I read with a great interest the 'Am I too LOUD' postings of Michael &
Here are my two cents on the issue, all based on a personal experience.
It is true that NOBODY today is really interested in a big voice. Everybody
wants to have a big voice in his/her house, but nobody - no conductor,
director nor for that matter a teacher would make any effort to develop
one. There are no Serafins today who would take the time and effort to help
the Callases of today. I will venture an opinion that had La Callas started
her career today she would not have gotten anywhere! What everybody is
looking for, as Peter Grimes stated correctly, is a finished product. That
could, partially, explain the success of Slavic voices. They all come to
the West after tens of years of slavery training (all paid by the State, if
I may mention this small detail) and many stage experiences in the East.
They make all the necessary 'flops' over there to shine on our stages. And,
that is a proper way of development in the opera business. We all know how
it was way back in Italy. All great singers, Pavarotti included, started
out in whatever roles where available, in the obscure, sometimes
half-professional theatres, where they could learn the ropes, make all
kinds of errors, LEARN the art of singing, and then if they were good move
on. Today, all we have left is a 'move on' stage. No learning, no ropes, no
guidance, no nothing. We, the singers, are expected to shine the first time
we set our foot on stage! And it better be the MET stage, too!
There is something that I' d like to clarify:
Peter Grimes wrote:
>Rather, there is a sort of "white" sound, much like a laser to my mind,
with a great deal of thrust. While >this can be very exciting in certain
repertoires, it isn't intrinsically better, just different.
The term 'white' sound is applied to the voices with no vibrato. Children,
and many, way too may Western singers, have such sound. Just listen to any
of the Messiahs given in the gazillions of concets around the X-mas time -
most of their soloists have this horrible 'white' sound that cannot cut
even through the piano, never mind the chorus and orchestra. What you hear
in the Slavic voices is an 'edge' - a steely kind of quality which at
times, as you said, can be quite exciting, at times sounds too cold. But
Slavic singers have plenty of vibrato, maybe even too much for some. The
vibrato - makes the voice warmer, bigger and more beautiful.