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Thread: Which Opera Singer Had the Biggest Voice You've Ever Heard?

  1. #31
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couac Addict View Post
    That's because you're all Kiri Crazy in New Zealand.
    I'm a Pom, so I don't feel I have to love all the Kiwis. But Kiri is lovely in the right repertoire.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    This New York Times article will do a better job than me.
    Thanks for the info.
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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  4. #33
    Senior Member Revenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Operafocus View Post
    [....] Then he added his recollection of what it had sounded like at the Met:
    "[/COLOR]Mario Del Monaco’s delivery of “Celeste Aida” received an ovation that I have not heard since those halcyon days of super-powered phrasing and crashing high notes. His high B-flat at the end of “Celeste Aida” evoked a response from the audience that could be best described as sheer hysteria. The enormous volume and blazing brilliance of that note reached down into the viscera of the receptive listener and caused every fiber of the body to quiver with wild, erotic pleasure."
    Back then they could've been arrested for that in a theatre. Now too (probably).
    "No preluding! Piano pianissimo -- then all will be well." (Posted in the orchestra pit on August 13, 1876)

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  6. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    My point about beauty, dynamic control and phrasing is exactly here. This B flat is supposed to be sung diminuendo, so in this case I'd be anything but a receptive listener - I'd just be wondering why he's yelling. Presumably just because he has a big voice and he can.
    No argument against MdM here - so many tenors skip the diminuendo that it's almost customary. The funny thing is that your favourite tenor is Domingo, a fellow that couldn't do any great dynamic nuance even when he sung the ending of Celeste Aida with falsetto (Budapest performance from 80's). If you can stand that kind of thing, there is no reason to dislike loud ending by del Monaco - at least it's musical, well projected note (much more than most of contemporary tenors may give you here).

    Also, I don't know if it's TC where I recall this quote from, but here is what the great singer himself had to say on the subject:

    However many people may disagree with me, let me tell you that the abuse of pianos and pianissimos end by becoming the cancer of a voice. Twice in my beginnings I almost lost my instrument by using this system of reducing and reducing the voice. It works for light voices, but not for large ones. A solid instrument must open the larynx a lot, or it loses the support. Listen to Caruso's recordings--he always sang full voice. To make the sound pliable, smooth and mellow is another matter and this is what I worked toward during my entire professional life. It is very much like a person who becomes hooked on remaining thin and eats very little. Eventually the stomach becomes smaller and to enlarge it again is impossible.

    Regards,
    the offical stand-for-MdM geezer
    Last edited by Aramis; Oct-28-2013 at 19:20.

  7. #35
    Senior Member deggial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Operafocus View Post
    Then he added his recollection of what it had sounded like at the Met:
    "Mario Del Monaco’s delivery of “Celeste Aida” received an ovation that I have not heard since those halcyon days of super-powered phrasing and crashing high notes. His high B-flat at the end of “Celeste Aida” evoked a response from the audience that could be best described as sheer hysteria. The enormous volume and blazing brilliance of that note reached down into the viscera of the receptive listener and caused every fiber of the body to quiver with wild, erotic pleasure."
    I understand the need for that kind of thrill, but if sheer decibel is what I was looking for I'd go to a rock concert. I've been to plenty where your whole body reverberates with (amplified) sound. As far as opera singers go I'd rather they not yell at me.

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  9. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by deggial View Post
    As far as opera singers go I'd rather they not yell at me.
    Yell at you!
    'Zounds, I will yell at deggial; and let my soul
    Want mercy, if I do not join with del Monaco on this:
    He said he would not listen to Mario;
    Forbad singer's tongue to yell;
    But I will find him when he lies asleep,
    And in his ear I'll holla 'Vicino al sol!'
    Nay, I'll have a starling shall be taught to yell
    Nothing but 'Vicino al sol' in ff and give it to deggial
    To keep his anger still in motion.
    Last edited by Aramis; Oct-28-2013 at 19:50.

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  11. #37
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    The end of "Celeste Aida" is marked in the score as pp and morendo. For sure, a very different sound than the one produced by Mr. Del Monaco... and by many others, as well. This is a very good approach to how it should be sung, even though is in German (Holde Aida):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc3UcK7gKKo

    However, the tenor Giuseppe Capponi was unable to follow Verdi's score (he was hardly alone in that) and the composer wrote an oppure for him, avoiding the dificcult ending, with the voice ascending to the high b-flat as Ramses, madly in love, is supposed to raise a throne for Aida just there, next to the Sun. This oppure should be the choice when the original markings can't be sung, instead of going for a shouting competition, in my view.

  12. #38
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Anyone wanting to hear Celeste Aida superbly should listen to Bergonzi on the a Decca Karajan. You don't. Need to Beasley the place down!

    Also anyone doubting the size if Birgit's voice to listen to the end of 'I could have danced all night!' The end note would scatter prospectives partners for miles around.

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  14. #39
    Senior Member Revenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    Yell at you!
    'Zounds, I will yell at deggial; and let my soul
    Want mercy, if I do not join with del Monaco on this:
    He said he would not listen to Mario;
    Forbad singer's tongue to yell;
    But I will find him when he lies asleep,
    And in his ear I'll holla 'Vicino al sol!'
    Nay, I'll have a starling shall be taught to yell
    Nothing but 'Vicino al sol' in ff and give it to deggial
    To keep his anger still in motion.
    Remember, Hotspur: "....food for...."[dies]... "for worms, noble Percy." (I tried to take it easy on the dot dots.)
    "No preluding! Piano pianissimo -- then all will be well." (Posted in the orchestra pit on August 13, 1876)

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    Senior Member Don Fatale's Avatar
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    I assumed this thread would be about Gwyneth Jones but it looks like it falls to me to add her to the list. I'm interested to read the other names as they are among my favourites on record.

    Gwyneth Jones singing Turandot at Royal Opera House was certainly memorable. (Alas my only encounter with her.) I was at the back of the amphitheatre and some tourists nearby expressed the opinion that 'they should turn her volume down'. She was awesome!

    I'm guessing that only the big voices need apply for the major roles at Verona Arena. What a task that must be.
    Last edited by Don Fatale; Oct-29-2013 at 08:59.

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  17. #41
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander View Post
    I assumed this thread would be about Gwyneth Jones but it looks like it falls to me to add her to the list. I'm interested to read the other names as the constitute some of my favourites on record.

    Gwyneth Jones singing Turandot at Royal Opera House was certainly memorable. (Alas my only encounter with her.) I was at the back of the amphitheatre and some tourists nearby expressed the opinion that 'they should turn her volume down'. She was awesome!

    I'm guessing that only the big voices need apply for the major roles at Verona Arena. What a task that must be.
    I heard Miss Jones at her peak in Bayreuth from backstage seats. I was too young to know what I was listening to and I have a feeling the voice expanded out in the house. If only I could go back and hear her again in 1975 with my ears today! I've been told she was like a wall of sound sitting in the back of a house.

  18. #42
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    The funny thing is that your favourite tenor is Domingo, a fellow that couldn't do any great dynamic nuance even when he sung the ending of Celeste Aida with falsetto (Budapest performance from 80's).
    Was. Now it's Kaufmann and he does the diminuendo.
    Natalie

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  20. #43
    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deggial View Post
    I understand the need for that kind of thrill, but if sheer decibel is what I was looking for I'd go to a rock concert. I've been to plenty where your whole body reverberates with (amplified) sound. As far as opera singers go I'd rather they not yell at me.
    Bit difficult to sing Otello without "yelling."
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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  22. #44
    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander View Post
    I assumed this thread would be about Gwyneth Jones but it looks like it falls to me to add her to the list. I'm interested to read the other names as the constitute some of my favourites on record.

    Gwyneth Jones singing Turandot at Royal Opera House was certainly memorable. (Alas my only encounter with her.) I was at the back of the amphitheatre and some tourists nearby expressed the opinion that 'they should turn her volume down'. She was awesome!

    I'm guessing that only the big voices need apply for the major roles at Verona Arena. What a task that must be.
    Eva Turner was the greatest Turandot and apparently her voice could be heard outside Covent Garden in the street.
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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  24. #45
    Senior Member Operafocus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moody View Post
    Eva Turner was the greatest Turandot and apparently her voice could be heard outside Covent Garden in the street.
    Zinka Milanov is said to have had a voice like that. You know, the kind where you´d sit in on the 2nd balcony if you had a toupée.

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