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Subject: Re: Met Tosca in HD/Radio
From: Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 28 Jan 2018 11:21:10 -0800
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The visual aspect of a performance heavily colors our hearing perception. I’ve found often that if I close my eyes in a live performance, what I hear seems significantly different, not only in terms of the performance itself but also in sound quality and balance.

Hearing only the audio, I mentioned “squally and pushed” singing from Yoncheva. I heard a fine voice oversinging. People watching it might have seen and therefore heard a riveting dramatic performance in which the sounds correlated to what they saw.

I remember someone (it might have even been CLO, discussed in another thread) talking about seeing Callas’ “return to the Met” Tosca. He said that, because of the extraordinary demand for tickets, he had to stand and his view of the stage was sometimes blocked. I’m paraphrasing, since I haven’t actually re-read the comment in ca. 50 years, but his comment was to the effect that, when he saw her, he was so mesmerized by the performance that he would have stated that her singing was ample and secure. When he couldn’t see her, he was suddenly aware of severe unevenness and unsteadiness and even lack of volume.

It’s totally legitimate for people who only hear the audio of a performance to report on what they perceive. If someone who saw the performance comes away with a totally different perception, it doesn’t make the audio listener “wrong.”

Max Paley

Sent from my iPad

> On Jan 28, 2018, at 10:04, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Idia
> 
> Friends to the end and this ain't the end!
> 
> Let's take a step backward. Don said specifically that he only
> heard the audio part since he was in his car at the time.
> 
> I went back and re-read his post to see if he had, in any way,
> "dissed" the director or any aspect of the production. He had
> not mentioned anything other than the singing, so, it seems
> to me that your post and criticism conflated two issues, one
> of which played no part in his discussion.
> 
> Now, you may certainly think that opera is best served as a live
> experience, and it often is, but I will say, as I have many times -
> 
> Millions of Americans, and others, were, and are today, longtime
> opera fans, having never experienced opera except on records
> and/or on radio. They are often quite knowledgeable and they
> have every right to share their observations in the context of
> the limitations provided by audio alone. Recordings made many
> stars who would otherwise be hardly known, and the Met Guild
> made opera available to millions over the last eighty years,
> millions who would likely have never known the joy of music
> that has ennobled and enriched their lives, had it not been for
> the airwaves.
> 
> BTW, not to enable my friend, Mr. Charitan's, favorite punching
> bag, but it was often better just to hear Zinka, and leave the rest
> to the imagination. ;-) She wasn't alone!
> 
> Xox
> 
> Bob
> 
>> On Sun, Jan 28, 2018 at 12:15 Idia Legray <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> Ouch! Pretty rough words to a little ol' friend but I do get your meaning
>> and respect it highly and hope it does not, in any way, put a chink in our
>> special relationship.
>> Idia
>> 
>> 
> 
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