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Subject: Re: Vishnevskaya (was Re: Heather Harper)
From: daaaac <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:daaaac <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 8 Jul 2018 23:54:06 -0400
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I uploaded and posted this on the list’s facebook page:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7hrTdz55XU

Donald (#3)

> On Jul 8, 2018, at 11:30 PM, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Galina Vishnevskaya was the most important and in my opinion (only), the
> greatest Russian singer of the twentieth century.  The range was immense,
> her qualities as an opera singer and as a singer of songs was unrivaled,
> and before hardness set in, the voice was so truly beautiful.  Her early
> Italian arias including Pace, pace, Casta Diva and L'altra notte as are
> good as any.  As Paul mentioned, the Markevitch Requiem is one of the
> greatest ever recorded and Vishnevskaya's soprano solo, just as singing,
> forget what she puts into it, is up there with the best and by that I mean
> Milanov in the 30's and 40's and Price in the 60's.
> 
> Anna Netrebko has a beautiful voice and can be an interesting singer.  I
> will not trash here here but as an artist, singer and seminal figure in
> music in the last 100 years,, she is not in the same class as Galina
> Vishnevskaya.  To see Vishnevskaya in concert with Slava at the piano was
> to witness die holde kunst.....
> 
> Donald
> 
> On Sun, Jul 8, 2018 at 4:49 PM G. Paul Padillo <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> 
>> I'm once again switching the subject title (I don't CARE if anyone minds)
>> because these
>> threads, as they morph are no longer about the original topic, and for
>> anyone who accesses
>> Opera-L through the Archives (I can't imagine anyone wanting to get all
>> these messages in
>> email) and those of us who make use of the Archives to fact check, or just
>> stroll down
>> Memory Lane, it makes things far easier.  I can't count the number of
>> searches I've done
>> where I've typed in a singer/composer/opera and had to wade through dozens
>> of posts that
>> had NOTHING to do with the Subject line.  Now, that THAT's off my chest .
>> . .
>> 
>> I've been glad reading posts again on this great Russian lady and that
>> others (thank you
>> Vesna, and Donald) who find "Galina . . . " to be among the finest
>> autobios from any
>> musician.
>> 
>> I recall a debate from a year or so ago when someone declared Netrebko
>> "the most
>> important soprano since Callas or Sutherland."  I countered by stating
>> Netrebko wasn't even
>> the most important Russian soprano since Callas or Sutherland, citing
>> Vishnevskaya as
>> having covered a wider repertoire and with more vastly different styles,
>> and had done so
>> even by the time she was Anna's present age.
>> 
>> I still return to many of Vishnevskaya's recordings and I don't think I've
>> ever read ANY book
>> as many times as I've read hers.  Her two films - the legendary "Katerina
>> Ismailova" and
>> the profoundly moving (non-operatic) "Alexandra" by Alexander Sokurov (one
>> of my
>> favorite Russian filmmakers of any era). are great cinema by any standard.
>> 
>> I recall a while back finally getting my hands on a copy of the 1961 Verdi
>> Requiem with
>> Markevitch leading the Russian State Academy Choir and the Moscow State
>> Philharmonic
>> Academy Orchestra and telling anyone within ear shot it was most hair
>> raising performance
>> I’ve ever encountered of the Verdi.
>> 
>> Markevitch unleashed the Soviet forces in a performance that is staggering
>> in its dynamics
>> being pushed to the extremes in both directions:  pianissimi are more
>> hushed (and
>> reverent) then one is often used to hearing and the moments of fiery fury
>> are as wildly
>> dramatic as one is likely to encounter.  The brass and string playing are
>> immaculate to the
>> point of my wondering how such sonic violence was achieved without ever
>> losing
>> musicianship . . . or control!  There are too many genuine stand out
>> moments, to count
>> here, but a few, such as the threatening sound of the swirling strings and
>> winds in the
>> "Liber Scriptus" – the text ("all that is hidden will be revealed …
>> nothing will be left
>> unpunished") turned out in almost horror movie fashion.
>> 
>> The "Dies Irae" is ripped through as if one had been given a one way
>> ticket on the express
>> train to hell.   It is absolutely hair raising.  The soloists, Nina
>> Isakova, Vladimir Ivanovsky
>> and Ivan Petrov all do fine work – even if the Latin diction has that
>> tell-tale Slavic-edge to
>> it.  But . . . but Vishnevskaya offers one of the most uniquely dramatic
>> "Libera me’s" one is
>> likely to experience and at moments ("tremens factos sum ergo") she can be
>> terrifying –
>> then switch to truly exquisite piano singing . . . music simply floated
>> out in a way that is
>> achingly lovely.
>> 
>> I concluded my review of that recording writing:
>> 
>> ". . . Vishnevskaya may surprise with her ability to sweeten the sound in
>> those moments it
>> is ever filled with emotion and unexpected grace.  Then, of course, there
>> are the dramatic
>> moments where, predictably, she leaves blood all over the place.  Her
>> final "libera me
>> Domine de morte . . . " is as though a final gasp from one already dead;
>> hers is the sound
>> of the soul making its final, heart-rending supplication for mercy . . .
>> before the final shovel
>> of dirt is thrown onto it."
>> 
>> My opinion has not changed.
>> 
>> p.
>> 
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