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Subject: Re: Caballe's commercial recorded legacy; Anna Bolena; Giovanna Seymour
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 10 Oct 2018 10:58:27 -0700
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I am very much in agreement with Max concerning Caballe.  At first, I was
very turned off by the glottal cluck.   I felt it was a technical problem
or personal interpretive choice - I was never quite sure.  It took years
for that to stop bothering me and over the years, it did become less and
less of an issue.  In concert, she could be exquisite and then there was
that personality that flowed from the stage into the audience.  Her
concerts like her compatriot De Los Angeles were enchanting.

As for the recordings, the three original recitals,minus the coups de
glotte had much that was so beautiful.    I was bowled over by the Salome.
Close behind are the Traviata and her glorious Fiordiligi for Davis.  The
one recordiing that I never warmed up to was the Gioconda.  I never really
like her use of chest voice on that.  It was a hollow, ugly sound totally
out of synch with the rest of the voice.  It was almost like a whine.  It
just never appealed to me the way she did it and the way it came out.

The piano of course was her great trick.  I found it a somewhat disembodied
sound, akin to Gencer's but with a bit more body behind it.  It was not the
same as Milanov's.  Milanov seemed to be able to carry the full weight of
the voice into the piano.

She was a great singer.  Not perfect.  The voice beautiful as it was, was
not perfect but she could be an imaginative and there was a fine musical
mind behind everything she did - even when the carried things to excess.
She did it her way and most of us loved it and loved her for it.  Her last
recital appearances were like Bergonzi's, an intensely personal event.

One more recording that I loved was her duet recital with Giuseppe Di
Stefano.  He was clearly having problems but her singing in the Pearl
Fishers duet and the big scena from Francesca da Rimini, especially the
Francesca, were haunting.

Donald

On Tue, Oct 9, 2018 at 3:56 PM Max Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 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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