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Subject: Re: Question about Callas Letter
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 24 Jun 2017 23:43:16 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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You make some very valid points.  Baum was always available as "insurance", though I question how willing Bjoerling would have been to singing Manrico, Rhadames, Enzo, and Don Alvaro on the Met stage.  Of course Richard Tucker was a big star, and thankfully he appears with Milanov on some of her broadcasts.  What a pity he didn't do any Gioconda broadcasts with Milanov after the one in 1946.   

      As far as "a high C to die for", it's all well and good --- but an entire role doesn't rest on a high C.  As you say, one had to get through "the rest of the voice", which was a definite problem.  Frankly, I'd prefer a tenor with an iffy top C but had everything else.  Doesn't anyone find it strange that Baum made almost zero commercial recordings?  And certainly none on RCA Victor (but then again, RCA had Tucker and Peerce).

> 
>     On June 24, 2017 at 9:44 PM "David M. Wagner" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>     I think the reasons Baum had the career he did are:
> 
>        1. a high C to die for, if you survived the rest of his voice;
>        2. absolute reliability (never cancelled, always had the voice you expected whether you liked it or not, and was never out of taxi-range of the Met, bc who else wanted him?) - which leads to...
>        3. absolute availability to step in for Bjoerling, when the latter was "indisposed." At the risk of trafficking in rumor, and I'm glad to be called out on it if I am, Baum owed much of his career to Bjoerling's losing battle with the aquavit bottle.
> 
>     -David Wagner
> 
>     Sent from my iPhone
> 
>         > > 
> >         On Jun 24, 2017, at 12:44 AM, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > 
> >         No big deal, but I find it somewhat interesting that while both Callas and Milanov got stuck with having to sing opposite Kurt Baum (poor Zinka suffered the more because Baum is present on many of her Aida, Trovatore, and Gioconda Met broadcasts. Neither Milanov or Callas cared for Baum, as we know. I wonder how Tebaldi lucked out, and to my knowledge never had to share a stage with him.
> > 
> >         For years and years, I've wondered how the Baum voice managed to justify a seventeen year Met career. He stands as the really ONLY "major singer" I've ever encountered that I can't find a singularly positive thing to talk about. I'm still wondering how the hell he established any career at all.
> > 
> >             > > > 
> > >             On June 23, 2017 at 1:39 PM Idia Legray <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > > 
> > >             David: Although I am in the throes of inundating myself with Callas books
> > >             galore (thanks to an Opera-L buddy), I have not as yet gotten this one.
> > >             However, with the help of discovering her type of "Callas-speak", that
> > >             phrase says the same thing to me just in a different way. It means she
> > >             bettered a flat to a sharp to the consternation of Baum (the jerk!)
> > > 
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