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Subject: Re: Caballe's commercial recorded legacy; Anna Bolena; Giovanna Seymour
From: Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 9 Oct 2018 15:56:21 -0700
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Do any of you remember how, when her first major recordings appeared (the RCA aria recital and complete “Lucrezia Borgia”) how perturbed and perplexed the critics were about her “glottal clunk”? Enough that she felt she had to justify in a few interviews the “coup de glotte” that had been part of her training and where and when she did and didn’t use it. Nobody even talks about it anymore.

I didn’t always find her voice beautiful. The luminous pianissimo were always spectacularly gorgeous but sometimes I found the actual sound of the voice somewhat reedy, and even in her prime, forte high notes could be hard and even squally. But she had musical magic: she spun those sounds into graceful, arched phrases of incredible delicacy and length.

As Turandot and as Tosca, I heard her pump out some high Cs that could go toe to toe with Nilsson.

The record that completely dazzled me when it first came out was that RCA LP “Rossini Rarities.” At the time, I wasn’t even that big on Rossini (yet) but I was mesmerized by the exquisite singing and music making.

Like Les, I was also surprised and delighted by her Salome. Delicacy, sensuousness, youth but lying in wait were power and volume of immense proportion.

I was never quite settled on her recorded Aida. Some stunning effects, also some pushing. But, exquisite as they were, those spun sugar pianissimi never quite sounded like Verdi to me, particularly contrasted with a real Verdian like her colleague on the recording, Cossotto.

Perhaps my favorite recording of hers: her dazzling Fiordiligi for Colin Davis.

Max Paley

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