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Subject: Re: Retire???
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 27 Nov 2017 23:59:12 -0600
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Max:
   After the release of her two French recitals on EMI in the early 1960s, Callas was offered such roles as Orphee, Carmen, Dalila, Charlotte, as well as some others.  She declined them all.  By that time, she had become a glamorous tabloid figure who was photographed constantly, fought with the papparazzi, socialized with people like Prince Ranier and Princess Grace, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Omar Schriff, and others -------- and sang very rarely. It's always been my feeling that she lost her nerve, her confidence, and was truly frightened at the thought of singing anything.  How she got through those Toscas and Normas in London and Paris (1964 and 1965) is still beyond me.  The woman obviously was suffering emotionally.  She still had much of her voice, but the top became intolerable.  She could have sought refuge in a lower ranged repertoire but I don't think she would have been happy. And then there was the Onassis stuff.  She was only forty years old. Who knows what she could have been thinking? Maybe she was just exhausted and worn out after such a demanding vocal decade in the 1950s.
   Tebaldi was luckier in the sense that she dropped certain roles (Aida, Violetta, etc.) and was able to find sanctuary in enough roles that didn't expose her newly acquired limitations.  She still had plenty of voice left up to the B flat and if her occasional lunges to top C emerged as Bs, she was still Tebaldi, with a lush middle and an ample lower register (though certainly not as dramatic and as telling as Callas').  Tebaldi was only 51 when she left opera ------ still rather young. I'm rather surprised that she threw in the towel when she still had a serviceable voice at her disposal.  Perhaps after a thirty year career, she too was tired.
   How different from Flagstad, who was still singing magnificently (albeit sans top Cs and Bs) at age 62 (as evidenced by her London/Decca recordings of Die Walkure Acts I and III) and stopped recording or doing any singing because of the onset of the cancer which took her life in 1962.
   Some voices simply last much longer than others.  I never thought that Licia Albanese had a truly great voice, but she was certainly an artist, and she deserved to be heard ---- even in her last years.  
Only my own opinions ----- and what do I know?     
    
   
> On November 27, 2017 at 9:51 PM "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 
> And, of course, there is the thrill of seeing that they can "still do it," even if they do it 
> imperfectly at times.  
> 
> In the case of some opera singers, judicious choice of repertoire can extend a career for many 
> years.  I have always thought that Callas might have had a successful "second career" in roles 
> like Didon in "Troyens" and the French "falcon" parts, also Poppea, which would not have 
> taxed her upper register.  As for Tebaldi, the middle voice remained quite lovely right up to 
> the time she ended her career; it was the upper register that became a trial for singer and 
> listener alike.  (And dicey pitch.)  Does anyone know why she did not sing Santuzza?  That 
> would have been a good "late" role for her.  Did she not like the part, or did she think it did 
> not suit her vocally?
> 
> MDW
> 
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