the other hand, I'd as soon hear Tebaldi as anyone else as the "Forza" Leonora, Desdemona, the Verdi Requiem soprano or even Aida (allowing for some tolerance in "O patria mia").

What made me like Gheorghiu and Kirsten so much as Tosca, and I would have no doubt reacted similarly to Farrar, was how youthful and appealing a character they managed to project. In this role I like that much more than the femme formidable.

If you want to hear something else in the role and those high Cs, you have that right. That doesn't make the opinion any more ultimately right or well informed than mine.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPad

> On Jun 17, 2017, at 23:34, Takis Pavl. <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_DOq1Ic198
> 
> This is how a lyric soprano sounds in spinto/dramatic roles. Miscast. I'm so tired of hearing lyric sopranos in these roles. On record they can sound lovely but in the house you're always struggling to hear them over the brass instruments in any dramatic moment or in lower passages and you're waiting for those few lyrical phrases where they're sweet to hear their voices. I recently heard a proper spinto soprano as Butterfly,  Sae Kyung Rim and it was obvious from the first note to the last that this is the voice the role needs. She also sang the role in Washington last month and next month she'll be in Verona I believe.   
> 
> Oh yes, there are the high Cs, naturally easy for a light voice like Gheorghiu's but they're notes that produce no excitement. Then why not get a coloratura who sings the Queen of the night, she'll have even freer high Cs. Angelina looked pretty in her costume, moved like a prima donna on stage but that is not enough to make a Tosca. On film maybe but in the house the voice, even in Convent Garden is just not enough. And Angelina would sell her soul to the devil to produce just one high C like Tebaldi's in her best Toscas. Just play Tebaldi's MET Tosca from 1956 and you realise why the role needs this type of soprano. 
> 
> Tosca has become a role free for all since it's so popular, sells tickets and sopranos can pay their bills. It remains a spinto/dramatic soprano role. The lyrics and coloraturas make honest attempts but the role just needs a different voice.  
> 
> Back to Opolais, I never understood in the first place why this singer was getting so much attention...
> Takis
> 
> 
>      From: Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask] 
> Sent: Sunday, 18 June 2017, 1:41
> Subject: Re: Toscaitis?
> 
> I heard Gheorgs live in a Covent Garden "Adriana" this past Feb  from the
> 10th row of the Stalls and found her voice to be microscopic - with the
> rest of a very good cast (a plush, stentorian Brian Jagde holding back, a
> knock out Principessa from Ksenia Dudnikova, and a most sensitive Michonnet
> delivered by Gerard Finley)  tip toeing around Madam's deficiencies.  Her
> stage deportment was rather like watching Norma Desmond playing Salome and
> her curtain calls a master class of a 50+ year old woman playing 20....The
> MET has not lost much in the scarcity of her appearances - outside of those
> deliciously absurd curtain calls....
> 
>> On Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 10:00 PM, Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> To my surprise, one of the most satisfying I've seen live (and I've seen
>> most if not all of those mentioned here) was Angela Gheorghiu. I didn't
>> expect her voice to be big enough, but at least at the ROH she projected
>> beautifully.
>> 
>> I like a Tosca who looks and sounds feminine and beautiful. I'm not
>> inclined toward the Wagnerian banshees in the role. In that regard some
>> major voices left me cold in this part: Nilsson, Caballé (who really honked
>> her way through it as though it were Turandot) and, more recently,
>> Pieczonka. Rysanek was wildly exciting but vocally a mess.
>> 
>> Gheorghiu actually displayed a lot of the same strengths I remembered from
>> seeing Dorothy Kirsten in the role nearly a half century ago.  She looked
>> and moved in a winsome and appealing way that negated the potentially
>> annoying qualities of her neediness with Mario and her self pity. Both
>> singers also had the one thing for which Tebaldi would have bargained with
>> the devil: a really free, blazing high C.
>> 
>> Max Paley
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