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Subject: Re: Greatest Wagnerian Sopranos (was Re: Birgit Nilsson Great Streaming Documentary)
From: robert levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:robert levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 9 Jan 2018 16:11:43 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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Mödl at her best? Not MY favorite - too unappealing a sound  - I'd choose
Nilsson, Flagstad and maybe Grob-Prandl.
B

On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 4:08 PM, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> "For me, [Nilsson] and Flagstad rule as the two Wagnerian sopranos of the
> Twentieth
> Century."
>
> Well, I would make it a quartet:  Flagstad, Nilsson, Leider, and Varnay,
> with Flagstad and
> Nilsson taking the vocal honors, and Leider and Varnay the dramatic.
> Although Varnay and
> Leider were tremendous vocally, as well, and neither Flagstad nor Nilsson
> was a slouch on
> stage.  When Flagstad first appeared on the international scene, many
> Wagner lovers, while
> recognizing Flagstad's vocal splendor, regarded Leider as her superior
> over all.  For those
> who don't know Leider's voice, check her out on youtube:
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvKrlRnh2kA
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEoeqoORFS4
>
> There is a fantastic live recording from Covent Garden of Leider and
> Melchior in
> Gotterdammerung Act II, conducted by Furtwangler, although at that point
> in her career
> Leider was starting to sing a bit flat at times in the upper register.
>
> Traubel was great, too, but IMO not in the absolute top echelon with the
> other ladies.  Modl
> was a dramatic force of nature on stage, which one can hear even on
> recordings, but vocally
> compromised as a pushed-up mezzo with a problematic top and rather thick
> tone.
>
> There really hasn't been a great Wagnerian soprano (the hochdramatische
> variety) since
> Nilsson hung up her breastplate and horned helmet.  Behrens, Voigt and
> Stemme,
> notwithstanding their various merits, have all been make-dos in one way or
> another.  Rita
> Hunter was excellent - I heard her as Brunnhilde in the 70s - but her
> grotesque obesity,
> outsized even by operatic standards, was a real problem on stage.  Jones
> made a huge
> sound and was compelling dramatically, but I was always bothered by her
> wide vibrato,
> which at times veered into a genuine wobble.
>
> MDW
>
>
>
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