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Subject: Re: "Celeste Aida" High Note Compilation
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 21 Oct 2017 16:57:45 -0700
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The best I heard live was Vickers in San Francisco in 1969. My recollection is that he didn’t diminuendo but did manage a reasonably soft ending that was still very much a part of his voice and didn’t sound like a conscious “effect.” The aria overall was also remarkably beautifully shaped and expressed. 

Corelli achieved a spectacular diminuendo on the ending B-flat, but I never heard him approach Vickers in terms of the sheer magic of Vickers’ musical and textual interpretation.

The most ghastly version I heard live was McCracken’s break into a very strange, supported falsetto (I know that sounds like an oxymoron but I don’t know how to otherwise describe that sound that was audible throughout the house but ugly and completely separate from the rest of his voice), also in San Francisco, in 1977.

I have the Bergonzi Verdi LP set and I’ll have to pull it out and listen to that “Celeste Aida.” Bergonzi sings the note forte on the 1959 complete studio recording under Karajan, but Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic give him the most luminously beautiful accompaniment I’ve ever heard.

Max Paley
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