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Subject: Kauffman
From: Peter Bloch <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Peter Bloch <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:24:32 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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text/plain (651 lines)


Innaurato is totally right about Woolfe.  I wouldn't accept a word he writes without confirmation by someone who actually knows something about opera

> On Jun 23, 2017, at 12:16 PM, OPERA-L automatic digest system <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> There are 6 messages totalling 623 lines in this issue.
> 
> Topics in this special issue:
> 
>  1. Caruso favorites (4)
>  2. Kaufman in Otello… NY Times:
>  3. Paley Center Presents Elaine Malbin as Suor Angelica with NBC Opera
> 
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> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Date:    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:54:44 -0400
> From:    "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Caruso favorites
> 
> Angelo Mammano wrote:
> 
> "Indisputably - for me, at any rate - the greatest Caruso recording
> is Rachel Quand Du Seigneur. "
> 
> I would second you on that, even though his breathing is rather audible a=
> nd labored (maybe=20
> due to the pleurisy which was shortly going to interrupt his career?).  B=
> ut the dramatic=20
> intensity and baritonal splendor of the sound are magnificent.  Another g=
> reat recording is=20
> "Magiche note" ("Magische tone") from "Die Konigin von Saba."  And lets n=
> ot forget the=20
> "Otello" duet with Ruffo, one of the greatest vocal recordings ever made.=
> =20=20
> 
> So many to choose from...
> 
> MDW
> 
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> 
> ------------------------------
> 
> Date:    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:14:39 -0400
> From:    Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Caruso favorites
> 
> On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 9:45 AM, ANGELO MAMMANO <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> 
>> Indisputably - for me, at any rate - the greatest Caruso recording
>> is Rachel Quand Du Seigneur.
> 
> 
> Seconded (thirded/fourthed)!
> 
> I also love him in ensembles in which my ultimate favorites would be his
> PEARL FISHERS duet with Mario Ancona and probably the I LMOBARDI trio with
> Alda and Journet, though I might *slightly* prefer Gigli-Rethberg-Pinza in
> the latter.
> 
> One of my most beautiful travel memories was a visit to the Napa/Sonoma
> valley in the company of varied friends, none of whom were fans of opera or
> Neapolitan songs. Those were the days when tapes rather than CDs were more
> common in cars and, right before we got on our daily trip, in one of San
> Francisco's shops with street tables I saw the selection of Italian songs
> with Caruso and quickly bought it. I asked my company to briefly hear some
> of it while we were driving (there were 6 of us crammed in a large rental
> car - those were the best of student days!). The moment I heard the first
> song, my heart fluttered and I don't know what exactly was my facial
> expression, but there was some sparkle (in my friends' words) that was
> apparently so contagious that my friends decided our whole trip, to and
> back from the wine country, will be Caruso and Neapolitan songs! There was
> that perfect harmonious sunshine in the Californian surroundings, glorious
> Caruso's voice, and lovely Neapolitan songs. If I have to pick one, then I
> would honor his own favorite, Tosti's "A vucchella."
> 
> Best, Vesna
> 
> **********************************************
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> 
> ------------------------------
> 
> Date:    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:49:51 -0400
> From:    Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Caruso favorites
> 
> Yet another vote for "Rachel quand du Seigneur."   When I want to
> demonstrate the power and beauty of sound that comes out of my various
> Victrolas this is the record I always put on and it never fails to amaze.
> In fact, I buy up any 78s of this I see to reduce wear on any given copy.
> Taking it a step further, I have translations from the French at hand for
> the non-opera types to make sure they appreciate the intensity pouring out
> of both tenor and machine.
> 
> Two Meyerbeer selections are among my favorites:
> 
> From Huguenots - "Bianca al par di neve alpina" (Plus Blanche...), and "O
> Paradiso" from L'Africana, though I also agree with "Over There," "A
> vucchella" (Ponselle also does this to a turn), and the Lombardi trio
> 
> 
> 
> On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 11:14 AM, Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> 
>> On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 9:45 AM, ANGELO MAMMANO <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>> 
>>> Indisputably - for me, at any rate - the greatest Caruso recording
>>> is Rachel Quand Du Seigneur.
>> 
>> 
>> Seconded (thirded/fourthed)!
>> 
>> I also love him in ensembles in which my ultimate favorites would be his
>> PEARL FISHERS duet with Mario Ancona and probably the I LMOBARDI trio with
>> Alda and Journet, though I might *slightly* prefer Gigli-Rethberg-Pinza in
>> the latter.
>> 
>> One of my most beautiful travel memories was a visit to the Napa/Sonoma
>> valley in the company of varied friends, none of whom were fans of opera or
>> Neapolitan songs. Those were the days when tapes rather than CDs were more
>> common in cars and, right before we got on our daily trip, in one of San
>> Francisco's shops with street tables I saw the selection of Italian songs
>> with Caruso and quickly bought it. I asked my company to briefly hear some
>> of it while we were driving (there were 6 of us crammed in a large rental
>> car - those were the best of student days!). The moment I heard the first
>> song, my heart fluttered and I don't know what exactly was my facial
>> expression, but there was some sparkle (in my friends' words) that was
>> apparently so contagious that my friends decided our whole trip, to and
>> back from the wine country, will be Caruso and Neapolitan songs! There was
>> that perfect harmonious sunshine in the Californian surroundings, glorious
>> Caruso's voice, and lovely Neapolitan songs. If I have to pick one, then I
>> would honor his own favorite, Tosti's "A vucchella."
>> 
>> Best, Vesna
>> 
>> **********************************************
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>> http://www.facebook.com/groups/25703098721/
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> 
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> 
> ------------------------------
> 
> Date:    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:39:54 -0500
> From:    albert innaurato <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Kaufman in Otello=?UTF-8?Q?=C3=A2=E2=82=AC=C2=A6_?= NY Times:
> 
> I am happy to read this especially beside the typical fan gush for Kaufmann
> and the bizarre "passagio" myths promulgated here recently.
> 
> Zachery Woolfe is and has always been a know nothing idiot. He has no
> preparation, no training, no experience and no perspective, His mistakes
> are legion and preposterous. He is the product of the Times' contempt for
> the arts, although especially serious music, and of the "Internet age" when
> every moron with some kind of device is an "expert" who can announce their
> superficiality, shallowness, only to be accepted by the slobbering fools
> who think the New York Time is other than a toilet paper roll struggling
> for relevance in a society without readers (our loss, certainly, but Woolfe
> is no solution).
> 
> Vinay was my first Otello and I saw him about five times. That's a long
> time ago and I was a child. But I haven't forgotten the tremendous impact
> of his impersonation, his intensity of utterance and his complete immersion
> in the role. Vocally he had pushed up quickly from being a baritone and he
> had his limits at the top and sometimes with stamina. But he didn't always
> sing badly and it was a heroic voice. I think his best document is the
> Kubelik live performance from Covent Garen in 1955. He's in good confident
> voice with a conductor who is supportive. He is also movingly soulful in
> the enormously musical Furtwaengler performance. Idiots, especially the
> Toscanini fan girls (and people think Anna Netrebko is slobbered over by
> nuts!), dismiss the performance by the conductor with its profound feeling,
> powerful attention to harmonic detail and a vast emotional range. Toscanini
> sounds like a jig in comparison (but Furt. has a supporting cast who has a
> lot of trouble pronouncing Italian and who do some iffy singing).
> 
> Vickers is accurately described above. This was a huge voice, hurled out
> when necessary with pulverizing impact and he was a singer capable of great
> soft beauty where needed. He had charisma and immense emotional force. When
> everything was working for him (he could be uneven) he had the right
> abandon in the role -- great hero, revealed in sound as well as manner,
> suffering victim, terrifying killer capable of heartbreaking, tragic
> remorse when he realizes his monstrous mistake. He had the capacity to
> project (on a good night) that Otello's greatness is double edged with a
> horrifying animalistic side.
> 
> I'm not going to dismiss McCracken, who especially in the first years of
> his fame, was an Otello of torrential abandon despite an equivocal sounding
> voice and poor Italian, or Atlantov who, again, early in his career in the
> West had tremendous power and identification with the role (like McCracken
> he did less well over time.) And a singer of the role who I thought sang
> beautifully and who was very moving was Carlos Cossutta, a victim of the
> Domingo machine -- a mixture of idiotic hype still ongoing and the tenor's
> ruthless manipulation of opera house politics.
> 
> The really impressive performance I saw Kaufmann give at the Met was Don
> Jose. He sang in his odd method although his voice was fresher then, acted
> powerfully and possessed a rare (although required) musical elegance and
> understanding. The Cavaradossi(s) at the Met were impressive in their way,
> although the rather throaty tone and very covered high notes weren't
> thrilling (to me). Siegmund was small scaled and small-souled (this was
> another overwhelming Vickers' performance) but very competent. Parsifal was
> a walk through, praised to high heaven (in Wagner's cosmology Valhalla with
> pretty boys) nothing compared to Mattei's Amfortas in the same production
> or again, to Vickers' astounding commitment to and belief in the role,
> along with a massive tone that shook the walls even at the softest dynamic.
> I saw a poor Faust (I was told he was "off'). The most impressed I was with
> him was as the King's Son in Koenigskinder in Zurich, where he had the
> charisma and arresting sound of a big star in that small house.
> 
> I'm tired of him now. I thought his sound and manner on the recent Das Lied
> von der Erde where he sings ALL the songs was offputting. The "Stanley"
> method, typically in my experience of singers who use it, has worked its
> harm on the middle, which has become "backward", throaty and tight. His
> voice is not really large, an issue in Otello, and I hear (can I be
> delusional?) a hoarse edge on the top, easier sometimes than others. He
> prepares very carefully, and I'm sure it's a responsible, musicianly
> approach. But (see Netrebko) I'm tired of boring, technically makeshift
> performances cheered by the hysterical hypers.
> 
> As for Woolfe, he missed his time. Surely, he would have made more sense as
> one of the boys in the backroom in the '70's worshiped by old, bald,
> self-promoting freaks with Prince Alberts.
> AI
> 
> On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 10:41 PM, Amaury Leclerc <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> 
>> Kaufmann is a wonderful singer, and I don't doubt he was an excellent
>> Otello.
>> However he does not remind me at all of Jon Vickers who I heard a lot, or
>> of Vinay
>> who I only know from records. I don't think Zachary Woolfe heard either.
>> Vickers' voice was much larger and brighter. Kaufmann has a baritonal
>> darkness in
>> the middle voice which he then miraculously opens into a brighter top.
>> It's not the
>> huge, wall-shaking sound Vickers had, but the top is far more reliable.
>> Also
>> personality wise they are completely different. Vickers performed almost
>> in a
>> trance, with a wildness that was practically frightening (in Otello or
>> Grimes) but
>> thrilling. Kaufmann is much more suave and controlled, even when he's
>> passionate, he's not unhinged. Vickers was. Kaufmann is of course much
>> more the
>> romantic lead, handsome and youthful in appearance.
>> I'll let someone who saw him analyze Vinay, but to me he sounds much more
>> like
>> the pushed up baritone without Vickers flair or Kaufmann technical grace.
>> Imo Kaufmann and Vickers are both great, but in different ways. I'm not
>> raising a
>> polemic, just pointing out that the Times' comparison is not really
>> accurate.
>> 
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> 
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> 
> ------------------------------
> 
> Date:    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:06:56 -0700
> From:    Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Caruso favorites
> 
> Right off the top of my hat, hard to say but my vote would go to two of
> his later recordings, first the O souverain o juge o pere from Le Cid,
> 1915 or 16 i think and then one of his last, the 1920 Rachel quand du
> seigneur, even with the gasps and realization that all was not right with
> his health, this is a monumental reading that tells you everything you need
> to know about Caruso.  As with Ponselle, Flagstad, Ruffo and only a few
> others, there is something unique here about the voice and how it relates
> to the music that cannot be quantified.
> 
> Donald
> 
> On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 8:07 PM, Amaury Leclerc <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> 
>> Caruso seems to be generally accepted as THE great tenor. However, no one
>> can
>> be the best at absolutely everything (can they?). I just listened to his
>> aria from
>> Pearl Fishers "Mi par udir" (Je crois entendre). It doesn't seem like the
>> best
>> repertory for his type voice to me, though I realize he's perfection in
>> all things to
>> many.
>> So my question is, what is your favorite (or your favorites plural) Caruso
>> recording? The thing that best defines his greatness.
>> 
>> **********************************************
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> 
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> 
> ------------------------------
> 
> Date:    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:15:52 -0400
> From:    Judy Pantano <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Paley Center Presents Elaine Malbin as Suor Angelica with NBC Opera
> 
> Paley Center Presents Elaine Malbin as Suor Angelica with NBC Opera=20
> A review by Nino Pantano=20
> 
> Once upon a time, let's say 1953, they had television executives who want=
> ed to bring=20
> culture to a wider audience in America. "General" David  Sarnoff and Samu=
> el Chotzinoff=20
> were two cases in point. In 1937, David Sarnoff created an orchestra to l=
> ure the just=20
> retired great conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957). Toscanini then led =
> the orchestra in a=20
> series of broadcasts and telecasts for the next 17 years. (1937-1954)
> 
> The NBC Opera was also formed to promote great operas in English. Their f=
> irst telecast=20
> was Amahl and the Night Visitors composed by Gian-Carlo Menotti for telev=
> ision and the=20
> NBC Opera. It was an enormous success when performed on December 24,1951.=
> Other=20
> operas were Madama Butterfly, Salome and a host of others. The NBC Opera =
> toured=20
> America but was disbanded after a few years.
> 
> Today most television producers and executives get as glazed as a dunkin'=
> donut when=20
> anything that is not "hip hop "or rock is mentioned. Most opera productio=
> ns allow=20
> outrageous "updates" and violence to fill their coffers if not the house =
> with the tattoo and=20
> nose pierced sets. Anything sentimental or traditional is scoffed at or i=
> s not considered=20
> politically  correct! What a pity because I believe that even the most ha=
> rd hearted skeptic=20
> could not weep at the dilemma of poor Sister Angelica.
> 
> The great composer and man of the theater, Giacomo Puccini had a sister w=
> ho was a nun.=20
> The Puccini family were church organists and composers for generations. S=
> uor Angelica=20
> was written in 1918 as part of Il Trittico a series of three short operas=
> . Il Tabarro is a=20
> dramatic love triangle tragedy, Suor Angelica initially dismissed as a "w=
> eak" piece and=20
> the delightful comedy Gianni Schicchi. Suor Angelica has come up from beh=
> ind and is=20
> gaining new admirers for its musical elegance and overwhelming drama.
> 
> On the afternoon of Sunday, June 10th at the Paley Center located on West=
> 52nd Street in=20
> New York City, a brief welcome and introduction was given by Associate Cu=
> rator Rebecca=20
> Paller. She expressed her wonderment at the marvelous treatment given the=
> NBC Opera=20
> done "live" with beautiful sets, excellent camera work, intimate shots an=
> d thrilling music=20
> by the orchestra which was unseen even by the singers. Ms. Paller singled=
> out some=20
> special guests like legendary Met Opera soprano Elinor Ross, famed conduc=
> tor Eve Queler=20
> and "practically everyone in  the audience!" Suor Angelica was aired in 1=
> 953 and repeated=20
> "live" in 1954.
> 
> Puccini's Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) takes place in Italy in 1680. S=
> oprano Elaine=20
> Malbin, a young 21 year old Brooklyn born and raised was Suor Angelica. S=
> ister=20
> Angelica's sweetness and innocence prevailed and she was dutiful and resi=
> lient in her=20
> being. All the nuns were sworn to obedience and just once you wanted to h=
> ear "What do=20
> you do with a problem like Maria" from The Sound of Music. Suor Angelica =
> gathers herbs=20
> for the nuns. Then there is a special visitor for her, her aunt. Sister A=
> ngelica was from a=20
> well to do family. She gave birth to a child and her family kept the chil=
> d and they placed=20
> Sister Angelica in a convent. Her aunt, the Principessa (mezzo Winifred H=
> eidt) is on a=20
> special mission and needs Sister Angelica to sign some papers dealing wit=
> h property.=20
> Angelica queries about her child and is cruelly told that a few years bac=
> k the child was ill=20
> and died of a fever. Angelica reaches out to the Principessa in her angui=
> sh but Zia (Aunt)=20
> steps back and prays, always remindful of the family disgrace wrought by =
> Angelica. Ms.=20
> Heidt was riveting and flawless in her singing and acting. Her steely tau=
> t mezzo was=20
> symbolic of Hell's wrath. Her exit left a chill in the room.
> 
> Suor Angelica is shocked by the news and sings "Senza Mamma" (without a M=
> other)=20
> ending on a high note that is from her heart to God. She mixes some poiso=
> nous herbs and=20
> takes them. In her delirium, she denounces herself for taking her own lif=
> e which means=20
> Hell but as she dies, the Virgin Mary appears and lifts her arms in forgi=
> veness and her=20
> child welcomes her to heaven.
> 
> Elaine Malbin was intense, her emotion profound, not one gesture wasted, =
> her voice a=20
> laser of silver and gold as intense as a forger of steel. The final scene=
> had me in tears,=20
> recalling my boyhood when things like the Madonna was so venerated by my =
> Sicilian=20
> family. The Mother Superior Abbess (soprano Virginia Viney) was vivid and=
> authoritative,=20
> but turned a blind eye when the nuns were eating sweets. All of the nuns =
> sang with=20
> passion and fervor and were each and every one a gem. The Zia Principessa=
> was like the=20
> ghost of Christmas Future in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. She was =
> a heartless=20
> unforgiving spectre. turning her back on Angelica, showing punishment wit=
> hout mercy - a=20
> frightening figure, brilliantly portrayed and sung in a resplendent mezzo=
> .
> 
> Peter Herman Adler was the most sensitive conductor and Kurt Browning the=
> superb=20
> director. The producer was Samuel Chotzinoff with the Symphony of the Air=
> Orchestra and=20
> the NBC Opera chorus. The beautiful sets were by William Molyneux. The En=
> glish=20
> translations were by Townsend Brewster. When the lights were on again, on=
> stage there=20
> was Elaine Malbin, looking remarkably young and given a long ovation. The=
> eloquent and=20
> knowledgeable Robert Sherman from WQXR (The Listening Room) had a Questio=
> n and=20
> Answer session with Ms. Malbin. She thanked her teachers in P.S. 234 in B=
> rooklyn for her=20
> career. One teacher in particular heard her singing and made her join the=
> chorus.
> 
> Ms. Malbin sang "Voi lo sapete Mamma" from Cavalleria Rusticana at age 14=
> and sang=20
> with the great Viennese tenor Richard Tauber while still in her teens. Wh=
> en asked by=20
> conductor Wilfrid Pelletier where she found such adult emotion at so tend=
> er an age she=20
> said, "I just felt it through the music - that's all!"
> 
> An early La Traviata with Lawrence Tibbett as Germont and a brief study a=
> t the Stella=20
> Adler acting studio and the Stanislavsky method which she briefly used. B=
> ut in reality it=20
> was just something she possessed and did. Elaine Malbin was given one wee=
> ks notice to=20
> learn the part and you could not see the conductor or orchestra. It was a=
> ll savvy,=20
> Brooklyn grit and her own special gifts that allowed her not only to surv=
> ive bur thrive.=20
> She also mentioned her Broadway play My Darlin' Aida where she sang Aida =
> six times a=20
> week. Rudolph Bing warned her "it will ruin your voice" but it never did.=
> She sang at New=20
> York City Opera and did coach with Brooklyn's Beverly Sills teacher Estel=
> le Liebling. When=20
> the erudite Robert Sherman asked Elaine Malbin about her career losing it=
> s momentum,=20
> she proudly introduced her daughter Amy and grand daughter Savannah!=20
> 
> We then went from the Spielberg film room to the main room downstairs. A =
> special Tony=20
> Bennett exhibit was on display showing his masterful paintings of people =
> and places. We=20
> were pleased to chat with opera manager Ken Benson, conductor pioneer Eve=
> Queler, Met=20
> Verdi baritone Mark Rucker and his wife Sadie from the Martina Arroyo Fou=
> ndation's=20
> Prelude to Performance, WQXR famed hosts Robert Sherman and Nimet Habachy=
> , Opera=20
> Index treasurer Murray Rosenthal, Vice Presidents Philip Hagemann and Jan=
> et Stovin all=20
> from Opera Index. Murray Rosenthal requested this homage for Elaine Malbi=
> n and also=20
> presented the voices of several legendary sopranos on video: Callas, Caba=
> lle, Stratas and=20
> Tebaldi all singing their interpretation of the famous "O Mio Babbino Car=
> o" from Puccini's=20
> Gianni Schicchi.=20
> 
> Dramatic soprano Elinor Ross was enjoying the party as was author Luna Ka=
> ufmann,=20
> Gloria Gari, from the Giulio Gari Foundation and Bill Ronayne from the Ma=
> rio Lanza=20
> Society. Ronayne reminded us that Elaine Malbin made two recordings with =
> Mario Lanza=20
> back in 1950 for the film album The Toast of New Orleans.
> 
> Unfortunately legendary soprano and "founder of the feast" Martina Arroyo=
> could not=20
> attend but sent regrets and a reminder that the Martina Arroyo Foundation=
> will present=20
> the young awardee singers in Puccini's Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi =
> and Bizet's=20
> Carmen in early July at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. The playhou=
> se is named=20
> after the great funny man Danny Kaye and his wife Sylvia Fine who were bo=
> th=20
> Brooklynites. Martina Arroyo's father Demetrio supported young Martina's =
> musical career=20
> as an engineer at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.=20=20
> 
> Can you imagine an America where such magnificent cultural television onc=
> e reigned?=20
> Giving voice to that significant minority-the lovers of classical music a=
> nd opera?=20
> Television executives who respected the taste of their viewers - even if =
> it was 10 million=20
> instead of 100 million? Thank you Martina Arroyo in absentia and Elaine M=
> albin. You=20
> brought back the thrill!
> 
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> ------------------------------
> 
> End of OPERA-L Digest - 23 Jun 2017 - Special issue (#2017-604)
> ***************************************************************

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