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Subject: Re: Caballe (my evil thoughts), was 1973 Norma
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 26 Jul 2017 18:09:05 +0000
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I was at the NYC debut as Lucrezia Borgia, and it was among
the most extraordinary events of my life. A star was truly, and
justly, born! It was everything you've ever heard about it. Her one
other great concert opera evening was La Straniera, also at
Carnege Hall. No cheating; she sang out with prodigious tone all
night and it was awesome. Her other concert evenings left me
very conflicted. Great moments and a lot of fakery

At he Met, I saw Luisa Miller, excellent, Otello, a superb last act,
Trovatore, which was booed for good reason, such self indulgent
disregard for the role's musical demands have rarely been more
apparent, and Ballo, which was equally uneven, and which showed
her either unprepared, or simply lazy. She left out music at will, as
though her pppp tricks would carry the day. They did with many
people, but not everyone, including me.

The last  time I saw her was as Adriana in a sterling cast that included
Carreras and Cossotto. It was very good, but I enjoyed Scotto
infinitely more when she entered the revival later in the run.

Caballe had great days, not so great days, and awful days! Her
best was breathtaking, and the legacy is, at its best, as good as it
gets. But she was lazy as they come, as often as not.

Bob


On Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 1:43 PM Max Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I first saw her in the mid 70s. Norma in Paris (she was having a very bad
> night), Turandot, Tosca, Semiramide and "Ballo" Amelia (another very bad
> night) in San Francisco. She could produce individual very loud sounds of
> Nilsson-like volume but forte high notes were often very squally and
> unpleasant. I thought her best singing was in the incredibly long breathed,
> often beautifully shaped phrases at moderate to soft volume levels.
> Sometimes she went too far with that - distending phrases at the cost of
> the musical flow.
>
> I think my favorite recording of her is actually her Fiordiligi in the
> Colin Davis "Cosi fan Tutte." I also thought she might have been a very
> good Donna Anna or Elvira but I never heard her do either. I didn't care
> for her Tosca at all - the timbre seemed all wrong to me, surprisingly
> lacking warmth, both live and on the Davis recording. I do like her Salome
> recording very much.
>
> Max Paley
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
> > On Jul 26, 2017, at 09:34, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> > Hi,
> >
> > A short reply to your questions although one from Maestro Innaurato would
> > of course be more to the point.
> >
> > It was Caballe's Met debut as Marguerite in Faust that I think he was
> > referring to.  She obviously forgot her lines and either vocalized or
> > invented her own words.  Crooning is soft singing in an unsupported way,
> > not piano which is fully supported by the breath and part or should be
> part
> > of every singers technique.  Some singers simplify and adjust the music
> to
> > their abilities or lack of abilities.  Caballe did this at times and it
> is
> > unfortunate because she had the making of a truly great singer and was a
> > first class musician.  She got lazy and coasted.  This being said, in
> > concert she could have incredible charm and sweetness and when the voice
> > was working and all of the stars were aligned, the sheer beauty of her
> > voice and her native ability shown through. That's why we loved her.
> >
> > But, as Al said, she was a big lyric soprano - never a true spinto let
> > alone a dramatic.
> >
> > Donald
> >
> >> On Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 4:12 AM, Henry <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >>
> >> albert innaurato <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >>
> >>> ...in the last scene, she sang with feeling and great sweetness of
> sound.
> >>> However, she forgot all the words (AS OPPOSED TO REFUSING TO
> >>> SING THEM) and the great John Alexander (Faust) was left at something
> of
> >> a
> >>> loss.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>> ... She began to croon and leave music out. She ABANDONED
> >>> WORDS, sometimes because she forgot them or hadn't learned them,
> >>> sometimes TO EASE EMISSION OF HER TONE.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Please excuse this neophyte's confusion but what are you talking about?
> >>
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