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Subject: Re: Hina Spani (was Pinkerton)
From: robert levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:robert levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 6 Mar 2018 15:14:30 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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OMG - Spani's trill in Leonora's 4th act aria is a dream come true! And
what  a sense of line! And the sound itself!
Does anyone know what her voice was like live?
Bob L

On Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 2:57 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Russ
>
> I think her voice was just about ideal for that music, and for
> Puccini's music in general. It is no coincidence that she was
> chosen as the soprano soloist at his funeral in the Milan Duomo.
>
> I wrote a bio about twenty years ago which is, I believe, still in the
> opera-l archives. She has any number of recordings which might
> be called "defining" or "benchmarks",  among them "Ebben"
> the Gallows aria from Ballo and a number of somgs, for which she
> is as famous as she was in opera - a major singer, well represented
> on CD, less well remembered than should be the case.
>
> Bob
>
> On Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 14:44 Russ Geschke <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > There is a c. 1929 recording of the final "Tu tu piccol iddio" by the
> > Argentinian spinto Hina Spani and the LaScala orchestra -- excellently
> > recorded for its time (and accessible on CDs) -- that when I first heard
> it
> > immediately called to mind the Immolation Scene and remains for me The
> > Version of this music.  For "sheer sound, power and emotion" I've never
> > heard its equal.
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Maxwell Paley" <[log in to unmask]>
> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 1:17 PM
> > Subject: Re: Pinkerton
> >
> >
> > I think timbre is a key element for Butterfly.
> >
> > As Donald says, much of it lies in the lower and middle voice and the
> > orchestra is huge. A lyric soprano with a great deal of “bite”
> (persistent
> > forward resonance) in her sound can pull this off (Scotto, Kirsten,
> > Albanese). I think it would have been a problem for Freni in a staged
> > performance environment; her voice bloomed out beautifully on top but it
> > was
> > softer textured in the middle voice. But I love Freni on record.
> >
> > I like a full weight sound in the role. I have the two Tebaldi recordings
> > and I actually prefer the later stereo recording. The sound is still
> > terrific and although she sounds too big, too powerful, too imposing, I
> > think she’s wonderful. Her cackle after she says she’s fifteen makes it
> > sound like an absurd lie and her response to the question about her
> father
> > (“morto”) makes it sound like she’s talking about Garibaldi but I don’t
> > care. I think it’s note for note the most sumptuous sounding Butterfly
> I’ve
> > ever heard and, with Bergonzi’s beautiful tenor and Serafin’s slow tempi,
> > the Act 1 love duet is remarkably expansive and spacious. Tebaldi is for
> me
> > the “reference” of what I want to hear in Puccini’s mini-Immolation Scene
> > at
> > the end, with its demands for sheer sound, power and emotion.
> >
> > The Decca engineers didn’t shy away from capturing the full brightness
> and
> > dynamics of her voice, meaning that even 60 years later this is still a
> > demanding recording for playback. It takes very good audio gear, lest she
> > sound shrill and overpowering. I still incline to listen to this in
> analog
> > form: either on open reel tape or the early US stereo release, which
> spread
> > it over 4 LPs.
> >
> > Another full lyric, approaching lyrico-spinto, whom I liked in the role
> was
> > Sena Jurinac.
> >
> > Patricia Racette had several good years with it after she took it back on
> > in
> > (I think) 2005, before she started having flatting problems in her upper
> > voice. I liked Sylvie Valayre in the role, who also rose to the occasion
> > with the final scene. More recently, I thought Lianna Haroutounian did
> some
> > beautiful things, but as is becoming more frequent, I was too aware of
> her
> > consciously saving herself for the big moments.
> >
> > Sent from my iPad
> >
> > > On Mar 6, 2018, at 9:16 AM, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > >
> > > Bob is probably right.  Butterfly looses some credibility with a
> > > Brunnhilde
> > > as Cio-Cio-San, but its a hard sing, constant pounding in the middle
> > voice
> > > with those rises above over a huge orchestra.  For me, a true lyric,
> just
> > > doesn't have the chops - may in a small theatre with a reduced
> orchestra?
> > > De Los Angeles was of course much more lyric then Tebaldi but it was
> > > hardly
> > > a small voice.
> > >
> > > Sorry, I know this is a bit late.  I wrote it days ago and never hit
> the
> > > send button.
> > >
> > >> On Sun, Mar 4, 2018 at 4:51 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> > >>
> > >> Tom
> > >>
> > >> I agree with you completely about Tebaldi's rather heroic sound in two
> > >> roles that I have much more enjoyed in the hands of lighter voiced
> > >> singers like Albanese and Scotto.
> > >>
> > >> But -
> > >>
> > >> the opera's history tells a very different story, as do Puccini's own
> > >> choices, at times. After the failure of Milan's World Premiere, he
> > >> chose Salomea Kruscelnicka (spelled a bazillion different ways)
> > >> for the second incarnation at Brescia, she who was just about
> > >> the most famous Brunnhilde of her generation. Emmy Destinn,
> > >> another dramatic soprano, had huge success in  the role at the
> > >> Met and elsewhere. And so it has gone for over a century, lyrics
> > >> and spintos, even dramatics, alternating in the role, many of each
> > >> type with great success.
> > >>
> > >> What is puzzling is that Puccini clearly saw the role as the province
> > >> of the light lyric when he chose Rosina Storchio for the World
> > >> Premiere. He made a 180 degree turn for the Brescia version with
> > >> Kruscelnicka, though the major musical changes had little to do
> > >> with his tragic heroine. They mainly involved the chorus, the many
> > >> comprimarios (English) and Pinkerton, for whom "Addio, fiorito
> > >> asil" was added.
> > >>
> > >> All that said, I prefer a lighter sound, one that conveys the youth
> > >> and vulnerability of the "protagonista".
> > >>
> > >> Bob
> > >>
> > >>> On Sun, Mar 4, 2018 at 17:59 tom ponti <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > >>>
> > >>> Just a personal opinion but as beautiful as Tebaldi sounds on her
> > >>> Butterfly and Boheme recordings, I find her voice just a bit too
> large
> > >>> or
> > >>> heavy for these roles, who are supposed to be slight and fragile
> young
> > >>> women.  Victora's voice is every bit as beautiful as Renata's but
> > >>> lighter
> > >>> and younger sounding. Freni, though she never sang the complete role
> on
> > >>> stage, IMO, has an ideal sounding voice for Butterfly. Price is
> > gorgeous
> > >> on
> > >>> her recording with a lighter sounding voice than Tebaldi's. Callas,
> as
> > I
> > >>> recall, lightened her voice and manages to sound like a young woman
> on
> > >> her
> > >>> recording. Scotto is lovely, especially for her, on the recording
> with
> > >>> Bergonzi as well as being dramatically outstanding. But then, is it
> > >>> possible to not be moved by any Butterfly with a good sounding voice
> > and
> > >>> decent acting ability?
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>> ________________________________
> > >>> From: Discussion of opera and related issues <
> > [log in to unmask]
> > >>>
> > >>> on behalf of Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
> > >>> Sent: Sunday, March 4, 2018 5:35 PM
> > >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> > >>> Subject: Re: [OPERA-L] Pinkerton
> > >>>
> > >>>    I saw Brandon Jovanovich as Pinkerton.  Obviously he made a
> > >> tremendous
> > >>> impression.  He had the voice (which was somewhat more lyrical than
> it
> > >>> is
> > >>> now that he sings heavier stuff) and he really looked the part.  This
> > >>> was
> > >>> about eight years ago.
> > >>>
> > >>>    Speaking of Butterfly, I decided to listen to my newly remastered
> CD
> > >>> version with Tebaldi/Bergonzi under Serafin.  Bergonzi sounds so
> young
> > >> and
> > >>> his singing is ideal.  Tebaldi?  Her Butterfly was as Japanese  as
> > >> lasagna,
> > >>> her interpretation very generalized ------- but the SOUND that she
> > made!
> > >>> For example, the phrases where she tells Pinkerton that she wants to
> go
> > >> to
> > >>> HIS church are voiced with a beauty of sound that I've heard from no
> > >> other
> > >>> soprano ever.  Yeah, she flats just a bit at the end of her entrance,
> > >>> but
> > >>> overall her voice sounds like the pitchers of cream that so many
> > critics
> > >>> talked about.  It was an Italian voice in an Italian opera and for
> > >> Tebaldi
> > >>> it was more than enough.  Will we ever hear a Butterfly with a voice
> > >>> like
> > >>> this again?   The only other soprano who comes nearest this is
> Leontyne
> > >>> Price (with Tucker).  Of course there are the Callas and Scotto
> > >>> recordings------- where each are aiming for totally different
> effects.
> > >>> Surely all four of these great sopranos belong in the great Butterfly
> > >>> pantheon.
> > >>>
> > >>>    I also think it a shame that RCA never saw fit to give Albanese
> and
> > >>> Peerce a complete Butterfly.  The extended excerpts from 1955 are
> good,
> > >> but
> > >>> perhaps should have been recorded a few years earlier.
> > >>>
> > >>>> On March 4, 2018 at 1:43 PM Maxwell Paley wrote:
> > >>>>
> > >>>>
> > >>>>    The huge weight of the opera is on the soprano (I’d actually say
> > >>> it’s on both the soprano and conductor), but a really excellent
> > >>> Pinkerton
> > >>> makes a huge difference. A Pinkerton who is handsome, sexually
> > >>> attractive
> > >>> and who has a melting voice can make us feel a much greater empathy
> and
> > >>> understanding for Butterfly. An unpleasant looking or sounding lout
> of
> > a
> > >>> tenor reinforces the notion that she’s totally deluded.
> > >>>>
> > >>>>    I saw several great famous ones - Carreras, Aragall (both during
> > >> the
> > >>> 1974 San Francisco season when it seemed Scotto had a different tenor
> > >>> for
> > >>> each performance), Jovanovich and Aragall with Racette, etc. But one
> > who
> > >>> really stuck in my memory wasn’t a major celebrity but did something
> > >>> special with the role. This was a Welsh tenor, Arthur Davies, whom I
> > saw
> > >> in
> > >>> London in December of 1992 with Yoko Watanabe as Butterfly.
> > >>>>
> > >>>>    If you Google Davies and see close up pictures, you’ll wonder
> what
> > >>> the big deal is. From the audience, with makeup on, he looked like he
> > >>> was
> > >>> somewhere in his late 20s and the voice was fresh and clean. In
> > physique
> > >>> and deportment, he was as handsome and attractive a Pinkerton as I’ve
> > >> ever
> > >>> seen and one totally understood Butterfly being completely wrapped up
> > >> with
> > >>> him.
> > >>>>
> > >>>>    Max Paley
> > >>>>
> > >>>>    I was shocked later to find out he was already in his early 50s.
> > >>>>
> > >>>>>> On Mar 4, 2018, at 10:14 AM, Jon Goldberg wrote:
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>        I think what is undeniably true is that we see the story of
> > >>> the opera through Butterfly.
> > >>>>>        That doesn't mean the other characters - any of them - are
> > >>> less important - but just that
> > >>>>>        it's her journey that we follow.
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>        Had Puccini wanted us to see this more through Pinkerton's
> > >>> eyes, we might have had the
> > >>>>>        wedding scene between him and Kate, for instance, or the
> > >> scene
> > >>> where Sharpless tells
> > >>>>>        him about the child and convinces him to come back to Japan.
> > >>> But what we have instead
> > >>>>>        is a much stronger drama where the effect of Pinkerton's
> > >>> absence in Act II is palpable.
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>        It's also interesting to note that the Belasco play starts
> > >>> with Act II of the opera plot -
> > >>>>>        Pinkerton's entire role is reduced to a very short
> appearance
> > >>> at the end. Puccini and his
> > >>>>>        librettists went back to the original John Luther Long short
> > >>> story for what became Act I.
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>>        On Sun, 4 Mar 2018 15:42:21 +0000, Bob Rideout wrote:
> > >>>>>>
> > >>>>>>    **********************************************
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