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Subject: Re: Traviata/Aida was(Tunings)
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:57:25 -0600
Content-Type:text/plain
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Bob:
    As you usually do, you make perfect sense and I most emphatically agree with you.  Violetta doesn't need that high E flat.  While I consider Maria Callas to be the definitive Violetta (and she always took that E flat whether she had it or not!), her performance in total didn't need it.  Moffo, Sutherland, of course, always took it.  Personally, I don't think that note is all that important.  Tebaldi didn't have the note, totally lacked a florid ability, but aside from a couple of "clumsy" cadenzas at the end of the first act, sang a Violetta with endless streams of vocal beauty, as did de los Angeles and Montserrat Caballe.  Albanese made a very powerful statement in this opera, possibly the closest to Callas.
   The climatic top C in Aida (O Patria Mia) is a different matter altogether.  It MUST be sung because the music leaves no trapped door for escape.  And so it is clearly written.  With the exception of Leontyne Price and Montserrat Caballe (in the late 1960s and early 1970's), I'm sure that most sopranos can't wait until that minefield of a note is behind them (whether they got it right or not).  It's a terribly exposed note and the approach to it is indeed dangerous.

> On February 19, 2018 at 3:10 PM Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 
> The "written", "unwritten" distinction is important, and has
> allowed many of the greatest Violettas in the opera's history
> to sing the role without feeling that they have compromised
> the music.
> 
> Among them are Licia Albanese, Renata Tebaldi, Montserrat
> Caballe and Victoria de los Angeles, along with many others.
> I never feel cheated when I hear the written ending, as long as
> it is in hands like theirs.
> 
> Bob
> 
> On Mon, Feb 19, 2018 at 15:57 Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> > The high C doesn’t define the role, but I think it’s a requirement.
> >
> > The difference between Aida’s high C and Violetta’s E-flat is that Aida’s
> > C id not only wriiten by Verdi, it’s done so with care and intent.
> > Violetta’s E-flat is not written, even as an option.
> >
> > So I love it when Violetta can pop in a great E-flat (not if it’s a
> > screech) but I don’t hold it against her if she doesn’t. On the other hand,
> > I don’t like hearing the entire “Sempre libera” taken down to avoid the
> > “Gioir” D-flats or the repeated Cs. I think these are requirements of the
> > role.
> >
> > Max Paley
> >
> > Sent from my iPhone
> >
> > > On Feb 19, 2018, at 12:36, tom ponti <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > >
> > > Does one high note really define a performance of a great role,
> > especially Aida, which has so much other variable vocal requirements? The
> > same is true of Siempre Liberia.  If the soprano can hit the E flat or
> > whatever at the end, then great, but IMO it is not necessary to be a great
> > or very good Violetta.
> > >
> > >
> > > From: Discussion of opera and related issues <[log in to unmask]>
> > on behalf of Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
> > > Sent: Monday, February 19, 2018 3:12 PM
> > > To: [log in to unmask]
> > > Subject: Re: [OPERA-L] Tunings
> > >
> > > Aida is not “about” the high C but the one in “O patria mia” is so
> > exposed and so clearly in the spotlight that I’d go as far as to say that a
> > soprano who isn’t really comfortable with her C, and that means being able
> > to “play” the voice on that note with dynamic control and not just slam it
> > out, should not perform Aida.
> > >
> > > Re: the E-flat: a soprano who has the control for that C almost has to
> > have a good E-flat as “headroom.” But then, to decide to “perform” the
> > E-flat at the end of the Triumphal Scene, she needs yet more. The rule of
> > thumb is that, to have enough margin to perform the highest note in a role
> > day after day, including days you don’t feel at your absolute best, you
> > need to solidly vocalize at least a minor third higher regularly.
> > >
> > > Max Paley
> > >
> > > Sent from my iPhone
> > >
> > > > On Feb 19, 2018, at 11:33, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > "Aida is not about the high C"
> > > >
> > > > We should all be required to write that down a hundred
> > > > times so we never forget it. But what do I know; I like
> > > > the high E.
> > > >
> > > > dtmk
> > > >
> > > >> On Mon, Feb 19, 2018 at 3:18 AM, Takis Pavl. <[log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> > > >>
> > > >> It is   a b s o l u t e l y  true. There is a very informative video
> > of
> > > >> Cappuccilli (and Tebaldi on the panel) demonstrating the effects of a
> > > >> higher pitch to a singer's instrument and vocal emission. Cappuccilli
> > never
> > > >> had trouble with high notes and his voice lasted for ever so why
> > would he
> > > >> have any reason to advocate for a lower (Verdi) pitch? Even a quarter
> > of a
> > > >> tone makes a difference in our vocal technique. As Cappuccilli
> > explains,
> > > >> Verdi knew about voices and wanted to use a certain colour, for
> > baritones
> > > >> in his case. If you make a singer stretch his passaggio too often
> > during a
> > > >> performance, the voice will get tired sooner and the chords will lose
> > their
> > > >> ability to recover and keep their focus especially in the lower area.
> > > >>
> > > >> I'm no Cappuccilli but a professional musican (singer) and I have no
> > doubt
> > > >> that 440 or higher tuning is not appropriate for works of the 19th
> > century
> > > >> (even of the early 20th century). Now if certain lighter singers such
> > as
> > > >> Mado Robin enjoyed raising their scenes a tone or more higher, that's
> > > >> because they wanted to demonstrate what their higher placed voices
> > could do
> > > >> or how pretty their high voices were, not how the roles were written.
> > > >> In Baroque times pitch often had to do with the tuning of the city's
> > > >> church organ. Hence some Bach cantatas feel too low or too high if
> > you sing
> > > >> them in modern pitch. Having sung a lot of Bach, I know most singers
> > are
> > > >> petrified when they don't sing with period instruments because modern
> > > >> instruments pitched half a tone higher make some already difficult
> > Bach
> > > >> passages a trial. Having to sing those a few times during daily
> > rehearsals
> > > >> in modern pitch and often having to perform the piece on the same day
> > > >> (saving venue booking costs for the ensemble) means your voice is
> > stretched
> > > >> beyond its limits. And after all that stretch on the top, the low and
> > > >> middle suffers. Also some string instruments (tuned in 440) will tune
> > > >> slightly higher before the concert, thinking that the tuning might
> > drop in
> > > >> a warm hall. It doesn't matter if the singers protest, if it's
> > choosing
> > > >> between a stretched singer or an out of tune orchestra, the orchestra
> > will
> > > >> prefer to stay in tune and not consider the singer.
> > > >>
> > > >> Now you may wonder, why don't they use a higher voice that has no
> > trouble
> > > >> with those passages instead? All the interpretative tricks a singer
> > can do,
> > > >> don't make up for a certain vocal colour that matches the piece. The
> > chosen
> > > >> tonality also has a meaning. Yes, you can ask Edita Gruberova, Diana
> > Damrau
> > > >> and Mariella Devia to sing Aida, they can pop out the high C any
> > time. But
> > > >> Aida is not about the high C. If you don't get that, there's no point
> > > >> discussing this any further.
> > > >> Takis
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >>    On Sunday, 18 February 2018, 23:18:45 EET, Kiwi <[log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> > > >>
> > > >> That was the contention, that over time the turning has been raised
> > to the
> > > >> benefit of the orchestra and the detriment of the singer.
> > > >>
> > > >> And also it led to bigger orchestras because the brighter sound
> > needed more
> > > >> support.
> > > >>
> > > >> I think (I don't have the article in front of me at the moment) that
> > writer
> > > >> says if you, as a singer, are singing with an orchestra tuned to 435
> > or
> > > >> 432,
> > > >> the sound production is easier and more fluid / flexible, producing a
> > more
> > > >> even and less stressed sound.
> > > >>
> > > >> ????  Is there at least some validity to the point that a lower tuning
> > > >> allows most singers to have (for lack of a better sense) a richer,
> > more
> > > >> easier sounding emission?
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >> -----Original Message-----
> > > >> From: Bella Malis
> > > >> Sent: Sunday, February 18, 2018 3:36 PM
> > > >> To: [log in to unmask]
> > > >> Subject: Tunings
> > > >>
> > > >> Just to help a little, as a former tuner.....etc. albeit a short term
> > one.
> > > >>
> > > >> A 440, per min. Or sec.  I can’t remember which.....just means that
> > there
> > > >> are 440 beats each time the A is sounded...that is the third A, up
> > from the
> > > >> bottom of the piano.  Over the years, SOMEBODY decided to brighten the
> > > >> tones
> > > >> by raising of the tuning of the instruments.  All the instruments
> > raised
> > > >> and
> > > >> the voices too.
> > > >>
> > > >> Makes for a brighter tone.....who knows which tuning should be
> > done....
> > > >> A440....A 435, etc., etc.
> > > >>
> > > >> ***Bella
> > > >>
> > > >> Sent from my iPad
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