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From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 8 Dec 2018 17:14:44 -0500

text/plain (267 lines)

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Stefan Zucker <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Fri, Dec 7, 2018 at 10:26 AM
To: <[log in to unmask]>

Here's another rave from Fanfare.


Because of the unprecedented nature of the three-book series, Franco
Corelli and a Revolution in Singing: Fifty-Four Tenors Spanning 200 Years,
Fanfare published two reviews by two separate authors. Here is the second

Years, Vols. 2 & 3.

By Stefan Zucker. Bel Canto Society, 2018. 351, 358 pp., respectively, 144
&139 illus., hardbound. Each $34.95
Sale: $27.95 each --- $75.00 for all three volumes

Franco Corelli and a Revolution in Singing --- 3 Volumes

Franco Corelli and a Revolution in Singing: Fifty-Four Tenors Spanning 200
Years, vol. 1 by Stefan Zucker, 6" X 9" X 384 pp., with 200 lithographs and
photographs, beautifully reproduced.

Franco Corelli and a Revolution in Singing: Fifty-Four Tenors Spanning 200
Years,  vol. 2 by Stefan Zucker, 6" X 9" X 352 pp., with 144 lithographs
and photographs, beautifully reproduced.

Franco Corelli and a Revolution in Singing: Fifty-Four Tenors Spanning 200
Years,  vol. 3 by Stefan Zucker, 6" X 9" X 358 pp., including 139
photographs, beautifully reproduced.

Stefan Zucker is well known to many of us who, to borrow his phrase, are
"opera fanatics." As President of Bel Canto Society, Zucker has produced
numerous recordings, both video and audio, documenting great singers
throughout the ages. As host of the radio program "Opera Fanatic," which
aired on Columbia University's radio station, Zucker interviewed scores of
opera personalities, including many of the finest singers, past and present
(he was also editor of Opera Fanatic magazine). A singer who traces his
lineage to 19th-century artists Giovanni Battista Rubini and Giacomo David,
Zucker earned the title of "The World's Highest Tenor" from the Guinness
Book of World Records when he sang an A above high C at the 1972 New York
City Town Hall world premiere performance of the fourth version of
Bellini's Adelson e Salvini. Now he has written three books that are
fascinating, thought-provoking, informative, and entertaining.

From 1990--2003, Stefan Zucker maintained a friendship and correspondence
with the legendary Italian tenor Franco Corelli. Corelli was a frequent
guest of Zucker's, both on the "Opera Fanatic" radio program, and at live
events held in various theaters. During the interviews, Corelli chatted
with Zucker at great length on a wide variety of topics, and answered
audience questions. Zucker's conversations with Corelli---both the
aforementioned public discussions, as well as some in private---form the
cornerstone for the three volumes of Franco Corelli and a Revolution in
Singing. Those Corelli discussions are of extraordinary value. I also had
the privilege of interviewing Franco Corelli in the early 1990s for my own
opera radio show, which then aired on Baltimore's classical music station,
WBJC-FM. I spoke with Corelli for a couple of hours in his New York
apartment. It was clear even from that relatively brief encounter that
Corelli was an intensely searching, thoughtful, and self-critical artist,
and a keen student of the technique and artistry of his predecessors. Those
qualities emerge in even greater depth and detail during the course of the
various Zucker interviews. In the three volumes under review, Zucker
examines not only Corelli's life, career, and artistry, but also a host of
other issues relating to the history and development of tenor singing from
the 1800s to the present. The topics are numerous, wide-ranging, and
sometimes, well off the expected path. As you might consider (at least,
initially) purchasing fewer than all three volumes, I think it important to
list various chapter titles, or a summary of their content:

Volume I: Del Monaco, Corelli, and Their Influence; Nuance Versus Massive
Darkened Tone; Donzelli, Duprez and Nourrit; Jean de Reszke; Tamagno; De
Lucia; Caruso; Pertile; Martinelli; Schipa: Unaffected by Caruso; Schipa's
Specter; Gigli; Lauri-Volpi vs. the Verismo Style; Björling; Tagliavini;
Richard Tucker; Del Monaco: Corelli's Chief Role Model and Rival; Polar
Opposites: Corelli and Di Stefano; Pavarotti; Domingo; Carreras; The
Fluctuating Fortunes of Vibrato; Eighteen Radamès Recordings Compared;

Volume II: Six Revolutions Have Shaped Singing; Seismic Shock
(Gilbert-Louis Duprez and the high C from the chest); The Dying Out of the
Castrati and Their Traditions and the Decline of Florid Singing; Heroes on
the Rise; Last of a Breed (Rubini); Corelli: Tenore del Mondo; Corelli's
Covering; A Note on Vocal Placement; Corelli: The Hamlet of Vocal
Technique---and why his voice declined; Corelli's Letters to Lauri-Volpi,
1962 (?) -- 1973; Grace Bumbry; Callas Critiques Corelli; Lauri-Volpi
Attacks Corelli's Technique; Observations on a Career and a Life; Franco
Corelli: Some Missing Information; To Return or Not to Return?; Three
Botched Bios; Fanizza Refutes Seghers; The Duel with Christoff and
"Barbieri sola, sola"; Potter's Corelli Chapter; Collaborating with
Corelli; Appendices.

Volume III: An Evening in the Theater with Franco Corelli and Stefan
Zucker, Merkin Concert Hall, June 5, 1991; From Del Monaco to Chris
Merritt; Booing: True confessions; Conversations with Carlo Bergonzi;
Alfredo Kraus; The Origins of Lowered-Larynx Techniques; Jean de Reszke's
Larynx-Lowering; Did Caruso Use a Laryngeal Method?; Some Lessons with
Melocchi (1879--1960); Corelli's Real View of the Stanley Method; Some
Mario Del Monaco Successors; My Lessons with Marcello and Mario Del Monaco
(Emilio Moscoso); Del Monaco's Diaphragm; A Corelli Student (Enrique Pina);
Francisco Araiza: A Rossini Tenor who lowers his larynx; Olivero Attacks
Del Monaco's Technique; Different Singing Techniques; The Rise and Fall of
Elena Filipova; Roberto Alagna on Sometimes Using Mask Placement, Sometimes
a Lowered-larynx; Bill Schuman, Marcello Giordani, Stephen Costello, James
Valenti and Michael Fabiano; Four Lowered-Larynx Tenors (Kaufmann, Cura,
Villazón, Walter Fraccaro); Mask-Larynx-Hybrid Tenors (Galouzine, Beczala);
Mask-Placement Tenors Who Don't Cover (Grigolo, Filianoti, Florez, Brownlee
and Banks, Cutler, Bros, Calleja); Mask-Placement Tenors Who Do Cover
(Álvarez, Antonenko, Vargas, Licitra, Botha); Summation.

Throughout the three volumes, Zucker spends a great deal of time discussing
the "lowered-larynx" technique, taught by Arturo Melocchi, and adopted by
Corelli's chief rival, Mario Del Monaco. That technique, as described by
Zucker, "is based on singing with the larynx lowered to the bottom of the
neck." According to Zucker and Corelli, this can lead to a vocal production
capable of extraordinary power, but little nuance or dynamic variety.
Corelli chose to adopt a variant of the technique, one in which the larynx
"floats" in order to allow for greater vocal pliability. But this is just
one of many technical aspects covered; not only by Zucker and Corelli, but
by several other singers interviewed by the author. And among the gems of
these three books are Zucker's interviews in Volume III with tenors Carlo
Bergonzi and Alfredo Kraus, both masters of their craft who are able to
describe their techniques and approach to performance in precise,
compelling, and endlessly fascinating detail. [The purpose of the technical
discussions is to show the choices and tradeoffs that caused tenor singing
to evolve, from the late eighteenth century until today.---SZ] Other
highlights are a series of letters written by Corelli to his teacher and
friend Giacomo Lauri-Volpi (Volume II). The letters are quite touching,
both for the respectful, tender way Corelli addresses his mentor, but also
for the glimpses of self-doubt that begin to creep in during the early
years of Corelli's vocal decline. Also of considerable value are the
various scholarly articles by Zucker that trace the history of tenor and
castrato singing. Taking us from the sublime to the ridiculous is a 40-page
chapter (Volume III) dominated by various opera fans who explain why they
believe it is a higher calling to sabotage performances by booing, in order
to demonstrate to the world they know more than anyone else. [Corelli
advocated booing. Some of the listeners confessed to having booed him. He
stood his ground.---SZ] If you are all too familiar with this type of
buffoon, it will get your blood pressure going. It certainly did mine. And
if you are at all prudish, be forewarned that these books include quite a
bit on topics of a sexual nature. They range from the perhaps expected
allusions to singers' affairs and illegitimate children, to graphic
discussions of sexual acts preferred by some artists (and even recommended
by the author as a way to improve vocal technique!). The author provides
fair warning that prurient subjects are on the horizon. But you are just as
likely to encounter such material out of the blue (no pun intended). Of
course, the concept of the operatic tenor as a sexually charismatic figure
is undeniable, and has long been a subject of fascination and discussion.
Perhaps the author, either by conscious or subconscious motivation,
includes such material to advance discussion of that topic. I'm not easily
shocked or offended, and these diversions did not impact my overall
enjoyment of the books (they didn't add to it, either). But in any case,
you've been forewarned.

Given the length and breadth of the three volumes of Franco Corelli and a
Revolution in Singing, this is a review that could go on for pages, far
more than I am allotted. Suffice it to say that I found all three volumes
compelling reading. Zucker is an opinionated writer, but he is also a
highly informed one who consistently provides the material to support his
opinions. His appraisals in Volume I of the respective strengths and
weaknesses of the "Three Tenors," for example, are as spot on as any I've
read. And I will give him the highest compliment I can give an author who
writes about singers. When I read Zucker's descriptions, I immediately want
to go to the artist's recordings and listen once again. In addition, the
numerous photos, many quite stunning, are reproduced beautifully with the
utmost clarity, and the entire copy is printed on the kind of high-quality
paper rarely used nowadays. For those who are endlessly fascinated by
tenors and their unique impact on the world of opera (as I am), Franco
Corelli and a Revolution in Singing has a tremendous amount to offer, and
in a fashion you are unlikely to find anywhere else. If you are at all
curious, try Volume I. If you like it, I feel comfortable in saying you
will enjoy the others as well. Recommended to fellow tenor fanatics.

---Ken Meltzer

Franco Corelli and a Revolution in Singing, vol. 3

Just Published!

Franco Corelli and a Revolution in Singing, vol. 2

Just Published!

Best Books of 2015

Kirkus Reviews designated Franco Corelli and a Revolution in Singing:
Fifty-Four Tenors Spanning 200 Years, vol. 1 by Stefan Zucker as among the
100 best books of 2015.

"A thought-provoking read." ---  Library Journal

"Informative and fascinating." --- The Record Collector

"A detailed, passionate analysis." --- Kirkus Reviews

For samples, also many reviews and to order use this link.

Here is a PDF file of the first 14 pp. from a chapter.

Here is a PDF file of the Table of Contents.

Here is a PDF file of the List of Lithographs and Photographs.

Many photos in the book are gorgeous. From the Jean de Reszke chapter here
are history's three great tenor heartthrobs, Mario, de Reszke and Corelli.

Here is a PDF file of Stefan's biography.

See Stefan discuss Slezak and Schmidt.

See Stefan interview Simionato, Pobbe, Gencer and Gavazzi.

To see all our downloads, please use this link.

To see all our products, please use this link.

To contribute to Bel Canto Society please use this link.

Bel Canto Society, a not-for-profit corporation, offers more than 400 opera
videos, CDs, DVDs, books, downloads and webcasts on its website. Our
homepage is

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