Thread: Opera Small Talk

          
   
    Bookmark and Share
  1. #631
    Schigolch
    Guest
    Like any other tenor role from the beginning of the 19th century, Florestan was born to be sung in "falsettone". Later on, many Wagnerian heldentenors have tackled the part, but this was the origin. The first Florestan was Giulio Radicchi, an Italian tenor and performer of Rossini's Otello.

    It's not a very extensive role, but of course central to Fidelio. Just entering into action he has to negotiate a high G in piano, and sing both in lyrical and dramatic way. While it's true that the higher note to reach for the tenor is just a high B-flat (thrice), he needs also a solid voice to fight back the orchestra and the soprano. On the other hand it's not really a difficult role in terms of low notes.

    The most tricky thing to cast the role is find the right balance between the lyrical tenor and the more dramatic lines. My favorite historical tenor singing "Gott! welch' Dunkel hier!" is Helge Rosvaenge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_qrFUoOFgM

    Incidentally, I also like Kaufmann's version in the recording above, masterfully conducted by Claudio Abbado.

  2. #632
    Senior Member Veteran Member Aksel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    925
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Jephtha View Post
    Not even Pavarotti and Domingo dared to sing the long version of Fuor del mar when they performed Idomeneo at the Met. It has put the fear of God into most tenors who performed the role before about 1990 or so, though George Shirley sang a virile and heroic version in Colin Davis' first complete recording back in the Sixties, and several others have made decent recordings of the long version, including Araiza, Werner Hollweg and Ian Bostridge. My favorite is on the complete set conducted by Rene Jacobs. And a severely pruned (read: all fioritura cut out) version of Ich baue ganz was the norm until about 1980 or so, that is when it was included in the performance at all, which it generally wasn't.
    There's also the thing that neither of them really have any fioratura skills (and why should they, really? Their usual rep was miles away from Idomeneo).

    And I think a large reason as to all this cutting of Mozart tenor arias is the simple fact that until very recently, there really weren't many tenors that could sing them. A lot like the situation with Rossini, although they were sung. (I am looking at you, Luigi Alva)

  3. Likes Jephtha liked this post
  4. #633
    Staff Writer & Reviewer - Life-time Donor Veteran Member Jephtha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    San Jose, California
    Posts
    541
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Aksel View Post
    There's also the thing that neither of them really have any fioratura skills (and why should they, really? Their usual rep was miles away from Idomeneo).

    And I think a large reason as to all this cutting of Mozart tenor arias is the simple fact that until very recently, there really weren't many tenors that could sing them. A lot like the situation with Rossini, although they were sung. (I am looking at you, Luigi Alva)
    I think you are correct about this, Aksel. It is interesting that, for decades, we tolerated Mozartean tenor arias shorn of divisions because of this lack. I wonder how we would feel about a Queen of Night who cut the vocalises to high F in the Vengeance Aria. I was at a concert performance of Lucio Silla once, before all the great recordings of it were available in the USA, and the soprano singing Giunia sang a version of 'Ah, se il crudel periglio' that was about three minutes long because she had cut out every single bit of fioritura! I guess she thought she could get away with it because no one in the audience would know the opera. Unfortunately, I had all but memorized the work from a microfiche version of the old Gesamtausgabe in my conservatory library, and I was well aware of what she had committed. Let's face it, a Zerbinetta who cut all the 'difficult bits' out of the big aria would be booed off the stage. Why should it be any different for an opera that is not as well known?

  5. Likes Tardis liked this post
  6. #634
    Senior Member Veteran Member Aksel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    925
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Jephtha View Post
    Let's face it, a Zerbinetta who cut all the 'difficult bits' out of the big aria would be booed off the stage. Why should it be any different for an opera that is not as well known?
    It shouldn't. And I think we're realising that now that we have (very) capable singers of that kind of repertoire.

  7. #635
    Staff Writer & Reviewer - Life-time Donor Veteran Member Jephtha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    San Jose, California
    Posts
    541
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Aksel View Post
    It shouldn't. And I think we're realising that now that we have (very) capable singers of that kind of repertoire.
    Indeed. Sandrine Piau's version of 'Ah, se il crudel periglio' puts even Gruberova(on the Harnoncourt set)to shame, and she doesn't even sound like she broke a sweat doing it! There are some wonderful singers of eighteenth-century repertoire active right now.

  8. #636
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Midwestern U.S.
    Posts
    2,697
    Post Thanks / Like
    A nice little surprise in the mail yesterday: the Cincinnati Opera sent Valentine's Day greetings to its season subscribers. It's a small thing, but it shows some imagination and creativity by their marketing/PR folks.

  9. #637
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    3,632
    Post Thanks / Like
    An open letter from Joyce DiDonato.

    I love this "... please don't become a snob .."
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  10. Thanks Tardis thanked for this post
    Likes Tardis liked this post
  11. #638
    Senior Member Involved Member Tardis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    414
    Post Thanks / Like
    That was a great letter. I really admire and respect Joyce DiDonato as a singer and a person. Really liked her Master Class at Juilliard too.

  12. Likes Ann Lander (sospiro) liked this post
  13. #639
    Senior Member Involved Member Tardis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    414
    Post Thanks / Like
    I also finally got around to listening to the Milnes, Pavarotti, Sutherland recording of Rigoletto.
    Dame Sutherland's diction in it is very...interesting.

  14. Likes MAuer liked this post
  15. #640
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    3,632
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Tardis View Post
    I also finally got around to listening to the Milnes, Pavarotti, Sutherland recording of Rigoletto.
    Dame Sutherland's diction in it is very...interesting.


    that's very diplomatic
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  16. Likes Itullian liked this post
  17. #641
    Senior Member Involved Member Tardis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    414
    Post Thanks / Like
    I still can't figure out whether Kaufmann is a tenor or a baritone. He sounds SO different in his earlier years. Here is his Cosi in 1998.


    And here he is singing it in 2005

  18. Likes Amfortas liked this post
  19. #642
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Midwestern U.S.
    Posts
    2,697
    Post Thanks / Like
    And here is a National Public Radio interview with him now, talking about Wagner:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptiveca...drug-sometimes

    In 1998, Kaufmann was still in the process of learning to sing with his natural voice, under the guidance of Michael Rhodes, instead of the artificially light, typical German lyric tenor sound he'd been trying to produce since his student days. He himself has mentioned in interviews that it took a while to completely make this change, and he sounded pretty rough at times during the process. And even after he'd successfully made the transition, his voice continued to grow and darken. But when he hits those spectacular high notes, it's kind of hard to doubt that he's a tenor.

  20. #643
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3,795
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Tardis View Post
    I still can't figure out whether Kaufmann is a tenor or a baritone. He sounds SO different in his earlier years.
    Nice comparison, Tardis. And you're right, there is a great difference. Next to the first clip, the second really does sound like a baritone venturing into tenor territory!

    EDIT: And I'll leave it to MAuer above to offer a more informed response.

    P.S. Try playing both clips at the same time. Makes for a nice little duet!

  21. #644
    Senior Member Involved Member Tardis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    414
    Post Thanks / Like
    lol. Did you hear how Jacki brings up the "hind" suggestion to Jonas when they were talking about the word "rehhindin"? Well that was awkward.

    Jonas was being very, very diplomatic about Wagner as a person.
    Jonas is like, oh, Wagner had a "relationship" with Mathilde Wesendock. "She was probably his girlfriend"
    That's to put things mildly. I see that Jonas didn't mention that Wagner was married at the time.

    And then when he gets asked about why Wagner was in Switzerland.
    "He had some troubles."
    Wagner was in Switzerland because the Germany government was going to arrest him for helping incite the May uprising in Dresden against the monarchy. The guy ordered hand grenades to be made!

    Wagner was a brilliant, almost naturally talented, composer. But he was a total nutjob.

    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    And here is a National Public Radio interview with him now, talking about Wagner:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptiveca...drug-sometimes

  22. Likes MAuer liked this post
  23. #645
    Senior Member Involved Member Tardis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    414
    Post Thanks / Like
    I am still not convinced that there ARE many tenors that can sing Mozart tenor arias well.
    Although I will say, I really like Ramon Vargas and I think he does a good job handling some of the often-cut tenor arias.
    Other than Francisco Araiza, I really haven't heard anyone sing "Ah Lo Veggio" well.
    And for "Se all'impero", Kaufmann is probably the only one I would say who manages the runs AND hits that high note at the end well. Every other tenor just seems like they run out of air at that point and you can practically see the strain for that last leaping high note.

    And it's not just the technical difficulties that have to be surmounted. It's also being emotionally expressive at the same time.
    Vocal teachers seem to like throwing Mozart to young singers. Well, it's great that singers can sing Mozart technically well, but sometimes it's a little frustrating because you can almost see the gears going around as they are singing the Mozart aria.
    Seriously, take a look at Kaufmann's earlier "Un aura amorosa". He's staring at the ceiling most of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jephtha View Post
    I think you are correct about this, Aksel. It is interesting that, for decades, we tolerated Mozartean tenor arias shorn of divisions because of this lack. I wonder how we would feel about a Queen of Night who cut the vocalises to high F in the Vengeance Aria. I was at a concert performance of Lucio Silla once, before all the great recordings of it were available in the USA, and the soprano singing Giunia sang a version of 'Ah, se il crudel periglio' that was about three minutes long because she had cut out every single bit of fioritura! I guess she thought she could get away with it because no one in the audience would know the opera. Unfortunately, I had all but memorized the work from a microfiche version of the old Gesamtausgabe in my conservatory library, and I was well aware of what she had committed. Let's face it, a Zerbinetta who cut all the 'difficult bits' out of the big aria would be booed off the stage. Why should it be any different for an opera that is not as well known?

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


free html visitor counters
hit counter




Official Media Partners of Opera Carolina

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Opera Carolina

Official Media Partners of NC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of North Carolina Opera

Official Media Partners of Greensboro Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Greensboro Opera

Official Media Partners of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute and Piedmont Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute
of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Piedmont Opera

Official Media Partners of Asheville Lyric Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Asheville Lyric Opera

Official Media Partners of UNC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of UNC Opera
Dept. of Music, UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences

www.operalively.com

VISIT WWW.OPERALIVELY.COM FOR ALL YOUR OPERA NEEDS