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Subject: Re: singers who should have had big international careers - but didnt (3)
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 2 Oct 2017 21:35:21 -0500
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It seems to me that Rudolph Bing knew which artists he could mess around with and which ones he couldn't. The "chosen ones" were, of course, usually the ones with the biggest box office and who had the most auspicious recording contracts.  Tebaldi, Corelli, Siepi, Price, Horne, Sutherland, Horne, Callas, Nilsson, etc. Of course he fired Callas, but then wanted her back the following year, but by that time, she was already wondering into a non-operatic sphere.  He stuck his neck out (in this instance, very rightly) to get Kirsten Flagstad back to the Met, and even managed to get her to sign the dotted line to do Alceste in 1952.  
    I consider Antoinetta Stella and Gabriella Tucci to have been very fine and well schooled sopranos. I especially admired Tucci, and thought that she FOR SURE would be an enduring presence at the Met, but it didn't happen.  Stella was a different matter.  Something happened between her and Bing that kind of banished her from opera in America period.  What actually happened I do not know. Eileen Farrell was different from the others.  Ideally suited to Wagner, she never sang a complete Wagnerian role anywhere (though she did sing excerpts on the concert stage) that I know of. She was pretty much confined to her initial Alceste, Leonora Forza (for which she was panned), Gioconda, Santuzza, and Madelena in "Chenier".  She was the happy wife of a policeman, had four children, and probably was more interested in her family than a full-time opera career.  Also, she was reported to have had a problem memorizing the very lengthy Wagnerian roles, and probably really didn't care all that much.  She was a great singer of "crossover" as well (possibly better than anyone else before or since), and she didn't have the "burning torch" of ambition as did many others.  Lucine Amara had a fine voice also, but I think she made the error of making herself too available to "fill in" when the big guns were indisposed, thus allowing Bing to look upon her as little more than a "valuable house soprano".  She could have been a lot more than that, I think.  
     Among tenors, was Kurt Baum ever any more than a "house tenor"?  I think not.
But it is certainly true: Star power is the name of the game, and today it's Radvanovsky, Nebrebko, diDonato, Kaufmann, Florez, Pape, etc. And it's, of course, always the superstars who get the DVD treatment as well as the choicest plums on the tree.  Hasn't it always been like this? 
> On October 2, 2017 at 6:50 PM Tom Frey <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 
> The way Gelb fawned over Fleming and Netrebko while ignoring or underusing many other fine singers tells me we haven't  moved  very far away from the oddities of Mr. Bing
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Mon, 02 Oct 2017 18:23:59 -0400 (EDT)
> Subject: Re: singers who should have had big international careers - but didnt (3)
> 
> Some thought Tucci a favorite of Bing and sort of his House soprano, though I always enjoyed her performances. She was in the final Old Met complete performance, Boheme, with Tucker. I believe she also got the opening night, Faust, that year? Bing, it seems, could be very tough with some singers but easy on others. Had Corelli did what Stella did, he would not have been punished. But then, Franco was a bigger star than Stella. Victoria de los Angeles wanted to get out of the Martha production, but Bing would not grant her wish though Del Monaco was able to change his schedule a few years before. Star quality does count!
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> From: Discussion of opera and related issues <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Monday, October 2, 2017 4:05 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [OPERA-L] singers who should have had big international careers - but didnt (3)
> 
> David
> 
> Ditto, Gabriella Tucci and Antonietta Stella. They both sang in many of
> the World's most important theaters, and Stella was on the cusp of
> super stardom when she pulled out of the Met Tour in 1960, pleading
> indispisition. She appeared at Scala a week or two later, so, Bing sued
> and won, barring her from the USA for two years, effectively ending
> her career in "America". Then, a year or three later, during rehearsals
> for, I think, Chenier or Fanciulla at Scala, she called Corelli a pig and
> walked out of that production. With that ultimate stupidity, she killed
> a great career in Italy's premiere theater, and never had a truly major
> engagement again. She was the dictionary definition of "self destructive".
> 
> Tucci's career was less spectacular, but was very solid, both at Scala
> and the Met. I think she still holds the record for number of Verdi roles
> at the Met. She had a modest recording career, to be kind, but she was
> no stranger to Opening Nights, starry casts and new productions on
> many great and famous stages. And she was a superb musician!
> 
> Bob
> 
> On Mon, Oct 2, 2017 at 13:59 David Shengold <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> >  Larry, I am a little mystified to find Pilar Lorengar's name on this list.
> > She had a splendid international career, appearing frequently at her
> > favorite theaters (Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Met, San Francisco) for
> > decades and singing new productions at all three. She also appeared at La
> > Scala, Covent Garden, Vienna Staatsoper, the Colon in Buenos Aires,
> > Barcelona's Liceu, the Monnaie, the Paris Opéra , the Lyric Opera of
> > Chicago plus the Aix, Gyndebourne and Salzburg Festivals.
> >
> > She made major studio recordings of Fiordiligi, Pamina, Donna Elvira,
> > Cherubino (that's live from Aix but a commercial recording), Eurydice,
> > Iphigénie (TAURIDE), Glauce, Violetta, Nedda, Marenka ( one of the best
> > recordings of anything ever IMO) plus many, many albums of songs,
> > zarzuelas, arias and sacred music (Mozart, Rossini, Gounod, Dvorak). There
> > are DVDs of her Donna Elvira and Elisabeth de Valois, both in German
> > opposite Fischer-Dieskau, plus Pamina.
> > If that isn't a major international career, I don't know what qualifies as
> > one.
> > Cheers - David
> >
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