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Subject: Re: Greatest Wagnerian Sopranos (was Re: Birgit Nilsson Great Streaming Documentary)
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 10 Jan 2018 10:04:19 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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Martha Modl's Kundry in the first Knappertsbusch PARSIFAL is an example
of something so right, so unexpected, and so revealing, that it could never
be repeated, not even by herself.  When I heard her live, a few years
later, as
Brunnhilde, she was literally voiceless.

Among the sad omissions of the recording era, (yes, I have begun to think
of
the last half of the twentieth century that way), was Ingrid Bjoner's
Isolde. She
had been chosen to sing it in the 100th anniversary production given in
Munich,
and for several years was one of the world's favorite Irische Kind -
everywhere but
on records or, for that matter, New York;  Tanglewood being the nearest she
came.

Bjoner remains, also, my favorite Eva and Elsa and, in competition with
Niilsson,
my preferred Turandot,  which exists in excellent Met matinee sound. But,
to the
recording studio, it was a nonexistent career.

dtmk

On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 4:11 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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