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Subject: Re: Hina Spani (was Pinkerton)
From: Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 6 Mar 2018 15:23:29 -0500
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This is a good week on opera-l for remembering some great singers from the
past who are unjustly overlooked today. Here is another great candidate for
Mr. Marston's transfers in his superlative series. I have her recital discs
on Preiser, Pearl, and "Club 99" (a valuable double-disc issue despite the
sound and I can envision the horror of audiophiles reading the transfer
credits as "Made in Hungary by Gloria"). The last one includes several
songs which, I believe, were her preferred form.

I think her favorite recordings were TROVATORE arias that Bob L. mentions
and can arguably be the all-time greatest for many of those who heard them.
Glorious, absolutely glorious soprano.

Vesna

On Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 3:14 PM, robert levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 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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