Dear Don and list:
I don't doubt for a minute that I am the certain tenor-loving 19th c. Italian
omnivore you were talking about--although I am just as interested in most
French composers of the period (Auber, Gounod, Halevy, Meyerbeer), and a
couple of Germans (Flothow and Goldmark--I know he is Hungarian). Any
omissions from this list are, with the exception of Adolphe Adam and maybe
Otto Nicolai intentional.
When it comes to Mozart--I just don't get him--and when it comes to Gioconda,
I wish all of Ponchielli's operas were recorded. Not just Gioconda.
Looking at some of Don's examples
Here are some contrasts in taste:
Red meat Verdi/Puccini vs. Bel canto
I enjoy both--they have that Italian genius, although I probably preger
Mascagni and Giordano (tenor oriented) to Puccini (too soprano oriented)
Chest vs. legato
Again, I enjoy both
Versimo vs. Janacek
The former, by a mile
Volume/squillo (as marks of tenor excellence -- e.g. Del Monaco, or even
vs. technique (Schipa,
I think I am more or less consistent--prefer Piccaluga, Lauri-Volpi,
O'Sullivan, Merritt, the oung Pav to McCormack, Schipa, Bergonzi, Domingo.
But here I know of many inconsitencies. People who hate Domingo and love
Bergonzi and Vicjkers--as well as consistent folks who dislike all three.
Actually, I am ambivalent to Bergonzi, a bit tired of Domingo, and absolutely
can't stand Vickers.
Part of this is also voice quality--I happen to like a bright tenor tone,
although I will make exceptions for some singers.
Flawed divas (Soviero, Malfitano)
brighter, creamier style (Lehmann, Jurinac, Fleming)
I really have no preferences in sopranos. Except Caballe to Callas. Or
Gruberova to Sills--but don't know why. I have a feeling I rend to dislike
Questions for discussion:
-- Have I got the facts right? I know there are some with admirably
catholic tastes, like Bill Fregosi, and others who go off in different
directions, like a certain tenor-loving 19th c. Italian omnivore, but are
there consistent patterns here?
Basically, I think Don has most of his facts right. But still, I know people
who love French grand opera and love Wagner, but Hate Mozart--and others who
love French grand opera and Mozart, but hate Wagner. And still others who love
all three. As for me, I love French garnd opera, enjoy the best of Wagner (not
Parsifal, Meistersinger, Tristan) and Mozart--but in small doses. In fact,
whenever I listen to Nozze, I start by loving it, saying to myself: Why
haven't I enjoyed it before--and after a few numbers am bored.
If I had a choice between getting all of Mozart, Wagner and Styrauss on CD--or
one French grand opera I never heard before--I would get the French grand
opera. If it's La reine de Chypre, I would probably hear it 10 times as often
as all the Mozart, Strauss and Wagner combined. And I'll bet half the people
on Opera-L wouldn't even buy the Halevy.
C'est la vie
Don Tomasso di Tenormania