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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 10:55:36 -0700
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Walter, please, don't get so upset and take it so personally when somebody finds flaw with Tebaldi. We talk about her so much just because it was a uniquely great voice coming from a beautiful persona. I was lucky enough to see her live and find her memorable even in her later career.

You fastened on my "allowance for the high C" but you missed my main point, which was that I otherwise consider hers, in her prime, the ideal Aida voice, capable of the subtlety and delicacy but also of riding over the vast concertato forces the way Price couldn't. But Price did have the easier C and Tebaldi did have trouble with that note more than once in live performance. I don't mention the likes of Crespin or Dmitrova because I don't think either of those approaches Tebaldi as being such an ideal Aida voice.

As to Gheorghiu and Tosca and your "soubrette" comment: did you ever hear her live in the role? I had thought as you did from her records and DVDs, but had a very different impression live.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPad

> On Jun 18, 2017, at 09:47, walter guitian <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Beyond that in this list Bob  has taught people very wrong  , carrying the art of singing to notes , Cs, Bflat, E flat etc , for him that is singing  and sadly that idea was installed in this list , and for what I see, for other friends here too. Singing is not  hitting notes
> You can not believe what you have to read. Where are the Tebaldi Cs that sound so close to the limits of her range ? I feel sorry that people do not understand,  they do not know what they're missing. What is very provocative is it seems to them Tebaldi Cs are close to the limits of her range and it would seem like they do not see it in Régine Crespin or in Ghena Dimitrova or in Helen Traubel or Anita Cerquetti or Caterina Mancini , Eillen Farrell ,or other sopranos, And also there is a clarification that Tebaldi's Aida could be heard "allowing tolerance in O patria mia", and in I have three (3) Ghena Dimitrova "live" Aidas, Spain 1982, Paris 1984 and La Scala 1985 and Dimitrova misses the C in the three performances (the 1984 from Paris in available in youtube) and there is the Crespin 1962 Mexico Aida in youtube, where Miss Crespin simple cannot handle the tessitura in the complete act 3rd, with  a bitter attempt and no C in O patria mia and then she cracks notes one after another in the duet "la tra foreste vergine" , and paradoxically the only Tebaldi document exists where Tebaldi does not sing well the C in "O patria mia" is in a video from Paris 1959, that she does not crack either, she only cuts the note, I know they're going to have to say in the '59 Karajan Aida recorded in Sofiensal Wienn september '59 some are going to say she had to repeat the C 28 times or 99 times or other are going to say she recorded the C later and they the engineers pasted it or other are going to say the engineers directly did it ellectronically, Surely some of the friends on the list were there or someone is going to say that he spoke personally with John Cushlaw or with maestro Karajan. Conclusion : is the C wonderful and big and it's not important now when and how was recorded because may did the same.
> 
> At the same time I think science fiction is talking about Angela Gheorghiu Tosca  and Angela Gheorghiú "blazing"  Cs ? A singer who has a voice of soubrette, a high C in Gheorghiú is a note that is worth nothing, but nothing at all , because she cannot produce a great sound in any note of the staff !
> 
> It would be interesting to debate what nomenclature in singing is "blazing" , because if blazing is to flutter or to dance I think they do not know what is good. If they use "blaze" ,referring to Gheorghiú,   to mean  shine  or soar, well so they do not understand anything about voices.
> What I realize is many people  do not notice when a voice loose quality on top and when a voice does not loose quality. Tebaldi is an example of a voice that does not loose quality when she sings high notes in forte, and she has fortissimo without shrill .Nilsson high notes are pretty ideal, Tebaldi 's high notes are alike Nilsson's, I am referring to the high note type, clean and firm, and the vibrato is so perfect that is almost imperceptible. The only difference between them is Nilsson high notes are more focused  and Tebaldi  is less focused though Tebaldi high notes are a bit wider and more creamy. Nilsson 's column of sound was of a caliber  a bit narrow dominated by the vowel "I" where it had "penetrating" incidence., like a sharp knife.
> Caballé's voice  for example looses quality when she sings a high note in forte, she is strident and the high notes also lacks color. Leontyne Price  that has high notes well issued  but Price high notes are Mozart high notes type, the voice becomes significantly narrow on top, any recording shows it and she can reach as much a mezzo forte, she has not a real forte and no fortissimo Callas is strident.
>  Leyla Gencer has good pp,  but when she sings a forte the voice gets rough her high notes are frayed,  the same happens to Katia Ricciarelli
> Walter
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>      De: Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
> Para: [log in to unmask] 
> Enviado: Domingo, 18 de junio, 2017 4:46:45
> Asunto: Re: Toscaitis?
> 
> 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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