As to the bifurcated eyebrows: Start at 4:54
To borrow a legal phrase - "Res ipsa loquitur"
On Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 6:38 AM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Submitted for Stefan Zucker
> > Charitan claims Rosina Wolf had double eyebrows. I never saw any sign of
> > that.
> > He claims Opera Fanatic is taken up with discussions of chest voice. Some
> > singers use chest voice in the service of expressive singing, a central
> > topic of the film. The film is 93 minutes. The chest-voice discussion
> > under five. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bppV0apsDSw
> > The film clips are excepted from Opera Fanatic: Stefan and the Divas,
> > Iris Adami Corradetti, Barbieri, Cerquetti, Cigna, Frazzoni, Gavazzi,
> > Gencer, Olivero, Pobbe, Simionato; Zucker; Schmidt-Garre, dir. (1998)
> > In English and in Italian with English subtitles. Color/B&W.
> > The material below is copied from the Bel Canto Society site.
> > Divas and Chest Voice
> > by Stefan Zucker
> > Why should opera lovers care about whether or not someone sings with
> > voice? Because the affective consequences are very great. My viscera
> > satisfied if chest isn’t used in certain passages, the phrase “un gel mi
> > prende” (Norma), for example. Giuditta Pasta, who created Norma and
> > Bellini’s favorite soprano, was described by Stendhal as having a voice
> > “not all molded from the same metallo, as they would say in Italy (i.e.,
> > possesses more than one timbre); and this fundamental variety of tone
> > produced by a single voice affords one of the richest veins of
> > musical expression which the artistry of a great cantatrice is able to
> > exploit….Madame Pasta’s incredible mastery of technique is revealed in
> > amazing facility with which she alternates head-notes with chest-notes.”
> > Ludwig Rellstab (1799-1860) was a critic, essayist and poet, some of
> > verses were set by Schubert. A great Pasta admirer, he described the
> > of her chest tones in a performance of Norma in 1841: “Hoarse, savage
> > sounds came out from her chest, scorn and bitterness seemed to shake the
> > heart of the listener harshly.”
> > Chest voice is a means of communicating fear, rage, contempt, torment and
> > suffering of the soul. Can you conceive of Callas without chest voice?
> > I. Chest Voice: Some History
> > Since WWI women for the most part have been afraid of chest resonance,
> > fearing it would ruin their voices. But in the 19th century women used it
> > as a matter of course, a practice they inherited from the castratos. Many
> > women on early recordings sing all notes from F at the bottom of the
> > treble staff on down in chest voice. But they do not sing higher than
> > in chest voice. Voice teacher Giovanni Battista Lamperti dissuaded his
> > pupil Marcella Sembrich from undertaking Aïda on the grounds that she
> > lacked the requisite chest resonance. (Records attest to Sembrich’s
> > used chest resonance below G-flat, so presumably Lamperti must have felt
> > her chest voice was too light for the part.) He did maintain it was
> > unhealthy for the voice for women to carry chest resonance higher than F.
> > Nineteenth-century Italian opera composers seemingly took for granted
> > women would employ chest voice. Verdi, in a letter to Ricordi,
> > demanded that a singer being considered for Amneris, Antonietta Fricci,
> > have “the G and A-flat in chest voice for her fourth-act melody. If she
> > doesn’t, that would be more fatal than whether or not the high B-natural
> > were powerful or weak.” Indeed, two Francesco Lamperti pupils, Teresa
> > and Maria Waldmann, who respectively sang Aïda and Amneris at Aïda’s La
> > Scala premiere, reputedly used ample amounts of chest. Consider
> > Mascagni’s preference for Lina Bruna Rasa’s chest-voice-freighted
> > The majority of roles cannot be communicated adequately without chest
> > at one point or another. Women often find that unless they abstain from
> > chest resonance, the music at certain moments causes them to use it.
> > A challenge for women with modern vocal techniques is how to fulfill the
> > chest requirement without hurting themselves.
> > In the last 175 years, while women have used chest voice less and less,
> > men have used it more and more. (Of course in popular music women have
> > chest extensively for decades.) For discussions of men, chest voice and
> > head voice, see the chapters “Last of a Breed: Giovanni Battista Rubini
> > Ruled as the Paragon of Virtuoso Tenors, King of the High Fs,” “Seismic
> > Shocker: Gilbert-Louis Duprez’s History-Making High C,” in Franco
> > and a Revolution in Singing: Fifty-Four Tenors Spanning 200 Years, vol.
> > II. Chest Voice: The Divas’ Dispute
> > Gavazzi and Gencer claim that not only did they themselves employ chest
> > resonance but that the other divas—in particular, Olivero, Cigna,
> > Adami Corradetti, Simionato and Barbieri—did as well. These latter deny
> > having resonated in their chests. I asked Gavazzi to explain this. She
> > claimed they employed chest unknowingly.
> > This kind of explanation is common among singers. Corelli and Hines
> > conceive of any tenor singing above the staff without routinely
> > covering his tone. Yet Alfredo Kraus and I claim we do exactly that.
> > Speaking on the radio program “Opera Fanatic,” Corelli and Hines insisted
> > we cover automatically, without being aware of it—a view we reject.
> > Also speaking on “Opera Fanatic,” Kraus asserted that Chris Merritt sings
> > his high notes in falsetto—a view he rejects.
> > Usually I favor giving the singer the benefit of the doubt: if he says
> > he’s not covering, then he’s not.
> > The dispute over chest voice may be a special case, however. The
> > anti-chest divas were raised in the belief that chest resonance is
> > unhealthy vocally. They also were told it fractures continuity of musical
> > line. Still, certain powerful emotions and coloristic demands sometimes
> > flushed chest out of them. But they hate to admit it. Each diva views her
> > vocal technique as having the sanctity of religion. Each is mortified if
> > the world knows she sinned. Olivero maintained that Gavazzi had stolen
> > opportunity to broadcast and record Adriana Lecouvreur from her and was
> > offended that in the film Gavazzi said that in performance she, Olivero,
> > used chest voice. Barbieri insisted she wouldn’t attend the Bavarian
> > Opera’s world-premiere showing of Opera Fanatic if Gencer were there, on
> > the grounds that Gencer had insulted her by saying in the film that she,
> > Barbieri, used it. Barbieri declared, “She doesn’t know what she’s
> > listening to.”
> > III. Musical Line vs. Dramatic Expression
> > Two Kinds of Diva
> > Simionato: My vocal color always was the same. I couldn’t change it like
> > painter who changes the color in his painting with his brush. The color
> > is what it is.
> > Frazzoni: I try to adapt my sound to the situation. When I performed
> > Butterfly I did only that part that year because I had to make my voice
> > smaller and childlike for the first act. But in the second act I became a
> > spinto and threw out all the voice I had.
> > The divas divide into two groups. The first group strove not to vary tone
> > color for dramatic expression but to maintain consistency of tone color
> > for the sake of musical line. Half the divas in the film—Barbieri,
> > Cerquetti, Cigna, Pobbe and Simionato—belong to this group (as do
> > all singers today). From their point of view a change in tone color
> > compromised musical line as much as a break in legato. That they didn’t
> > vary tone color didn’t prevent them from being emotionally intense. They
> > relied on good diction and musicianship to serve librettists and
> > For the second group, varying tone color for dramatic expression was
> > paramount. Adami Corradetti (as a performer but not as a teacher),
> > Frazzoni, Gavazzi, Gencer and Olivero are in this group. To my ears,
> > performers succeeded in changing tone color without damaging the musical
> > line and thereby heightened emotional impact. The singers in the first
> > group acted with their faces and bodies. The singers in the second group
> > also acted with their voices.
> > One can find counterexamples. Frazzoni and Gencer didn’t always come
> > interpretively. Cerquetti sometimes inflected her tone, most notably on
> > a live recording of Ballo. Cigna on some occasions colored hers as well.
> > Some of Today’s Singers Have Their Say
> > Donald George: Beautifully written and discussed! Bravo!!
> > Jon Fredric West When I was in school in the 60s good girls didn’t use
> > chest register. That Horne did caused consternation. Voice teachers
> > including my own said Price would ruin her voice on account of it. Yet
> > sounded fine when she sang her final Carnegie Hall recital at age 64. She
> > still was able to vary chest with the lighter sound with which she had
> > graduated Juilliard. [I’m astonished that 100 percent of the commentators
> > below favor using chest. In 1996, when Opera Fanatic was filmed, this
> > not have been so.—SZ]
> > JFW: I believe in making a register change on E, so that from E down
> > can be used in accordance with the needs of the character. I don’t think
> > it vocally healthy to use it higher, but if the singer is competing
> > a loud orchestra it can be brought higher on occasion. I teach my
> > students accordingly. Jaime Barton in “O don fatale” overindulges in
> > voice to the point that her chest register sounds like a different voice.
> > Still, I find her ability jaw dropping.
> > Alexandra Deshorties I think as usual people are disposed to see the
> > in black or white and from their own set of shoes. I tend to agree with
> > Gencer. My philosophy is that each body being different, even based on
> > universal technique [only one singing technique?—SZ], there will be some
> > variations from singer to singer, and it is foolish to say that one will
> > never use it, just as it is foolish to say that one should always use it.
> > It seems to me that a lot of this is an interpretive choice. Where most
> > sopranos are constrained to chest, I myself work very hard at maintaining
> > and experimenting with a mix, so as to have a choice to use my chest
> > or not, should I feel it is inappropriate or ineffective.
> > I think chest voice, color and other interpretive devices of the human
> > voice are at the service of expression, text and the general needs of the
> > craft. It is overall an exploration and a delicate balance to strike. In
> > the end it is a question of honesty and centering of a dialectic and
> > ever-delicate balance between form and substance. I have to say,
> > honestly and not as a device, I strongly believe in the cathartic
> > importance of a heightened emotional impact.
> > Michael Chioldi There are absolutely healthy ways to sing with chest
> > voice. In fact you need this resonance to help match the qualities of
> > sound throughout the vocal range. Every single diva who sang in this
> > interview used voce di petto [chest voice], in my opinion. And I
> > agree with the later divas in the interview.
> > It seems to me that the problem lies with the definition of the phrase
> > itself. As long as the voice is supported with the breath and the mask
> > resonance stays present, there should be no problem. Which is in fact
> > the divas all seemed to agree on.
> > Maria Callas absolutely used chest voice and taught it in her famous
> > master class at Juilliard.
> > The lack of chest resonance in a voice can leave the bottom without
> > vibrancy and excitement. I believe there is a balance of how and when to
> > use it, but to deny it altogether seems counterintuitive.
> > Franco Farina This seems to me to be a confusion of terminology. Voce di
> > petto in a proper usage meant chest register. The fact is
> > their demonstrations were excellent examples of the proper use of chest
> > register. Placement is a separate vocal concept from registration. If you
> > attempted to focus or place the voice in the chest that would be wrong
> > would produce an ingollata [throaty] sound.
> > Linda Roark-Strummer I think, after listening to the video, that what we
> > all are dealing with is semantics, as Mr. Farina says. The chest voice
> > can be a useful tool for training purposes and as a COLOR in some roles.
> > I trained it and I used it. Certainly, in roles like Abigaille, and the
> > Lady and Herodias, I employed it for effect—a color. BUT I always kept it
> > in a position that was in line with the rest of my voice and kept the
> > over it. I didn’t push it to the belting stage. THAT is something else
> > it is dangerous. Barbieri claimed she didn’t use it. When Peter
> > and I listen to her, yes, she did. I don’t know why she didn’t admit it.
> > The singers from the Golden Age trained it and used it. There is nothing
> > wrong with it unless it is not trained properly and used intelligently. I
> > have found that chest voice can help with problems in register changes
> > women), when used properly and under the guidance of a teacher who
> > understands it. I teach my students how to use it properly.
> > Kevin Short Bravo to you for a wonderful and very interesting interview.
> > My views are that whether they realized it or not Simionato and
> > Barbieri both accessed their chest voice. They both kept their production
> > elevated and forward with regard to their soft palate and their masks.
> > also sing with wonderful space and as some would say “sing in the tube.”
> > this way the chest is engaged without directly singing in the chest.
> > is a sort of cavern created.
> > Thank you for all of the work you do, Stefan!! I have been a fan of yours
> > for many years! Cheers
> > Rosa D’Imperio I love this film—great job! What I get from it is that
> > are referring to using a supported chest blend in the body, always
> > mixing head voice on the breath, “sul fiato,” and NOT raw “belted” chest.
> > This is the healthy chest. They all sang a well-developed integrated
> > register-balanced healthy chest mix.
> > Drew Minter Was astonished that Barbieri and Simionato could sing so
> > beautifully in chest voice (still), and yet they called it head voice.
> > they are talking about the primary resonators (still in the head just as
> > they said) and not the vocal mechanism (which is indeed what you or I or
> > Gencer in her amusing fashion call chest mode). I see what they mean.
> > But I can’t understand why they are so afraid of the term!!!!
> > Gilbert Den Broeder Not the shortest story. But very interesting and
> > worthwhile to read.
> > Ricardo Tamura Dear Stefan, it is an honor to answer a question from you
> > whom I consider to be a very knowledgeable person in vocal matters!
> > In my modest opinion, before one discusses whether chest voice should be
> > used or not, it is essential to define what “chest voice” actually is!
> > What many people call “chest voice” is actually a sound that is
> > artificially produced by lowering the larynx.
> > The singers in the movie who said that chest voice should not be used
> > apparently understood chest voice in this way.
> > My opinion is that the singing voice should be as natural as possible,
> > therefore I don’t agree with this way of singing. I do believe that it
> > will damage the voice with time.
> > The voice should be produced “sul fiato [on the breath],” as Barbieri
> > in the movie. When this happens the larynx remains in its natural,
> > “neutral” position, and singing happens “in the whole body,” which some
> > people call “chest voice.”
> > In my view, that is the understanding of the other singers, who said they
> > “approve” of chest voice.
> > I agree with all the opinions presented, and I don’t find that they
> > contradict each other. I also totally agree with your comments.
> > Especially nowadays, there is a tendency to replace the “singing sul
> > fiato” with the so-called “singing in the mask.” Again (in my modest
> > opinion), “singing in the mask” is being misunderstood as meaning
> > the air into the mask.” This also causes an artificial sound, because now
> > the larynx tends to be in a raised position.
> > Voices that are produced in this way do lack the feeling that grasps our
> > viscera, as you said. And this also probably damages the voice in the
> > run.
> > But the difference is not about singing in the chest or the head (or the
> > mask) but about keeping the larynx in a neutral (natural) position or
> > Thank you very much for the opportunity to discuss this subject with you!
> > Raúl Melo If I may be so bold, my take on this question is a lack of
> > precise terminology. Understanding singing is a mental game more than
> > a physical one. In my case I have with age developed a kind of “chest
> > voice.” Rather than a change in support (all your great divas said “Sul
> > fiato; SEMPRE” [on the breath always]), it’s a change in feeling. I
> > generally take a breath before I find the bottom of my voice. These
> > women just SANG. They accessed the bottom and top of their voices
> > healthily. [Pobbe combined a mechanistic technique—a technique based on
> > manipulating anatomy, the larynx, for example—with a sensation-governed
> > one. The others placed in the mask and used their diaphragms as if they
> > were bellows.—SZ]
> > It’s the same question as passaggio [the notes where chest voice meets
> > head voice] and cover for tenors; always a big question. In my experience
> > to cover is not to make the voice darker or covered, it’s simply a vowel
> > modification. That’s why Maestro Kraus could honestly say, “I don’t
> > cover”; completely true in my experience. M. Kraus simply went to a
> > brighter E at the top, other tenors go to an AW. I go somewhere in
> > to a French ã as in “enfant.” Is it covered? No, it is modified. The same
> > is true with passaggio. Rather than a narrow corridor I imagine a great
> > river making a bend; never narrowed. This is why singing great music is
> > more a mental game than a physical one. Both are necessary (Sul fiato;
> > SEMPRE), but language doesn’t capture the essence of what you are doing.
> > So watching those great divas sing those snippets (Oh my god how lovely,
> > healthy, beautiful . . .) they were being as honest as Kraus was.
> > They didn’t feel it in the chest; they just sang on the breath. At the
> > of their voices they didn’t feel it getting white, it just went into the
> > mask. I had a good teacher who said to me: “Theory is what the rest of us
> > do to figure out what geniuses are doing.” It’s we lesser mortals who try
> > to understand. It’s our language that is not sufficient, not our love,
> > our understanding.
> > Roger Ohlsen I just loved your article on chest voice. I find it
> > interesting that a lot of people equate chest voice with belting, but
> > different, so that’s the problem. It’s amazing and frightening that some
> > the greatest singers didn’t know what they were doing, but they could
> > what they were doing, and they did it on feeling, not logic, because they
> > could be singing in chest voice without realizing it. Amazing! It’s like
> > some modern sopranos who believe they have a break around top F below
> > C, like tenors, and of course they don’t. I don’t think chest voice ever
> > hurt anybody if they did it properly.
> > Anyway I thought it was a great article.
> > Ewa Płonka I think that divas love chest voice and would gladly use it;
> > however, it is often being unadvised by coaches, conductors and teachers.
> > So that’s that. I wonder if the public would care that much about the
> > matter. I know I love to use it, that’s for sure.
> > Ida Faiella I disagree with what I think is an outdated theory about
> > voice. I think it is a great asset to the voice and adds a great deal to
> > range and dramatic ability.
> > The only one who speaks intelligently about it is Gencer; she knows what
> > she is doing. So many singers are just on autopilot!
> > In my CD Poetry Into Song I use a good deal of blatant chest as a
> > vehicle. While I agree with the thinking that it is not always beautiful,
> > it is powerful dramatically.
> > I do continue singing, which amazes my singer friends. Did the Chausson
> > piece “Chansons Perpetuelle” in March and a more pop concert last
> > weekend of songs with lyrics by my old friend Sheldon Harnick and Dorothy
> > Fields whose son played piano for me.
> > Lloyd W. Hanson The range of chest voice is simply a relaxation of the
> > vocal folds such that they are able, in their entirety, to oscillate all
> > the composite vocal folds, both their thyro-arytenoid muscle and their
> > vocalis muscle. In short both of the muscle fibers of the vocal folds are
> > in oscillation. This induces a substantial mass that is capable of
> > producing a rich and exciting phonation.
> > The singer is capable of tightening the vocal folds somewhat in this
> > process but that will produce a guttural or extremely rough phonation
> > is only used for dramatically forceful utterances.
> > In addition, the development of a relaxed and rich chest voice is a key
> > element in the development of the singer’s extremely accessible high
> > voice. Arpeggios from a yodel down into chest voice and then upward in a
> > double-octave arpeggio into the high voice are an excellent vocalize to
> > develop the high voice.
> > Peter Terrell The problem is terminology. The expression “chest voice”
> > used because in the lowest register you get a sensation of
> > something happening lower down—in the chest, which some label as
> > (or an impression of resonance down there). “Chest voice” should not mean
> > the forced pulling down of the normal voice, as one of the singers
> > demonstrated, insisting this was the “chest voice.” All the singers were
> > able to demonstrate correct “chest voice” notes. I would suggest the low
> > sensation is an effect of singing with efficient production in that
> > not a cause.
> > Robert James Miller Really fascinating!
> > Zoya Zharzhevsky It’s funny. They say that there is not such a thing as
> > chest voice, and then they start to sing with what I’d describe as a
> > perfect chest voice!
> > Elliot Matheny Bravo! Very thorough article, sir!
> > Michael Hardy “This from THEM!” Leyla nailed it with that immortal line!
> > [Proprio loro.]
> > It’s not considered good taste, especially with Anglo-Saxon critics etc.,
> > and now the Latins have followed them…can you imagine Burzio getting a
> > gig these days?
> > Tomas Magieras Auškalnis Is there any “voce di petto?” A very amusing
> > argument. All of them could be Hollywood actresses of high calibre
> > (no irony meant here). And Leyla Gencer with her sober charm, humour and
> > assertiveness. Love her.
> > Jonathan Linton Good fun!
> > Susie Weinstock I really loved this video, Stefan. thx for ur posted
> > commentary too.
> > David Uffer Does she, doesn’t she? Only the lightest lyrics and
> > coloraturas disdain it. All others, whether they admit it or not, use it,
> > some to galvanizing effect.
> > Patrick C. Byrne Astounding. I tried the yodel to chest technique. What
> > easy method.
> > You never cease to amaze me, Stefan. The Met needs you to hire singers
> > ditch whoever is in charge. There is so little excitement anymore.
> > Peter van der Waal Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your DVD of
> > you visiting the great singers and talking about the use of chest!
> > I am 34 years old and have always been very interested in historical
> > singers. In musicology I specialized in a Dutch singing teacher
> > called Cornelie van Zanten who studied with the elder Lamperti
> > and Stockhausen and who had many interesting pupils, such as Julia Culp
> > and Jacques Urlus.
> > Patrick Mack At first I thought this read ‘Divas and Chest Hair’. Now
> > that’s interesting.
> > Filippo Moratti Stefan, I cannot but agree with what you said about chest
> > voice and resonance. I saw Opera Fanatic a few weeks ago, since I’m
> > approaching the study of singing, singing technique and interpretation, I
> > thought I might want to know something more on how and why singing has
> > changed so much over the years.
> > I find your work really interesting, especially because, in my opinion,
> > enlightens not only the preparation of roles but also the actual
> > singing technique these divas had.
> > Opera Fanatic is a piece of history, since you had the chance of
> > interviewing them in their latest years, as a witness to their “singing
> > from the soul.”
> > Do you think interpretation and the correct use of voce infantile and
> > chest voice are something that can be taught and used even today? [Yes.]
> > Thank you again for your work.
> > Peter Bonelli Nicely done, Stefan Zucker. Bravo!
> > Laura Lauretta E’ MOLTO IMPORTANTE PER ESEGUIRE UN BEL CANTO, LA TECNICA
> > DELLA RESPIRAZIONE! BASATA SUL DIAFRAMMA !!!! For bel canto a breathing
> > technique based on the diaphragm is very important! [I take this
> > to mean that one should press in at the diaphragm. There is widespread
> > disagreement about singing technique, and many would disagree with Laura
> > Lauretta.—SZ]
> > Stimme Passion Sehr sehenswert. Very worthwhile to see—I love the Divas!
> > Basia Jaworski heb je de docu ooit gezien, Peter? Is echt fantastic! Have
> > you ever seen the documentary, Peter? It’s really fantastic!
> > Peter van der Waal Zeker Basia!! Love it!!!
> > Stefan, just wanted to tell you I admire your work.
> > Basia Jaworski het is eigenlijk een must. Ik heb hem weet ik niet hoe
> > bekeken. Heerlijk! It’s actually a must. I got it. I don’t know how
> > often I’ve viewed it. Delicious!
> > Gerrit Jan Fonk Geweldig Wat een ladies! What ladies!
> > Marcela Castano It’s fantastic!
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