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Subject: Re: Tosca in general
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 18 Jun 2017 17:20:41 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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There are four top Cs for Tosca

One in the offstage cantata in act two, two others in that act,
and the infamous "Io quella lama" in act three.  They are all
exposed and have been the downfall of some otherwise great
Toscas, Callas in 65 comes immediately to mind.

To my friend, Tom Ponti - Freni was anything but careful at times.
She sang both Aida and Don Carlo, I believe for Karajan at
Salzburg and in the recording studio. Tosca is much less
demanding of lyric types, proven by Kirsten, Albanese, Pampanini
and many others who have enjoyed great success, despite the
protests of our colleagues, Walter and Takis.

Bob


On Sunday, June 18, 2017, Ximena Sepulveda <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 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]
> <javascript:;>> 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]
> <javascript:;>>
> > on behalf of Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask] <javascript:;>>
> > Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2017 4:22 PM
> > To: [log in to unmask] <javascript:;>
> > 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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