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Subject: Re: Tosca in general
From: Kenneth Bleeth <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Kenneth Bleeth <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 18 Jun 2017 17:41:52 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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I stand corrected. There are either 4 (Bob Rideout) or 5 (Jon Goldberg).
Time to check the score.

On Sun, Jun 18, 2017 at 5:38 PM, Kenneth Bleeth <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I believe there are three: two in Act 2 (at the end of Tosca's offstage
> "cantata" and at "*Ah*, cessate il martir") and the famously exposed one
> in Act 3 ("Io quella lama gli piantai nel cor").
>
> On Sun, Jun 18, 2017 at 4:59 PM, 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]> 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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