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Thread: Which professional contralto would you consider to be the best you have ever heard?

  1. #31
    Senior Member gardibolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SalieriIsInnocent View Post
    Delphine Galou is another one I quite enjoy:



    .
    I have recently become a huge fan of Delphine Galou, starting with her recent discs of Vivaldi sacred and secular music on Naive. Absolutely stunning voice, and that Erbarme dich is something else.
    Last edited by gardibolt; Oct-08-2019 at 21:46.
    Hours of unrecorded, unpublished and unknown Beethoven works at The Unheard Beethoven

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  3. #32
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    Among recent artists, has Jamie Barton been mentioned?

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    For me, it has been Kathleen Ferrier on records, particularly her recordings with Bruno Walter, and in concert & on records, Maureen Forrester. I first heard Forrester sing a Mahler orchestral song cycle in the 1980s, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and her performance left an indelible impression on me. Mahler is an ideal composer for great contraltos, & Brahms too.

    The following 1949 Edinburgh Festival recital sung by Ferrier, with Walter on the piano, shows Ferrier at her best I think: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZzJFoDa2co

    Here too is a clip of Forrester singing Mahler's Rückert-Lieder, with the RIAS Sinfonieorchester, conducted by Ferenc Fricsay, in 1958: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxnr21cs7Rc. (It's a beautiful performance, though I still prefer mezzo soprano Dame Janet Baker's recording with Sir John Barbirolli, which is a desert island disc of mine.)

    Here also is Forrester singing the Urlicht movement from Mahler's 2nd Symphony, with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Bruno Walter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNO8...SO5HFk&index=4

    & Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under Fritz Reiner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56i8r1qqKUI.

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  6. #34
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    I am a big fan of deep voices; I much prefer contraltos and basses to sopranos and tenors! Eugenia Mantelli, Jeanne Gerville-Réache, Louise Homer, Louise Kirkby Lunn, Clara Butt and Sigrid Onegin are all delightful in a variety of ways. Mantelli’s Rossinian style is perfect. Homer’s control is astounding. And it’s the sheer power of Butt’s instrument that amazes.

    I’m exceedingly flattered when compared to Kathleen Ferrier, although I know it’s because her teacher also taught my teacher, so some similarity is passed on. There’s something so touching in her voice.

    But the one I turn to again and again is Eula Beal. I wish I had a record of hers!


  7. #35
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    I am a big fan of deep voices; I much prefer contraltos and basses to sopranos and tenors! Eugenia Mantelli, Jeanne Gerville-Réache, Louise Homer, Louise Kirkby Lunn, Clara Butt and Sigrid Onegin are all delightful in a variety of ways. Mantelli’s Rossinian style is perfect. Homer’s control is astounding. And it’s the sheer power of Butt’s instrument that amazes.

    I’m exceedingly flattered when compared to Kathleen Ferrier, although I know it’s because her teacher also taught my teacher, so some similarity is passed on. There’s something so touching in her voice.

    But the one I turn to again and again is Eula Beal. I wish I had a record of hers!


  8. #36
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    Thank you all for these recommendations. I have listened to recordings of most of these singers and they are all great. The best one for me is definitely Delphine Galou.

  9. #37
    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if we are talking about modern contraltos or past ones or both, but one of my favorites of all time is Jean Madeira. Other greats of the past are Kathleen Ferrier, Marian Anderson, and Ernestine Schumann-Heink. A more recent contralto that I like is Ewa Podleś. I like the video of her that SixFootScowl and BaritoneAssoluto posted.

    Here is a recording of Jean Madeira:



    I've seen her referred to both as a mezzo-soprano and a contralto, but to me she was definitely more of a contralto. Even in her recording of Carmen she sounds very much like a contralto. You also might want to look up some recordings of her singing Klytämnestra as well. She sounded spectacular in that role.
    Last edited by adriesba; Apr-22-2020 at 03:08.

  10. #38
    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Ortrun Wenkel/ Ewa Podles /Kathleen Ferrier/ Aafje Heynis .
    All great in their own field.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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  12. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Knox View Post
    Among recent artists, has Jamie Barton been mentioned?
    I think she is a mezzo. She is great though.

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  14. #40
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    I think you're right but she started as a contralto I believe.

    Marie-Nicole Lemieux has been a contralto from the beginning -- check out this 2019 recording!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efpMqLUl-fI

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  16. #41
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    Listened to a Aafje Heynis CD. Stupendous voice!

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  18. #42
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    Hard to choose between Hilary Summers. Hilary for golden gloss, Ewa for sheer thermonuclear power.

  19. #43
    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Doris Soffel - Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix (Samson et Dalila)
    No matter what you call it, still gorgeous .
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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  21. #44
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Contraltos rather than mezzos

    Ferrier

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