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  1. #481
    Staff Writer & Reviewer - Life-time Donor Veteran Member Jephtha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aksel View Post
    I'd say Gelb is completely justified calling Dessay fragile. She's pulled out of quite a few performances recently.
    She was also talking about retiring the other day on the Walküre broadcast.
    More and more she reminds me of Stratas, who also canceled at the drop of a hat, and actually did retire and come back several times.

  2. #482
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jephtha View Post
    More and more she reminds me of Stratas, who also canceled at the drop of a hat, and actually did retire and come back several times.
    Plus they both *look* fragile.

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  4. #483
    Staff Writer & Reviewer - Life-time Donor Veteran Member Jephtha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    Plus they both *look* fragile.
    Yes, Stratas had that 'waif' look down pat. The only one to rival her was Audrey Hepburn, in her gamine period.

  5. #484
    Schigolch
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    Magda Olivero, on singing's teachers:

    http://www.gramilano.com/2012/04/mag...-of-any-worth/

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  7. #485
    Staff Writer & Reviewer - Life-time Donor Veteran Member Jephtha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schigolch View Post
    Magda Olivero, on singing's teachers:

    http://www.gramilano.com/2012/04/mag...-of-any-worth/
    What a pleasure to read these words of wisdom from a great artist. Even in the eighteenth century, voice students were kept solely on exercises for quite a long time, in order to build the technique. And I think she is 100% correct about breathing and support. If the foundation is not there, the voice is headed for disaster.

  8. #486
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jephtha View Post
    What a pleasure to read these words of wisdom from a great artist. Even in the eighteenth century, voice students were kept solely on exercises for quite a long time, in order to build the technique. And I think she is 100% correct about breathing and support. If the foundation is not there, the voice is headed for disaster.
    If I weren't so hopelessly behind in my interview transcripts, you'd hear Frederica von Stade saying the same, and insightful nice youngster Jessica Pratt saying the same. Coming soon... or not so soon.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #487
    Staff Writer & Reviewer - Life-time Donor Veteran Member Jephtha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    If I weren't so hopelessly behind in my interview transcripts, you'd hear Frederica von Stade saying the same, and insightful nice youngster Jessica Pratt saying the same. Coming soon... or not so soon.
    As a flute student at conservatory, I played four hours of exercises daily before going on to my regular solo and orchestral practice. I always concentrated on legato and purity of tone, and I was thrilled when one of the voice majors one day told me she thought I had a very vocal quality to my playing. That is what I always strove for, but it was the technical exercises that did it. They were tedious and boring, but they paid off. If only today's young singers concentrated more on this aspect, we might actually have a new generation of Wagner singers who could be heard over (or through!) the orchestra.

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  11. #488
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    But maybe Magda Olivero is exaggerating a bit.
    All this talk about "today's singers... blah, blah, blah..."
    Yes, the phenomenon of throwing young singers into the fire for easy profits does exist (Jessica Pratt goes on and on about it, in a very courageous interview, you'll see) but we do have singers who are very savvy in the way they manage their careers, and very much in tune with the need for accurate technique. I'd quote Mr. Piotr Beczala as one.

    Often, the problem is, not a sufficient degree of separation.

    When we look at today's singers and say this and that, we forget that in all eras, there were singers burning like straw fire, and there were the few who stood the test of time.

    We're too close to today's singers... we are not yet seeing which ones among them will stand the test of time.

    I think Piotr Beczala will... Joyce DiDonato will... Waltraud Meier will... These are all singers who command accurate technique. So, we see the big masses getting all the Met in HD broadcasts and all the diffusion... but only a few of them will remain.

    Like it's always been the case in the history of opera.

    We just need to walk backward a little and look at the big picture.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); April 17th, 2013 at 05:09 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  13. #489
    Senior Member Veteran Member Aksel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    When we look at today's singers and say this and that, we forget that in all eras, there were singers burning like straw fire, and there the few who stood the test of time.
    Yes. This. So much this.

  14. #490
    Schigolch
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    Netrebko sings Tatyana on stage for the first time:


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  16. #491
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schigolch View Post
    Netrebko sings Tatyana on stage for the first time:

    Interesting set. I'm going to be catching this production in Vienna with my wife. Well, after my comments in my other thread about Stoyanova being unable to pull off a 13-year old Tatyana, I see Anya is not quite there either, but at least a lot closer!

  17. #492
    Schigolch
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    Well, I do agree Tatyana, in Pushkin's poem, is a very young girl, though I'd say rather between 15 and 17 years old. In any case, the magic of Opera is conveyed thru the voice of the singer, rather than her appearance, for many people.

  18. #493
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Though some folks we know won't complain about La Bellissima's appearance, either!

  19. #494
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Well, I have to report the following. I have a really close (as in, one of the best) friend who is a Nuclear Medicine/Radiology/Interventional Cardioly specialist at Duke University, who just got promoted to be the head of the Nuclear Medicine department, and in this busy life of a top, world-class specialist in one of the most technological medical specialties at a top-5 medical school, has never had time for the arts. Well, I've always suspected my friend of being capable of artistic appreciation, given that he is highly intelligent (wouldn't be in the position he is in, without a rather hefty IQ). I thought, it was merely a question of lack of exposure. So, given that my friend is decisively heterosexual with a good dose of appreciation for the ladies' - cough cough, assets - I thought that the way to hook him up, would be to expose him to La Bellissima's gifts.

    So, we had a gorgeous meal at the best restaurant in town to celebrate his promotion, and a bit tipsy from the tasting menu/wine pairing generous selections and with his guard down, I thought - "that's it! That's the opportunity I've been waiting for, to have the opera bug bite him." Of course, the conversation around the table went on to include what I've been doing lately, and my friend was puzzled with the time I've been spending on this art form - asking - "You know, maybe it's beautiful music and all, but all those fat ladies with horns and breast plates singing high notes to break glasses; is it really worth spending countless hours on it? We haven't seen you at our barbecues and pool-side parties and all because you've been too busy with this darn opera of yours."

    So, I said, "OK, let's pay the tab and head back to my place; there's some good wine there for a night cap, and I'll demonstrate to you why I'm spending all this time around opera. I'm prepared to bet [a large amount of money that covered the tab at the restaurant] that by the end of the evening, you'll understand, and you'll agree with me that opera is a worthy pursuit. So, if I fail to convince you, tonight's tab is on me and I'll refund to you the share of the tab that you paid. If I do sway you, well, you'll have to eat it up, and refund me."

    Since only alpha males with a competitive edge get to the position he's being promoted to hold, of course he took the bait.

    Then, I gave him a mini-lecture on Verdi's life, the circumstances of composition of La Traviata, and a bit on the musical structure of it. Over, first, some champagne and gourmet chocolate, then a remarkable Côtes du Roussilon Villages Latour de France appelation, 2010 Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem, I fired up Anna's blu-ray from Salzburg 2005.

    Oh! My! God! As I expected, my friend not only understood the exquisite music, but highly appreciated the dramatic impact. He made insightful comments about the music, and said he had never imagined that opera could be such an amazing and rewarding art-form. And then, of course, he was completely in love with Anna's looks. He couldn't believe it!

    Then, well, and that's why all this rant is relevant to the discussion - he said, "OK, that's how she looked in 2005; eight years later, how does she look, now?"

    I then played for him more recent Anna clips. Hmm... OK. A husband and a son later. Eight more years on her shoulders. A significant number of pounds added to her figure.

    Result? My friend found her even more enticing now, than as the skinny youthful figure she had in 2005.

    He said, "whoa, this is a real woman! A substantial woman, with curves, and in total mastery of her sex appeal; not some youthful-looking one against whom any teenager can compete. Getting to her age and to a more ponderous figure without losing any of her extreme power of seduction - not to forget her gorgeous voice - is not for just any young girl. OK, I like her more the way she is now!"

    Well, to make a long story short, I won the bet. My friend now wants to get to know other operas, and wants me to invite him anytime there is live opera going on in our region. He said he *must* get to know this outstanding art form.

    Anna, 1x0 for you. Thank you for converting another one!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  20. #495
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schigolch View Post
    Well, I do agree Tatyana, in Pushkin's poem, is a very young girl, though I'd say rather between 15 and 17 years old. In any case, the magic of Opera is conveyed thru the voice of the singer, rather than her appearance, for many people.
    Well, I sent you a private message and afterwards, immediately realized that I can't really say anything about Tchaikovsky's Tatyana. She may very well have been 15-17. However, I can speak about Pushkin's Tatyana, and by extension, Tchaikovsky's, to the extent that he followed Pushkin. From Pushkin, Eugene Onegin, Book 4:
    Кому не скучно лицемерить,
    Различно повторять одно,
    Стараться важно в том уверить,
    В чем все уверены давно,
    Всё те же слышать возраженья,
    Уничтожать предрассужденья,
    Которых не было и нет
    У девочки в тринадцать лет!
    Rough translation:
    Who is not bored with posturing,
    Tired of repeating the same words,
    To try to convince on,
    That which everyone already knows,
    Always the same objections,
    Make the same corrections to prejudices,
    Which never exist,
    In girls of thirteen years old.
    I think in this day and age, most people would agree that a girl of merely 13 is too young to do anything or be anything except a girl, but we forget that in Pushkin's time it was very different and children, whether boys or girls, matured much more quickly than they do now.

    [EDIT: OK, I see I misread you. You were indeed speaking of Pushkin's Tatyana and not Tchaikovsky's. Yes, in that case I have to say that Pushkin's Tatyana was definitely 13, as you see above.]

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