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Subject: Re: Tebaldi's (in)famous 1963 'Adriana'
From: Don <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Don <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 7 Aug 2017 15:17:33 -0600
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I recorded the broadcast of Adriana with Tebaldi and Corelli and I still
listen to it as one of the most exciting performances I have ever heard.  I
cannot imagine we were listening to the same performances.  Those two
together were amazing.

On Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 3:04 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I'll be sort of brief, mainly because Tebaldi fans aren't going to like
> what I have to say.
>
> I was at the premiere, in a Grand Tier seat, surrounded by a sea of
> Tebaldi lovers. She was dreadful, from beginning to end, forced tone,
> unremittingly louder than she should have been  and out of tune on
> virtually every note above the staff. She received a very muted response
> from an audience that seemed stunned. The one thing you said that
> I agree with is that the Mimi return a year later sounded no different.
> On that occasion, the man standing next to me, whose name I will
> not divulge but who is a frequent guest on the Opera Quiz, turned to
> me after Act 1 and asked "Does she sound any different to you?"
> "No" said I. "Not to me, either", said he.
>
> But, I will say what I have said for fifty years, she did not need me.
> She was the most loved singer I ever saw, and that Mimi return,
> on 14 March 1964, was the most moving demonstration of
> affection I have ever seen.
>
> Bob
>
> On Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 4:35 PM David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > 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.
> >
> > Thanks.
> >
> > David Kubiak
> >
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​Always keep a roll of baling wire and another of duct tape in your car.
It's amazing how useful it can be.

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