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Subject: Re: What makes a satisfying singer
From: k youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:k youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 19 Nov 2017 13:26:13 -0600

text/plain (34 lines)

Di Stefano had an extraordinarily beautiful voice. He was an amazingly exciting tenor to hear and to see. He is one of my handful of favorite singers ever.

He was also the most maddening singer I ever heard! By various means he destroyed that magnificent instrument. The ’55 Pagliacci Bob mentions (he repeated it here in ’58) is a case in point: you can hear him in the process of rending asunder a true lyric voice but, in so doing, offering the most wonderful Canio imaginable. One passage toward the end of the opera, which I’ve mentioned before, epitomizes the totality of his performance: “Va, non merti il mio duol, o meretrice abbietta, vo’ nello sprezzo mio schiacciarti sotto i piè!” (“Go, you’re not worthy of my grief, shameless woman, I’ll crush you under my feet in disgust!”) OTOH, some of his lyrical moments are equally exciting. No other tenor has so beautifully sung, “O, dolci baci, o languide carezze, mentr’io fremente le belle forme disciogliea dai veli!” in “E lucevan le stelle.” If you haven’t listened to those lines in his complete performances of those operas lately, I suggest you do so and you’ll hear what I mean.

Years ago WFMT announcer, Marty Robinson, had a weekly radio program called “The First Fifty Years”, a show that featured mostly 78 RPM recordings. In a tribute to di Stefano he cited all that the tenor had done wrong but tellingly stated (paraphrased): “If he hadn’t done what he did, he wouldn’t have been di Stefano.”

Kurt Youngmann

> On Nov 19, 2017, at 12:54 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Actually, much as I adore Bergonzi, and agree with your basic
> premise, I would give the Golden Palm to Giuseppe di Stefano.
> He is immediately recognizable, but the variations in dynamic
> shading are just amazing. I will reference, Musica Proibita from the
> early forties and the two Mignon arias, beauty of expression and tone
> that are utterly jaw dropping. Then listen to Core 'ngrato from Mexico
> followed by the finale of Pagliacci from Scala 55. The intensity of
> expression and the declamatory bite of his delivery are unmatched.
> In this one area, great as Bergonzi is, di Stefano is greater, I think.

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