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Subject: Re: Tosca in general
From: Ximena Sepulveda <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Ximena Sepulveda <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 18 Jun 2017 16:59:23 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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Pardon my ignorance, but where are the many high Cs for the soprano in
Tosca?

On Sun, Jun 18, 2017 at 4:53 PM, tom ponti <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Some years ago I either read or heard some operatic expert say that Tosca
> will always be around because most sopranos want to sing the title role.
> Ponselle probably avoided the role due to the many high C's, just as she
> avoided Aida. I think that perhaps Freni was a bit too cautious, except for
> Elvira in Ernani which IMO was not at all suited for her voice. If Albanese
> and Kirsten were outstanding as Tosca, I would think that Freni could be
> too. The same is true with Butterfly. I saw Kirsten the night she came out
> of retirement, in her mid-late sixties, and gave a wonderful performance
> with Bergonzi and Mc Neil. That could have been the oldest Tosca cast of
> all time? Whatever all three were great. I was also very fond of Crespin's
> Tosca the night I saw her. Both she and Rysenak sang the role very well,
> but acted very differently. Leonie was all over the stage, whereas Regine
> commanded the stage with minimal movement. Leonie was better on top,
> Regine- mid and lower voice. Nilsson sang the role effortlessly, but her
> acting at times, was a bit silly.  Tosca may be a trashy little thriller to
> some but to most sopranos, a must sing role.  I doubt that Callas really
> disliked the role as she performed it 51 times, I would think, throughout
> her career.  It was certainly her best role the last five or more years of
> her career. I once saw Albanese and some other singers say that, vocally,
> Tebaldi was the best Tosca they had seen.
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Discussion of opera and related issues <[log in to unmask]>
> on behalf of Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2017 4:22 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [OPERA-L] Tosca in general
>
> It kind of surprises me (a little) that Tosca should generate so much
> discussion here.
> Perhaps I've tired of it, but I of course was greatly thrilled by it when
> I first heard it as a
> teen.  Of course I was raised on the legendary Callas/di Stefano/Gobbi -
> de Sabada
> recording, but I also later acquired those Tosca recordings with Tebaldi,
> Milanov, Caballe,
> Freni, Price, and others.
>       Denounce me as a Philistine if you will, but I have a hard time
> wrapping my head
> around the fact that every great soprano with an even moderate sized voice
> has taken on
> Tosca.  Rosa Ponselle was a very wise artist.  She is the only major great
> soprano who,
> to my knowledge, never went near it.  Freni recorded it twice, but (also
> to my
> knowledge) never attempted Tosca onstage.
>       The role itself, while glamorous and containing the "Visi d'Arte",
> is to my ears very
> punishing for the soprano voice.  Of course, it's the second act that's so
> dangerous, what
> with all that screaming and carrying-on with Scarpia to be interrupted by
> the need for a
> perfectly beautiful and controlled vocal line for the aria, followed by
> more screaming and
> carrying on to the end of the act ------ which makes me wonder why so many
> truly great
> sopranos have chosen to undertake it.  The third act is no piece of cake
> either.
>       I was very disappointed that Sondra Radvanovsky choose to do Tosca
> on the stage. In
> my opinion, I can't see why a notable Norma would even want to bother with
> Tosca. Most
> of Callas' Toscas were at the end of her career, with just a small number
> peppered during
> her prime years (the Met, where Bing offered her little else other than
> Violetta and Lucia
> and those debut Normas).  She herself admitted her dislike for the role.
>  Albanese, who
> actually had a huge enough top (surprisingly), managed to achieve a good
> success with it
> at the Met in 1952 and 1957).  Tebaldi had the beauty of appearance, a
> huge voice, and
> could manage the top Cs well enough prior to 1960.  After that, the
> extreme uppermost
> portion of her voice (B and C) was a matter of pot luck.  But she still
> could deliver a
> grand and valid Tosca.  Finally, despite two complete studio recordings
> (and a 1962
> performance on Sony from the Met), Leontyne Price also discarded the role.
>      The best Tosca I ever heard onstage was Regine Crespin, who produced
> a second act
> (with Gobbi) that remains forever burned into my brain ------- and her
> voice at the time
> was huge and abundant right up to the top C.  But by the late 1960's, she
> dropped the
> role and never made a commercial recording of it.  I never saw Callas do
> it, except on
> those two videos of Act II from 1958 and 1964), but I can certainly see
> why she caused
> so much excitement in it).
>      Dorothy Kirsten is to me an amazing and vastly under-rated soprano.
> She sang all
> the Puccini roles with great distinction, stopping only at Turandot.  How
> she managed it is
> still a mystery to me.  I think she was a victim of bad timing (singing in
> a generation that
> already had Callas, Tebaldi, Milanov, Steber, Price, Crespin, etc.)
>      Bottom line:  Tosca can be as dangerous for the voice as Turandot.
> It's a very "big
> sing" and I think it's popularity has encouraged a lot of sopranos to
> undertake it, and
> some have paid a price.  Smarter artists try to sing it as little as
> possible.  Others should
> follow Ponselle's and Freni's example and not sing it at all.
>
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