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Subject: Re: Renata Tebaldi (was Seconda Donna - Angela Meade)
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:54:36 -0700
Content-Type:text/plain
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Its an interesting observation that you make about Tebaldi.  Many, many
years ago I remember reading an interview with Leonie Rysanek where talking
about singers she admired, she said that Renata Tebaldi and Giulietta
Simionato were the most Germanic of any of the great Italian singers in
their production of tone and style.  She felt that artistically, vocally
and technically, both of them seemed the less traditionally Italian of any
of their contemporaries.  One of the things she mentioned was Bohm having
told her that Tebaldi was the greatest Elisabeth in Tannhauser that he had
ever worked with.

And yes, even at the very end, the voice remained solid and totally free of
any wobble.  Even the top tones, while they were recalcitrant, were rock
steady.  And the basic beauty of the sound remained until the very end, and
I heard her at the very end, both her last performance as Desdemona in 1973
and the last two concerts at Carnegie, the one she stopped because she was
indisposed (even there the voice was steady) and the one later that she
sang in full.  I still feel that she was the greatest Italian soprano of
the second half of the twentieth century and hasn't been replaced.  There
is no one on the Italian scene today who comes even close.  I will go
further and say, although I admired and liked both Daniela Dessi and
Barbara Frittoli, the last truly great Italian soprano was Mirella Freni
and very close behind her Maria Chiara.  As Stella was to Tebaldi, Chiara
was to Freni.

Donald

On Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 3:00 PM, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Its an interesting observation that you make about Tebaldi.  Many, many
> years ago I remember reading an interview with Leonie Rysanek where talking
> about singers she admired, she said that Renata Tebaldi and Giulietta
> Simionato were the most Germanic of any of the great Italian singers in
> their production of tone and style.  She felt that artistically, vocally
> and technically, both of them seemed the less traditionally Italian of any
> of their contemporaries.  One of the things she mentioned was Bohm having
> told her that Tebaldi was the greatest Elisabeth in Tannhauser that he had
> ever worked with.
>
> And yes, even at the very end, the voice remained solid and totally free
> of any wobble.  Even the top tones, while they were recalcitrant, were rock
> steady.  And the basic beauty of the wound remained until the very end, and
> I heard her at the very end, both her last performance as Desdemona in 1973
> and the last two concerts at Carnegie, the one she stopped because she was
> indisposed (even there the voice was steady) and the one later that she
> sang in full.  I still feel that she was the greatest Italian soprano of
> the second half of the twentieth century and hasn't been replaced.  There
> is no one on the Italian scene today who comes even close.  I will go
> further and say, although I admired and liked both Daniela Dessi and
> Barbara Frittoli, the last truly great Italian soprano was Mirella Freni
> and very close behind her Maria Chiara.  As Stella was to Tebaldi, Chiara
> was to Freni.
>
> Donald
>
> On Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 1:35 PM, David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> I have often made this point about Tebaldi never wobbling when the subject
>> of her vocal decline comes up.  One could take the point even further.  It
>> is ironic that she should have come to be the iconic Italian soprano of
>> her
>> time, when her voice really did not work in the classic Italian soprano
>> way,
>> which was marked by a fast pulsating vibrato.  While the most voluptuous
>> of
>> all, her sound was also the narrowest in vibrato, which is why in her
>> prime
>> her top notes remind me very much of Flagstad.  I once fancifully
>> entertained the idea that this may of had something to do with the
>> Germanic
>> roots of her paternal family seen in her surname and the given names of
>> many
>> of her relatives, names like Clotilde.  Whatever the  reason, even in the
>> last recitals when her workable range was compressed to about an octave,
>> there was never the hint of a wobble.
>>
>> David Kubiak
>>
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