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Subject: Re: Greatest Wagnerian Sopranos (was Re: Birgit Nilsson Great Streaming Documentary)
From: Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 10 Jan 2018 15:28:15 +0000

text/plain (140 lines)

I have to cast my vote with Frida Leider--I think her recordings remain 

As far as recording omissions I would have to go with the Callas Isotta 
and Brunnhilde. I often wonder, if we had more of her Wagner, would we 
be discussing her place among the greatest Wagner sopranos of the 
century? We're lucky to have her Kundry on disk.

Of course her Wagner performance history was pretty limited--twelve 
Isottas and six Brunnhildes, if I'm counting right.


------ Original Message ------
From: "donald kane" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 1/10/2018 10:04:19 AM
Subject: Re: Greatest Wagnerian Sopranos (was Re: Birgit Nilsson Great 
Streaming Documentary)

>Martha Modl's Kundry in the first Knappertsbusch PARSIFAL is an example
>of something so right, so unexpected, and so revealing, that it could 
>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 
>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
>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 
>Bjoner remains, also, my favorite Eva and Elsa and, in competition with
>my preferred Turandot,  which exists in excellent Met matinee sound. 
>to the
>recording studio, it was a nonexistent career.
>On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 4:11 PM, robert levine <[log in to unmask]> 
>>Mödl at her best? Not MY favorite - too unappealing a sound  - I'd 
>>Nilsson, Flagstad and maybe Grob-Prandl.
>>On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 4:08 PM, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> 
>> > "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 
>> > 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 
>> > was a slouch on
>> > stage.  When Flagstad first appeared on the international scene, 
>> > Wagner lovers, while
>> > recognizing Flagstad's vocal splendor, regarded Leider as her 
>> > over all.  For those
>> > who don't know Leider's voice, check her out on youtube:
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > There is a fantastic live recording from Covent Garden of Leider and
>> > Melchior in
>> > Gotterdammerung Act II, conducted by Furtwangler, although at that 
>> > in her career
>> > Leider was starting to sing a bit flat at times in the upper 
>> >
>> > Traubel was great, too, but IMO not in the absolute top echelon with 
>> > 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 
>> > tone.
>> >
>> > There really hasn't been a great Wagnerian soprano (the 
>> > variety) since
>> > Nilsson hung up her breastplate and horned helmet.  Behrens, Voigt 
>> > Stemme,
>> > notwithstanding their various merits, have all been make-dos in one 
>> > another.  Rita
>> > Hunter was excellent - I heard her as Brunnhilde in the 70s - but 
>> > grotesque obesity,
>> > outsized even by operatic standards, was a real problem on stage.  
>> > made a huge
>> > sound and was compelling dramatically, but I was always bothered by 
>> > wide vibrato,
>> > which at times veered into a genuine wobble.
>> >
>> > MDW
>> >
>> >

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