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Subject: Re: Greatest Wagnerian Sopranos (was Re: Birgit Nilsson Great Streaming Documentary)
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 9 Jan 2018 22:40:10 +0000
Content-Type:text/plain
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Hi Donald

While I agree that Traubel is not to be dismissed, she is emphatically
not in the same league as Flagstad, Nilsson or Leider. One might
argue about Varnay, the 1953 Bayreuth Ring under Clemens Krauss
being a hallmark of the great Brunnhildes, but Modl, whom friends
have described as the visual incarnation of Wagner's greatest
heroine, (i dd not see her except in a comprimario role) was less
than vocal gold, to be kind.

I shall continue to believe that the Brinnhilde/Isolde Trinity were
Nilsson, Leider and Flagstad. The others mentioned were better
than just "good" for many different reasons, but they are not
at the top of my list, in any case.

Bob

On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 17:10 Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I am always surprised the way Helen Traubel is dismissed.  Yes, it was a
> strange career, yes, she herself could be very idiosyncratic.  Vocally, she
> was the equal of anyone, even with her short top.  For sheer sound, she was
> the only one who came close to Flagstad.
>
> Donald
>
> On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 2:11 PM, robert levine <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> > 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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