ADELINA PATTI. Of course the singing is astonishing even on those
late-in-the-day sides she did for HMV, but I would love to hear her
in her prime: say, a BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA at Covent Garden in the
mid-1860s, when she still interpolated high F's into "Una voce poco
fa," and offered in the Lesson Scene some (or, since it's my fantasy,
let's say all!) of the following: "La Calasera," "L'Eclat de Rire"
from MANON LESCAUT, "Il bacio," "Ombre legere" from DINORAH, "Merce
dilette amiche" from I VESPRI SICILIANI; always concluding (of
course) with "Home Sweet Home." Besides the singing, I would like to
witness the magnetic presence of a performer who was one of the three
or four greatest stage personalities of the 19th centuries.
Contemporary critics praised Patti for her utter charm and
instinctive comic timing as well. In short, Patti was the essence of
ADOLPHE NOURRIT, most likely in LES HUGUENOTS (if only because this
opera would give me a chance to hear Falcon as well!) We have heard
so much about the astonishing beauty of this voice, the power and
brilliance of the high notes all the way up to high D and his (again
that word!) magnetic personality which must have served him well in
such glamorous roles as Raoul, Arnold, Robert (le Diable), Poliuto
and Masianello. And, macabre as this may sound, I think it would be
fascinating to see if anything in this artist's stage demeanor
revealed the depression that eventually led to his suicide.
I am going off-list now for 10 days as I vacation (my first in 5
years!) in Provincetown, MA. Please, everyone, behave like ladies
and gentlemen while I am gone. See you in September!
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