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Subject: Re: Caballe (my evil thoughts), was 1973 Norma
From: tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:22:07 +0000

text/plain (52 lines)

 Not being a musician or vocal expert what I meant to say by using the word total, was that I never heard what I thought was a bad performance by Caballe, not that she was flawless vocally or otherwise. You are right that by using the word total in that post, did indeed seem like faint praise.

From: Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 11:49 PM
To: [log in to unmask]; Tom Ponti
Subject: Re: Caballe (my evil thoughts), was 1973 Norma

And now from the "damning with faint praise" dept. ...

Tom Ponti:  "I saw her many times and never heard a totally bad performance from her."

That is truly a classic - whether Mr. Ponti intended it as such or not!

My two cents:  Caballe was never one of my favorite singers, although I recognize and
appreciate her prodigious gifts (at her best).  I agree with those who have characterized her
as a "lazy" singer, past a certain point in her career - that is the impression I had from both
live performances and recordings.  Her frequent habit of simply vocalizing on "Ah!"
whenever the vocal line went above an F or G - not even attempting to fake the words,
which CAN be done - really annoyed me.  It showed disrespect for the music and the
listener both.

But as Bob said, her NY debut performance as Lucrezia Borgia is sensational (which I had
been there!)  Her early performances in Dallas (Traviata and Nozze di Figaro) are wonderful
too - she was a great Mozart singer.  (I think someone has already mentioned her fine
recording of "Cosi fan tutte" under Colin Davis.)

Caballe provided one of the funniest Tosca endings I have ever seen, on opening night at
the Met in 1985.  At the end, she simply walked placidly off-stage rather than even
attempting a jump, looking, as the NY Times critic said, "like Queen Victoria out for an
afternoon stroll."
(For the record, it was a fine performance, vocally.)  The audience actually laughed - not
something you want at the end of "Tosca."  This was in addition to her bizarre stage
business in Act II when she started unbuttoning her sleeves in anticipation of being raped
by Scarpia, and then buttoning them up again after she stabbed him.


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