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Subject: Re: Mirella Freni as Aida - was Tosca
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Tue, 20 Jun 2017 22:59:23 -0400
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I heard Freni as Aida in Houston, in the singer-friendly acoustics of the (then brand new) 
Brown theater in the Wortham Center.  She was fine in the part.  The idea that it did any 
damage to her voice is nonsense, as she continued to sing beautifully for many years 
thereafter.  I also heard her do an excellent Elisabetta in "Don Carlo," which, again, is a spinto 
part that can be managed by a lyric.  

Freni was a very intelligent lady who knew what she could and could not do.  She had a 
special relationship with Karajan and she knew that he would be a considerate accompanist 
for her "Aida."  She did not sing the role frequently and when she sang it, it was from a lyric 
soprano approach (which can be done in Aida, although I don't think that approach is ideal).  
In an interview with Richard Mohr during a Met intermission in the 90s, he asked about her 
forays into heavier roles like Aida, Elisabetta and Manon Lescaut.  She said, "Look, I am not a 
dramatic soprano or even a real spinto.  I am a lirico with some possibility of spinto in some 
roles.  But that is all."  A very fair and IMO accurate assessment of her abilities.   

MDW  

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