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Subject: Re: Dramatic Soprano Commentary
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Thu, 6 Mar 1997 15:51:49 +0000

text/plain (42 lines)

Karl makes the following observation, along with a few about
Behrens, not quoted, that I think are pretty much on the money -

> I will not get into the perennial Scotto, Malfitano, etc., discussion here.
> NOT ONE of those women EVER had anything close to a dramatic soprano sound.
> Again, God love Scotto's spunk, but what was she thinking???

Hello everybody -

An oft told tale, but some of you may not know it and I think it
is fairly interesting.  Sometime in 1974, the Sunday New York Times
printed an interview with Renata Scotto in which she said
(paraphrase) -

I had a seance with Maria Malibran and she told me that I could and
I should sing every Italian soprano role, followed by something
along the lines of "that is now my goal".  I think her first ven-
ture outside of the lyric fach was "I Vespri Siciliani" which really
was more than just fine, it was very well sung and very exciting.
Nothing succeeds like success, so she started to get (IMO) sillier
and sillier.  The ultimate foolery (IMO) was Norma and from the
moment she sang it she was never the same.  Incipient wobble be-
came incessant wobble.  All the dramatic intensity, and intelligent
phrasing in the world couldn't cover the basic mistake.

Interestingly, she had many years earlier, recorded a fine rendition
of "O Patria Mia" on a recital, and that gave some people the idea
that maybe she wasn't so far off the mark.  Well, the rest is
history.  Freni, for whom I haven't nearly the affection I do for
Scotto, went into that rep, and out of it early enough that there
was no permanent damage.  And so, she was able to thrill us both
visually and vocally in Fedora just a few months ago.  Risks are
always fun, the rewards can be many, but the outcomes are very

P. S.  She must have had another talk with Malibran somewhere along
the line because she didn't come close to doing all of them. We all
waited for Turandot ;-)



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