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Thread: Stefan Zucker's Opera Fanatic

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    Senior Member Tuoksu's Avatar
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    Default Stefan Zucker's Opera Fanatic

    I wonder if any of you has seen Stefan Zucker's 1999 documentary "Opera Fanatic" in which he interviewed some of the greatest divas of the 20th Century such as Fedora Barbieri, Leyla Gencer, Anita Cerquetti, Giulietta Simionato, Iris Adami-Corradetti, Carla Gavazzi, Gina Cigna, Gigliola Frazzoni and Marcella Pobbe. They discuss chest voice, style, vocal technique, expression etc. But there are tons of funny moments especially with Barbieri and Gencer.

    What's stunning in this movie is the divas' views on chest voice. Some are strongly against it (Barbieri) and claim they never used it. Some deny its existence altogether (Simionato), and some say it's okay to use it if it comes naturally(Pobbe). Gencer and Gavazzi find it preposterous that other divas are against chest voice and even deny they ever used it.

    My conclusion from that is, the term "chest voice" is somewhat misleading. Barbieri and Simionato cringed at the word and even demonstrated the difference between what is correct and what is archifaux according to them that is "chest voice".
    In case you're interested, a part of the film is on youtube. Here is the first part:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R2mdzDhSvU

    The version I have downloaded is of a much better quality and I have watched it over 5 times in the last couple of years. Every time it makes me laugh and I get something new out of it.
    Last edited by Tuoksu; Dec-26-2016 at 20:26.

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    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    I find him very irritating, a bad interviewer, his falsetto speaking voice makes him sound like a Looney Tune character.... but, he was able to interview singers no one else documented on film.
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Dec-26-2016 at 21:19.

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    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Regarding the chest voice.... if Marilyn Horne believed that there was a chest voice and that she used it..... the I KNOW there is a chest voice and it is appropriate in the right circumstances.

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    Senior Member Tuoksu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    I find him very irritating, a bad interviewer, his falsetto speaking voice makes him sound like a Looney Tune character.... but, he was able to interview singers no one else documented on film.
    yes he is totally annoying. Especially the way he keeps repeating "quali sono i diversi aspetti del canto espressivo?"
    And he keeps bringing up his mother, one would think she was a great singer while in fact they're both jokes.

    Still, all that didn't take from the quality of the documentary for me, regardless of the fact that he is indeed a bad interviewer. It's the divas' contribution that made it worthwhile.

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    Senior Member Tuoksu's Avatar
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    I guess those singers are simply against the word "chest voice" because to their knowledge it implies a forced chest-supported voice (like Simionato and Barbieri demonstrated) as opposed to the sul-fiato voice projected in maschera. Appoggio singers seem to shun placements and consider the voice as one unique register.
    Last edited by Tuoksu; Dec-26-2016 at 21:33.

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    I used to listen to Stefan Zucker's opera program on WKCR of Columbia University . It was a hoot !
    Tucker does have a rather irritating voice, but his knowledge of opera and vocal technique is unsurpassed and his guests were always interesting , even if irritatingly opinionated themselves. You could call in and comment , too , which I open did .
    Zucker is advertised as the "world's highest tenor", with the ability to sing the highest notes ever sung by a tenor, supposedly .

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    Senior Member Tuoksu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superhorn View Post
    I used to listen to Stefan Zucker's opera program on WKCR of Columbia University . It was a hoot !
    Tucker does have a rather irritating voice, but his knowledge of opera and vocal technique is unsurpassed and his guests were always interesting , even if irritatingly opinionated themselves. You could call in and comment , too , which I open did .
    Zucker is advertised as the "world's highest tenor", with the ability to sing the highest notes ever sung by a tenor, supposedly .
    That sounds very interesting! I wish I could listen to that. I agree with you, he is self-styled "Italian Opera Expert" and he lives up to it from what I saw in the documentary. His views on vocal technique are so insightful and like I said in the OP, every time I rewatch Opera Fanatic I get something new out of it. He, along with Franco Tenelli, helped me understand many things about singing.
    Yes, he does claim to be the world's highest tenor, but I guess we all agree that he shouldn't be singing nonetheless...

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    Stefan Zucker is a unique person and an out-of-the-box interviewer. Corelli was a close friend of his family and he used to interview him regularly on his radio show.
    His Opera Fanatic was a most interesting documentary and, regardless of how you might feel about his voice (it's not exactly like he fakes it you know!), he is an excellent interviewer.
    His Franco Corelli and a Revolution in Singing is a serious treatise on tenors.
    This is a man not to be taken lightly or made a fool of because of his unusual voice.
    He has contributed a lot to the opera world and deserves some respect for that regardless of what you might think of him personally.

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    Senior Member Pugg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    Regarding the chest voice.... if Marilyn Horne believed that there was a chest voice and that she used it..... the I KNOW there is a chest voice and it is appropriate in the right circumstances.
    Amen to this!.................
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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