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Subject: Re: Vinay
From: David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 21 Jan 2018 22:46:41 +0000
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David and Angelo,

Thank you very much for your history of Vinay's career.  I did not realize that he made a serious reversion to baritone before ending as a buffo!  (I liked the story about poor Uhde not being able to get through Telramund.  I have never understood how any singer does.)  The question of baritones who turn tenor has always interested me.  Certainly Vinay and Melchior make sense when you listen to them.  But Bergonzi?? I am told there are very early records of him as Figaro, but how anyone could take that sound for a baritone is beyond me.  And James King, whom I got to know a little at IU, I also found puzzling.  He sang baritone parts well into his 30's -- he thought Alfio was the most ridiculous one -- but his speaking voice was tenor-y and he never had especially strong low notes.  He used to talk a lot about how Martial Singher worked him into a tenor, but never really explained why people thought he was a baritone for so long.  He did always admit that although he finally became able to sing in a quite high tessitura, he couldn't do it for long.  He said Böhm tried to talk him out of it, but he agreed to sing excerpts from 'Tristan' with Bernstein at Tanglewood, and promptly lost his voice after the first orchestral rehearsal.


This reminds me of a question one of you may have an opinion about.  I was given for Christmas a set the Met is putting out of its first season in the new house.  I remember as a teenager how excited I was at the 'Frau', but listening to it again, as opulent as the cast is (and James definitely had the C!), Böhm's conducting strikes me as terrible -- which is a pretty grave heresy to entertain about an intimate friend of Strauss.  Did he become so exasperated with the orchestra that he gave up?  Everything is just loud and fast, as if he couldn't wait to get it over with.  He even trivializes that transcendent violin motif at the very end. (As an example of how hard it was to get James to say anything profound about his career, the only thing he ever told me about that iconic Met 'Frau' was how irritated he was at Bing for refusing to pay him more than $500 a performance.)


Thanks again.


Best,

David

________________________________
From: ANGELO MAMMANO <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, January 20, 2018 9:47:58 PM
To: David Kubiak; David Shengold
Cc: Discussion of Opera and Related Issues
Subject: Re: Vinay


Vinay sang Dr. Schoen with Opera Company of Boston in January of 1964.

Joan Carroll was Lulu and Thebom was Geschwitz.  It was the Eastern U. S.

premiere after Santa Fe.  He also returned to the company in  February of 1967

as Iago with Heater, Tebaldi and Theyard. His return-to-baritone days went on

for quite a while and I was happy to see him after not being able to in his tenor

period.  He is listed in the program as co-director with Caldwell.  His Dr. Schoen

was particularly impressive.  After the performance outside the theater I heard

Sills say that Lulu would not appeal to audiences in contrast to Wozzeck.

BTW while attending an Ernani dress several years ago at the Met I was talking

with my companion about Boston and a woman who overheard us said that her

husband had sung there and his name was William Dembaugh.  I recognized the

name and told her that I had seen him at that '67 Otello as Roderigo.  He thanked

me profusely for remembering him and said that I made his day.  There's nothing

that makes singers happier than when someone remembers their performances.


Angelo from Boston









On January 20, 2018 at 6:45 PM David Shengold <[log in to unmask]> wrote:



Vinay had started as a baritone and when he re-descended in category he sang some major gigs through 1969 including Iago, Scarpia and Telramund-- that even at Bayreuth ( witness the Sawallisch recording of 1962).

In San Francisco  Opera's 1965-66 he sang not only Bartolo but Scarpia  ( with Collier and Kirsten) and Dr. Schoen ( with Lear and Richard Lewis)!

I imagine Bing-- who, one gathers from Kolodin's book, could not wait to get rid of Vinay at the end of his tenor phase, gave him Bartolo as a return vehicle to invite failure. Surely he would have done better in a serious, non-bel canto part. Bing also had and deployed MacNeil and Colzani , but surely Vinay (whom my parents recall as one of the greatest opera actors they'd ever seen) would have been am improvement in 1964-64 as Iago over Merrill-- for all his vocal excellence quite risible in the part, at least as seen in the televised excerpts with McCracken. In 1964's LOHENGRIN Bing had the sturdy and doubtless convincing Cassel as Telramund finish at least one show for the vocally fatigued Uhde. Vinay could have helped out there too.

Of course Bing "only did masterpieces" ( like MARTHA, THE GYPSY BARON and THE LAST SAVAGE!!), so that no Vinay Dr. Schoen would have been possible. Anyone see that assumption SF or LA?

What might an early 60s Old Met LULU have been like?

To cast just from the actual roster 1963-65

Lulu: Anneliese Rothenberger
Geschwitz: Blanche Thebom/Kerstin Meyer
Dr. Schoen: Ramon Vinay
Alwa: John Alexander
Schigolch: Paul Schoeffler/Marko Rothmueller
Athlete/Rodrigo etc: John Reardon/Sherrill Milnes [perfect, no?]
Schoolboy etc: Mildred Miller/Helen Vanni

Karl Boehm, conductor



-David Shengold

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