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Subject: Re: Slimming Costumes (was Re: Semaramide)
From: Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 5 Feb 2018 19:01:14 -0500
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Max,

Loved the Carol Vaness line - she of course had no need to sport "the
rodent ."  Was there ever a more glamorous Vitellia?

The difference between Norman and Meade is that because of / despite her
girth Norman possessed an innate sense of dignity - even majesty - that
made her Didon  both mythic and human.  I will never forget her falling to
the floor in the final scene of Troyens beating the stage with her fists
looking and sounding like some totemic demigoddess.  One of the greatest
performances in my experience.  Her Ariadne and Emilia Marty shared these
qualities as well as her Elisabeth in Tannhauser, so moving as she passed
through the pilgrims looking for her intended.

I've experienced Meade several times live in the theatre as well as in
concert and to my ears  the vibrato or wobble now requires a "Through
Traffic" warning sign. Dramatically, she was a complete cypher as Leonora
in Trovatore, and as Elvira in Ernani, her only distinguishing feature
being that omnipresent vibrato.  On stage, she looks and acts like Tracy
Turnblad (the plus sized heroine of "Hairspray") in Fancy Dress - a far,
far cry from what Norman, and even Caballe could bring to a role
irrespective of their bulk.

As to Semiramide being a static role, I think it depends on the casting.
My standard is a performance in Pesaro ('95) with an "on fire" Cecilia
Gasdia lithe and sinuous in Bel Raggio and Lady Macbeth Lethal in the
magnificent Act 2 duet with Assur.  There is more to this role (and opera)
than vocalize.

Steve


On Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 5:42 PM, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> The kind of costume Caballe (and Jessye Norman) usually wore, was a dark
> under-gown with
> a slimmer lighter-colored panel down the front.  This minimized the girth
> by darkening it, and
> the eye was drawn to the more slender lighter panel.  I think it was Carol
> Vaness who
> referred to this kind of thing as a "skunk costume."
>
> Another kind of slimming costume is a dark undergarment with a lighter
> sleeveless over-
> costume.  As I recall, Jessye Norman wore this kind of costume in
> "Troyens" in '83-'84.
>
> Semiramide is a static role with little movement, so I don't see that
> Meade's size will be a
> problem - if she sings it well.  I think Meade is a fine singer.  I can
> understand how her
> vibrato would not be to all tastes, but it is hardly a wobble.  I also
> think that mics exaggerate
> her vibrato to a degree I don't hear in person.  In any event, I am
> looking forward to the
> Semiramide.
>
> MDW
>
>
>
>

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