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Subject: Re: Tebaldi's (in)famous 1963 'Adriana'
From: walter guitian <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:walter guitian <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 8 Aug 2017 03:47:24 +0000

text/plain (102 lines)

David, No matter  the melodramatic prose that some men say of Tebaldi '63 New York Adriana  For those things there is nothing better than going to the document. I did not know that Sirius had aired the '63 Adriana. It is perfectly accurate the review you wrote of the february 2, 1963 Adriana, It is a good broadcast.The difference between the '63 Adriana and the '64 Boheme is that in the '63 Adriana the velvet and the richness (of the soprano with the richest voice of the second half of the last century) were the same as always. When she returned in 1964, the voice was technically well studied but that year (1963) of private life problems had stolen a bit of smoothness and richness so her voice was known as unique. There is another document of Tebaldi 1962/63 that shows her in very good voice, the september 1962 Telecast Berlin -Otello, now released in DVD

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Renata Tebaldi sings "Ave Maria" Otello
 Berlin Opera. September 1, 1962  |   |




      De: David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]>
 Para: [log in to unmask] 
 Enviado: Lunes, 7 de agosto, 2017 17:35:16
 Asunto: Tebaldi's (in)famous 1963 'Adriana'
A story firmly entrenched in the operatic annals and well-known to any
serious opera fan is Tebaldi's famously badgering Mr. Bing into mounting
'Adriana Lecouvreur' for her in 1963, her appearing in dreadful voice,
withdrawing from the production, and then leaving the stage entirely for a
year to recover.  I remember myself my distress at reading the NY critics at
the time, and even her former press manager Lanfranco Rasponi calls the
incident 'a debacle', and says that 'her voice was simply in terrible
shape.'  That would be bad enough, but iconic artists are not known for
saying negative things about themselves, and Tebaldi is quoted looking back
at the period from late 1962 into 1963, 'The voice simply became heavier and
heavier, until there was no more voice.'

Needless to say, as a lover of Tebaldi's voice second only to Walter Guitan,
I have always been curious about exactly what she sounded like in '63.  The
Met  finally made that possible by releasing the performance of 2/9, which I
listened to yesterday on Sirius.  Simply put, I am at an utter loss to
harmonize what I was hearing with what has been said all these years.  Her
middle voice was completely intact and flowed with all the velvet beauty
that made her sound unique.  As to the top, there was one occasion in Act II
where she actually pulled off one of her famous high pianissimi (the text
was 'la promessa [something]'); otherwise the notes above the staff were
indeed very loud, but completely solid and in tune. She had some trouble
with the releases, but no worse than Milanov did her whole career.  The
duets with Corelli I thought magnificent; there was exactly one note in
'Poveri fiori' that did strike me as frayed, but that was it.  The audience
was most enthusiastic.  In short, she sounded to me more or less exactly as
she did in her return as Mimi the next year, which the Met broadcast not
long ago -- it's unclear to me what Ugo de Caro did for her.  To my ears the
real change in her sound did not come until she decided to take up 'Gioconda'.

(One thing that must be said, even by her detractors, is that to her last
recital, she never, ever, wobbled, which is the single biggest factor in
largely keeping me out of the opera house today.  Whether it's the German
wing (Stemme) or the Italian (Meade), audiences have become used to a
tremolo in soprano voices that I cannot abide.)  

It may be that Tebaldi really did suffer a collapse at a later performance,
but the one I heard in no way corresponded to the melodramatic prose that
has been lavished on this incident.  I would be interested if there are any
others of us 'of a certain age' who might be able to contribute their insight.


David Kubiak

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