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Thread: Is it okay to cheat????

  1. #31
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    It's meaningless to conflate the common practice of transposing an aria or leaving out a couple of high Cs with singing flat because your range has shrunk and you're no longer capable of singing in tune. It would have been less damaging to the music, though no doubt impractical, to transpose the whole Immolation Scene down a half step, assuming that would have solved the problem. Given that concert pitch varied from place to place by at least a half step in 1876, there's really no artistic objection to doing it.
    I think Dame Joan had the right attitude for a singer of a certain reputation. She often sang better than most anyone in her fach still when she was in her late 50's and early 60's and would transpose arias down so she didn't have to sing above a C# or D. Her devoted fans were likely not bothered by this so they could still hear her sing in her repertoire. On the other hand, if you move from Bel Canto to Wagner, I don't think the audience would be so forgiving. Different audience.

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  3. #32
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    It's really a question of musical style and context. In concert you can transpose almost anything by a half or even a whole step and only the very few listeners with perfect pitch will know the difference or care. In "numbers" operas transposition may not be noticeable either. It doesn't matter if "Casta diva" is taken down a step from G to F, as it usually is; I had no idea it was written in G until I read that Sutherland sang it in G, and for all we know the effective pitch in 19th century performances was anything from E to A, depending on what key it was sung in and what pitch orchestras tuned to. Composers no doubt chose keys with their local tuning in mind, but they were certainly aware that pitch would vary from city to city. In any case transposition was an accepted expedient to accommodate singers, and not a guilty secret, well into the 19th century.

    Through-composed operas are a different matter, since transposing portions of them will at best land you in some jarring key relationships, and at worst require recomposition of the music to smooth over the awkward transitions that would result. It's difficult to imagine transposing any part of Otello or Tristan shorter than an entire act.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Jun-09-2018 at 19:20.

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  5. #33
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Of course it's OK to cheat occasionally if you don't alter the thing too much. The great composers altered their operas depending who they had singing. Frankly whop cares as long as the performance is convincing.

  6. #34
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    For some vocalists, no good deed and their strict adherence to the score goes unpunished.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jun-10-2018 at 06:19.
    Great things are done by a series of small things brought together...Vincent Van Gogh

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    Senior Member EddieRUKiddingVarese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogerx View Post
    wrong thread, sorry
    Right thread wrong planet
    "Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes"
    ÉddïéRÛKíddîngVãrèsë! -I got a dog and not sure what to call it DoggydogdogMcDogface maybe............

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