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Subject: Re: When to retire
From: Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 28 Nov 2017 08:50:50 -0500
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As I was about to type my comment, Bob's post came up and it's in the same
spirit as mine, with one small difference. I absolutely acknowledge that
the box office matters, but I also think that, as artists, they should be
able to hear themselves and let their ego pass the sound of ovations. They
should be able to recognize that applauses and ovations are mostly the
residuals from their past glory. For the sake of their own artistic
integrity, they should know when to retire.

A case in point: Ferruccio Furlanetto
His voice dried out, it's wobbly and coarse, lost most of its heft forcing
him to bark and push, it shows age in a very unpleasant way. Yes, there are
some clever stylistic finesses he brings to the singing, but the negatives
far outweigh the positives. Someone else can hear it differently, which is
fine, but that's how I hear him and it doesn't seem I am the only one.
Instead of supporting his younger colleagues as a vocal coach or simply
enjoying his retirement, he is still extremely busy on the main opera
stages of the world (Met, ROH, La Scala, Vienna) in some of the most
coveted roles for basso voices such as Boris Godunov or Phillip II (in
which I heard him live a couple of years ago and he wasn't even close to
his former self). Or, if he doesn't want to leave the stage, there are more
appropriate roles for the voice he has now.

Is it always related to biological age? Not at all. A reverse case in
point: Mariella Devia. She is his same age (68-69) and almost consistently
superb. Unfortunately she's currently singing mostly at regional opera
houses in Italy but, thanks to Youtube videos, one can hear a voice that is
still in its prime and easily eclipsing many of her much younger colleagues
some of whom get their HD exposures more for their stardom and looks than
for the level of artistry deserving such exposure.

Best, Vesna

On Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 7:55 AM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hello everybody.
>
> This subject is a slippery slope and it has no objective answer.
>
> I am very glad that I saw Licia Albanese, Zinka Milanov, Paul
> Schoffler, Ramon Vinay and many others who were past their
> absolute best but were still able to convey the essence of that
> which had brought them celebrity. They were quite wonderful,
> in fact. Zinka's "Gioconda" was superb in 1961, and Licia's
> "Violetta" was the most emotionally effective I've ever seen,
> even as late as 1960. Yes, I needed patience to get through
> Act 1 but what followed was worth the wait.
>
> I have always believed that the box office will determine the shalf
> life of singers, and that as long as there are people who are willing
> to pay for "biographies" there will be a place for them. I imagine
> that there are many thousands of people who are happy that they
> had the opportunuty to see Luciano Pavarotti, even at the end.
> Their choice, and why not!
>
> Dorothy Kirsten really has no place in this conversation. She was
> an enormously competent singer whose abilities remained intact
> until that final curtain. The most remarkable thing about her was
> the jaw dropping consistency of her vocalism.
>
> Bob
>
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