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Subject: Re: Tosca in general
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 18 Jun 2017 17:54:56 -0400
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There are indeed 5 total, with all due respect and deference to Mr. Rideout - who is almost 
right lol. It's those 3 C's during the interrogation scene that are the ones that might be 
hard to keep track of. 

Also, Kenneth - I think you and a lot of people probably understandably think that the last 
high note in the offstage cantata is a C, but that one's a B - the C happens much earlier. 
(Just at the point where Scarpia is accusing Mario of hiding Angelotti at the church, and 
offering him food and clothing - Tosca sings a scale up to the C, and Mario sings 
"menzogna!")

We, of course, all agree on the iconic "lama" C in Act 3, which is certainly one of the great 
exposed high C's of all times. Also, the dramatic nature of that whole phrase is 
unforgettable, where that high C leads to the C two octaves below on "cor" - it's just a 
simple arpeggio passage downward, but oh, so chilling. Especially when the soprano mixes 
some gutsy chest voice into the "cor."


On Sun, 18 Jun 2017 17:41:52 -0400, Kenneth Bleeth <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>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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