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Thread: Favorite melisma?

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    Default Favorite melisma?

    Inspired in part by the earworms thread since I've had it in my head the last few days, I love love love the melisma at the end of Olympia's scene in Tales of Hoffmann. Or is it more properly a vocalise?
    Anyway, the part that starts at 50:09 here:

    What are your favorites?
    -Ian

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    Senior Member deggial's Avatar
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    oh dear, where to begin? I might not have heard one I didn't love, it's that bad. I'm rushing to work but here are two of my very, very favourite arias that contain some badass melismas that have defeated more than one singer:

    Ah, se il crudel periglio (Grubi's dress just adds to the excitement )

    Come nembo sorry for the poor live sound quality but Hallenberg just rocks the melisma in this aria

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    Quote Originally Posted by rgz View Post
    Inspired in part by the earworms thread since I've had it in my head the last few days, I love love love the melisma at the end of Olympia's scene in Tales of Hoffmann. Or is it more properly a vocalise?
    Anyway, the part that starts at 50:09 here:

    What are your favorites?
    Ah... Voici les valseurs. Dessay played this role many, many times (she's not much bigger than a doll)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-T1Q-JA8Wg

    Dig out the Sutherland recording if you haven't heard it (I couldn't find anything on youtube). Every note as clear as a bell.

    As for a favourite? No idea. Pick a Rossini opera and may the melisma with the most notes win.
    Last edited by Couac Addict; Oct-31-2013 at 15:04.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Couac Addict View Post
    Pick a Rossini opera and may the melisma with the most notes win.
    O Fiamma Soave?

    I dislike many of Rossini's. Not all (some are really great) but many of them come with conventional cadenzas devoid of any musical beauty and context. Instead, I'd rather have the magnificent, flowing melismas in the way that Bellini and Mozart had them.
    Last edited by Aramis; Oct-31-2013 at 15:34.

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    Senior Member HumphreyAppleby's Avatar
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    And check out the cadenza w/ high note at the end. Wow.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXoZ4AM61Wk

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    I just looked up the definition of "melisma," and it says it's a series of notes sung on the same syllable. A cadenza must qualify as a melisma, then?

    I too love the melisma at the end of the Olympia scene in HOFFMANN. One of my favorite cadenzas is the long one that ends the baritone's aria, "Lina, pensai ch'un angelo," in Verdi's STIFFELIO. But my all-time favorite melisma is the one Lucia di Lammermoor sings during her Mad Scene when she vocalizes on the "a" of the word "sara": "Del ciel clemente, clemente un riso, la vita a noi, a noi sara..." That whole phrase, words and all, is certainly one of my favorites in bel canto opera.

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    Senior Member Couac Addict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    O Fiamma Soave?

    I dislike many of Rossini's. Not all (some are really great) but many of them come with conventional cadenzas devoid of any musical beauty and context. Instead, I'd rather have the magnificent, flowing melismas in the way that Bellini and Mozart had them.
    It was just a trite response meaning that Rossini overused these to appease his leading ladies.
    Honestly, Mariah Carey killed the melisma for me back in the 90s. I'm still in recovery.

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    The last "Amen" before the bar's rest in Messiah. First those cascading downward scales as each choral voice enters, then that upward leap before the final descent to the fermata. Simply glorious.

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