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Subject: The Voigt/Heppner Show
From: "CHARLES H. HANDELMAN" <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 21 Mar 1998 18:01:25 -0500

text/plain (40 lines)

       As the last strains of today's Lohengrin are heard, I cannot help
but cry out, "Benny and Debby, where you been all my life?" Here we have an
example of two outstanding singers who would be superb in ANY operatic
era,and that is usually my "criteria" for judging a singer  in a given
operatic performance,if i declare them as "great."  I was totally
captivated by Heppner. With the exception of some "Kollo-isms" where he
attacks a tone in the upper middle rather straight and squeezed (e.g. "Heil
dir,Elsa" at the end of act two), he sings with a bright and ringing tone
that recalls the earliest days of Jess Thomas,but with more lyricism and no
thickness of tone. However, he only shines in the German fach,and this is
where he belongs. I would place him,when he sings in this fach, as the
finest tenor in the world.
    I started becoming a Deborah Voigt fan at last years Sieglinde,and
again,here is someone who shines in German opera.The voice,despite an
occasional tendence to go back on the extreme top,is luscious,especially in
the middle,upper middle,and rich mixed chest area, and she has become
another favorite of mine in this music. I think she is working hard and I
wish her continued success,but only best suited for the german repertory as
I see it.
    Polaski,as I had heard on earlier recordings, is totally inadequate.
She has the force and drive for the part,but it is an edgy,non-descript
sound,lacking in freedom above the staff and possessing NO LOW NOTES below.
She made most of act two the weakest part of the performance. Now we are
destined to have her and Schnaut for another 25 years.Behrens and Jones are
in late career, and we just lost Leonie,who TODAY could have sung a better
  The other men were adequate,but nothing extraordinary. I surely missed
the King henry of a Frick, a Moll,or a Ludwig Weber. I did love the
conducting,much as i never feel qualified to judge that element,but i would
surely say it was a superb job. Also,I did not have to see the perfomance
and so I imagined it was Bayreuth Circa 1960,or the fine last production at
the Met.
    I gave myself a gold star for guessing all the Esultates,including
Nicola Fusati.(Who could mistake that nasal sound). I was surprised to hear
Vickers say, "EsultatUH" instead of "EsultatEY," reminding me a Kurt Baum
peculiarity,where he would say words like "Come" as "ComUH."
 Vickers sounded strangulated as always in that music,as did the great
Martinelli,a bit too late for hearing his best. Del Monaco stole it!!!!
     So,bravi to Voigt and Heppner, and PLEASE kids, stay far away from
Verdi!!!!    as ever Charlie

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