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Subject: Tosca and great sopranos
From: David Shengold <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David Shengold <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 18 Jun 2017 23:16:55 +0000
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" Rosa Ponselle was a very wise artist.  She is the only major
> great soprano who, to my knowledge, never went near it. "

Well, leaving aside great lighter sopranos like Lucia Popp, Edita Gruberova, Elisabeth Söderström, Judith Blegen and Arleen Auger, etc etc etc.

Helen Donath told me she was asked to perform the role in her 50s, when she was taking on roles like Desdemona and Elisabeth and sang it through with her husband Klaus at the piano. She had the notes. Every time she got to the melodramatic parts like "Quanto"?/"Il prezzo!" and "E avanti lui tremava tutta Roma", this wise and sunny soul broke out in fits of laughter at the idea of her enacting Tosca. She did sing "Vissi d'arte" in concert.

But in terms of lirico-spintos besides Ponselle who did not sing Tosca, what about Rethberg? She sang Mimi, Butterfly, Nedda, Maddalena di Coigny, Iris and Santuzza--does anyone know, did she sing Tosca in her early years in Dresden, where she covered a large repertory?  She did record the aria in about 1930.
Lucrezia Bori sang Manon Lescaut and Iris; surely not Tosca ( unless, once again, it was early on).

Nor do I imagine Elisabeth Gruemmer ever singing Tosca. Did Adriana Maliponte, who ventured Butterfly and Manon Lescaut in later career ( after Mimi, Nedda and Liu earlier on)? Did Julia Varady, who did sing Giorgietta and Butterfly?
Les is right that VERY MANY great sopranos have not resisted Tosca. But I can't imagine that Ponselle is the only one to have done so.
Cheers - David Shengold

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