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Author Topic: Defend Your Divas  (Read 2913 times)
tuxedo_cat
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« on: February 28, 2012, 3:33:11 PM »

How is there *not* an opera thread around here?  I am not even a genuine Opera Freak -- a mere Opera Freak in Training.  So here goes:

I am in search of unapologetically opinionated recommendations about performers (female, male or otherwise). . . worshipful reveries, obscure trivia, gossip, snark, what-have-you.  And please, let's have a few knock-down-drag-out fights about Maria Callas.

My only rule is that you if you post a YouTube video, you must provide specs (performer, composer, piece). If you'd like the formatting to make that look pretty, here it is, from VP (insert link and info, remove spaces):

[ url=longuglyhyperlink.com ]tidy text[ /url ]

At the moment I would be happy to listen to anything recorded by Natalie Dessay or Diana Damrau.  Here are a couple:

Natalie Dessay, Bellini, "O quante volte," from I Capuleti e i Montecchi

Diana Damrau, Mozart, "Ruhe Sanft" from Zaide
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voxprincipalis
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 4:34:36 PM »

How is there *not* an opera thread around here?  I am not even a genuine Opera Freak -- a mere Opera Freak in Training.  So here goes:

I am in search of unapologetically opinionated recommendations about performers (female, male or otherwise). . . worshipful reveries, obscure trivia, gossip, snark, what-have-you.  And please, let's have a few knock-down-drag-out fights about Maria Callas.

She and I share the same birthday. Different year, obvs.

In terms of the sopranos of yesteryear, I will always love Montserrat Caballé the best, I think. Her Boheme is stunning. In terms of today's crop -- probably Anna Netrebko is my favorite at the moment. Her Lakme is crisp and sweet and delicious and cool and refreshing and bursting with flavor like a fresh-picked apple.

Do not speak to me of Danielle de Niese.

I'll post some links when I get home; my work computer is so slow that YouTube gives it conniptions.

VP


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treehugger1
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 4:37:29 PM »

How could you mention Diana Damrau and not post her remarkable Queen of the Night? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvuKxL4LOqc. (The music starts at 2:10.)

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treehugger1
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2012, 5:05:37 PM »

In the nineties, I used to love Carol Vaness. Here she is singing Donna Anna's "Non Mi Dir" in Mozart's Don Giovanni: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2RRyr9ZGQU&feature=related. Amazing technique, beauty of production, amazing legato. She makes this quite difficult aria look easy.
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sockpuppet
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2012, 5:09:18 PM »

Sarah Brightman!
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marigolds
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2012, 5:42:21 PM »

How could you mention Diana Damrau and not post her remarkable Queen of the Night? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvuKxL4LOqc. (The music starts at 2:10.)



Dizzamn.
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punchnpie
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2012, 5:51:22 PM »

I'm not a big opera fan, but my sister is a mezzo soprano who has sung all over the world. She was pulled from the chorus at the Kennedy Center by Placido Domingo to sing the role of 'Tituba' in The Crucible. She has the word 'Diva' tattooed on her shoulder. Trust me, she didn't lie. It is one thing to worship your divas from a distance. It's another thing when they are related to you.

My mother was a coloratura. Once I saw her break a glass while singing. She was accepted to Julliard, but my grandmother wouldn't let her go to New York, so she ended up giving recitals and singing in church (and living vicariously through my sister).
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voxprincipalis
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2012, 6:40:31 PM »

Montserrat Caballé and Placido Domingo, "O soave fanciulla," end-of-act-I-duet from La Boheme (Puccini)

The end, when they are offstage, is particularly breathtaking. The control over the high C is un-freaking-believable. Caballé was no real actress, but the sound recordings are divine.

And here is the Flower Duet from Delibes' Lakme, with Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca. They are so gorgeous together.

For Queen of the Night, I go against the trend (unsurprisingly) and prefer Sumi Jo. The YouTube link is a pretty crappy one in terms of video/sound quality (and is of some weirdly semi-contemporized version to boot), but I can't link to my preferred performance, which is her performance under Solti. You can hear it on one of those compilation albums -- Ultimate Divas. On the Amazon page, the clips all list Kiri Te Kanawa as the artist, but the Queen of the Night "Revenge Aria" (because on an "Ultimate Divas" album I guess you can't use the real titles) is sung by Sumi Jo.

VP
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tuxedo_cat
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2012, 7:08:15 PM »

How could you mention Diana Damrau and not post her remarkable Queen of the Night? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvuKxL4LOqc. (The music starts at 2:10.)


Yes, true!  My voice teacher says she has apparently sworn off ever performing it again.  Yup.  But she's really young, isn't she?  I confess I haven't listened to the whole thing.

So fun to see what other people like!  I just discovered "Sumi Jo," who is completely fascinating to watch -- I wonder how many of these links I can pull up at once : )

I'm not a big opera fan, but my sister is a mezzo soprano who has sung all over the world. She was pulled from the chorus at the Kennedy Center by Placido Domingo to sing the role of 'Tituba' in The Crucible. She has the word 'Diva' tattooed on her shoulder. Trust me, she didn't lie. It is one thing to worship your divas from a distance. It's another thing when they are related to you.

My mother was a coloratura. Once I saw her break a glass while singing. She was accepted to Julliard, but my grandmother wouldn't let her go to New York, so she ended up giving recitals and singing in church (and living vicariously through my sister).

Wow -- what an amazing family experience!
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chaosbydesign
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2012, 7:12:23 PM »

Ellen McLain

(Sorry. Back to your more serious opera music...)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 7:12:49 PM by chaosbydesign » Logged

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marigolds
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2012, 7:28:58 PM »

How could you mention Diana Damrau and not post her remarkable Queen of the Night? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvuKxL4LOqc. (The music starts at 2:10.)


Yes, true!  My voice teacher says she has apparently sworn off ever performing it again.  Yup.  But she's really young, isn't she?  I confess I haven't listened to the whole thing.


I wonder why? I mean, it's notoriously a difficult as hell part (watch her diaphragm jumping!) but...is it damaging?

I studied with Susan Dunn for a year or two as a private voice student (not enrolled in the program or anything.) Here's a clip of her; she has a lovely big spinto voice with so much beefy timbre to it. She's supposedly the ideal Verdi voice.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 7:29:43 PM by marigolds » Logged

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tuxedo_cat
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2012, 7:41:46 PM »

In terms of the sopranos of yesteryear, I will always love Montserrat Caballé the best, I think.

I just found her performance of "O quante volte" -- which is astonishing.  I'm a bit curious to notice that some people sing slightly different notes, esp. on descending lines -- and she actually improvises quite a bit in the closing phrases.  (I'm trying to learn this piece, in case that isn't obvious). 
 
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tuxedo_cat
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2012, 7:46:50 PM »

Ellen McLain

(Sorry. Back to your more serious opera music...)

Oh, that's quite beautiful!
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voxprincipalis
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2012, 8:13:11 PM »

In terms of the sopranos of yesteryear, I will always love Montserrat Caballé the best, I think.

I just found her performance of "O quante volte" -- which is astonishing.  I'm a bit curious to notice that some people sing slightly different notes, esp. on descending lines -- and she actually improvises quite a bit in the closing phrases.  (I'm trying to learn this piece, in case that isn't obvious). 

Just because it's faster than typing out the explanation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bel_canto

(Bellini, the composer of the opera from which that aria is taken, is kind of a definitively bel canto composer.)

VP
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tuxedo_cat
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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2012, 8:21:36 PM »

In terms of the sopranos of yesteryear, I will always love Montserrat Caballé the best, I think.

I just found her performance of "O quante volte" -- which is astonishing.  I'm a bit curious to notice that some people sing slightly different notes, esp. on descending lines -- and she actually improvises quite a bit in the closing phrases.  (I'm trying to learn this piece, in case that isn't obvious). 

Just because it's faster than typing out the explanation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bel_canto

(Bellini, the composer of the opera from which that aria is taken, is kind of a definitively bel canto composer.)

VP

omg I was *just* reading that exact article : )  Specifically because of Sumi Jo -- whose performance of that aria seems like almost an exaggeration of the "bel canto" style.  It's lovely, but it almost seems like too much.
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