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Subject: Dramatic sopranos/Verdi sopranos-new thread
From: Ed Rosen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Ed Rosen <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 5 Mar 1997 20:09:38 -0600
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Hi again-

I enjoyed Nancy's post, but must disagree to some of the responses.  I
can't see how anyone can group Tebaldi & Scotto together as
lyric-dramatics. Tebaldi, yes.  But Scotto, no.  Tebaldi sang such
heavy roles, early in her career, as Aida, Forza, Chenier, Tosca, then
later such spinto roles as Boccanegra, Manon Lescaut, Butterfly, even
Boheme, Otello, etc. It's hard to put each role into a catagory. So
many fall between two catagories.  But Scotto's strengths were, early
on, the bel canto roles, in which she excelled. Roles like Gilda,
Amina, Adina, Norina, Lucia. She slowly took on heavier roles, such as
Manon Lescaut, Don Carlo, Vespri, etc. I personally always found her
just a shade light for most of these roles. Not quite enough roundness
and beauty in the all important middle voice.  And quite strident on
top when she had to sing forte in these roles.  The sizes of the voices
of the two Renatas was like night and day.  Tebaldi had a voice of
almost super-human size, as well as beauty. Scotto's was average size
at best, and she, IMHO, mistakenly took on a role such as Gioconda, she
was severly lacking in the grand sweep the role demands.  In this role,
above all, she was very overparted.  Not so much Macbeth, which, after
all, was early Verdi, with fairly light orchestrations.  But Gioconda
was a big mistake for Scotto.

What makes a Verdi soprano?  I believe it to be a combination of size,
slancio, style(Italianate), and beauty of voice.  I never thought
L.Price was a real Verdi soprano, because she could never dominate an
ensemble. Her top was small.  There was little difference in volume
between her piano high C and her forte high C.  It was impossible to
hear her in the Triumphal Scene in Aida, her most famous role. I also
do not find her style particularly Italianate.  Verdi sopranos of the
past 30 plus years have included, IMO, Tebaldi, Milanov, Stella,
Gulin,(though for a short time), Cerquetti, Farrell(possibly lacking
the vocal temperment), Millo(she just made it on the size
qualification, until this year, when her voice seems to have grown in
size with no loss of beauty), Cruz-Romo,(for a fairly short time). I
must exclude Martina Arroyo, whose voice was huge on top, but lacked
almost any degree of Italian style and phrasing.  I also must excuse
great singers like Rysanek & Crespin, for much the same reasons. Tucci
came close, but fell a bit short, IMO. Lovely voice at her best,
though.. And don't get me wrong about Price. I love her voice. But she
couldn't knock you out of your seat in a scene such as the Convent
Scene in Forza, or the aforementioned Aida triumphal scene. The others
all could, and did.  I can't include Sweet and Voight of today,
although Voight is getting there in terms of style very quickly. In the
late 60's Rita Orlandi-Malaspina was a real Verdi soprano. So was
Molnar-Taljac.  So was Suliotis, for a weekend! So was Callas,
especially in the early 50's.  She had every requisite in spades.
I'm sure there are more, on both sides of the fence, that don't come
immediately to mind.  Can any of you suggest others.  And perhaps you
don't agree with my criteria.  Please- speak your mind.


Best,


Ed

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