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Subject: Re: Sutherland's 'D'Oreste, d'Aiace'
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 7 Mar 2018 20:14:09 -0500

text/plain (69 lines)

Wow. Thank you for calling my attention to this - I had never heard Sutherland sing this 

I think this aria (a huge favorite of mine) has one of most brilliant dramatic vocal endings 
ever written - and also one of the most difficult to sing accurately. First, those rising pairs 
of thirds, all off the beat (which implies they need to be accented enough to really hear 
that syncopation), then the scale up, then the "mad laughter" staccati downward. And 
then the whole thing again. I'd have to go listen to a bunch of recordings, but it's really 
rare, at least in my memory, that a singer has been able to do all 3 passages so well - 

It's so easy to not attack the syncopations enough, to smear the upward scale, and to 
fudge the staccati - and although yes, breathing is essential of course - to let taking 
breaths get too much in the way of the phrases. Easy to find examples of sopranos who 
can get one or two out of the 3 varying passages - but really rarely all 3.

Sutherland does it all so well - and so cleanly. On those merits alone, I'd say she earns 
that final high C. ;-)

And yes, what you get when it's really sung right is not just a really thrilling bit of 
impossible vocalism - but the frightening musical portrait of a woman who has just lost 
everything, now absolutely losing her mind before our very eyes. Just as Mozart intended. 


On Wed, 7 Mar 2018 17:58:02 -0500, David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>I hate to keep boring the List with things newly and enthusiastically found
>on YouTube, but the clip of Sutherland in the great aria from 'Idomeneo' was
>truly a stunner to me.  It is quite late (1979), and displays all the things
>people missed in her while still in awe of her vocalism as vocalism.  She is
>a woman possessed in this piece (as she was not, I don't think, in 'Norma'),
>the diction is forward and clear, the 'accenti' fierce, there is real chest
>voice, and of course there is that huge sound executing the 'staccati'
>flawlessly.  Only her husband would have let her sing the final high note,
>but it is thrilling (even Baehrens raised the ante-penultimate note a half
>tone, which I think musically is what you want to hear at the end).
>Is there anything interesting to be known about these performances or hints
>as to why so late in the day she decided to go all Callas on her audience?
>David Kubiak
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