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Thread: Praise be! - I'm converted...

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Tristan's age is really irrelevant, isn't it? I see nothing in the opera that requires him to be of a particular age. If we need to be literalists (but why do we?) middle age in Medieval times was probably around twenty-seven, and King Marke would have been old at forty-five. All this obsessing about age and singers looking the theoretical age of their characters is pointless and silly.
    And yet I wouldn't mind betting that the perfect age for Donna Anna or the Countess in Figaro is exactly the age of the diva playing her at that precise moment!

    N.

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  3. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    We are also expected to belive she is the most beautiful woman ever which if you look at certain singers who have taken the part - mentioning no names - does stretch credibility. However I prefer not to have my credibility stretched too far. That is why with Wagner I find audio generally preferable.
    However aesthetics changes according to time and place and who knows what was considered beautiful in China in a legendary past.

    N.

  4. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    And yet I wouldn't mind betting that the perfect age for Donna Anna or the Countess in Figaro is exactly the age of the diva playing her at that precise moment!

    N.
    In actual fact both would still be young. Donna Anna is a young, unmarried woman being courted by a nobleman. Note also that Don Giovanni is described as a 'licentious young nobleman'. And as the marriage of Figaro takes place just three years after the barber of Seville then the Countess would still be a young woman
    Last edited by DavidA; Sep-20-2018 at 10:59.

  5. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    However aesthetics changes according to time and place and who knows what was considered beautiful in China in a legendary past.

    N.
    The problem is that it was written for a late 19th century audience. And on HD has to relate to a 21st century one. This is not obsessing about things but seeking to relate to a modern audience and how they see things. The days of the fat lady singing are numbered! See this interview with Marilyn Horne about what she calls 'Big Berthas'

    https://www.politico.com/states/new-...ent-art-000000
    Last edited by DavidA; Sep-20-2018 at 10:22.

  6. #50
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    Seeing as there are too many singers these days who can't hit all the notes in the score and even when they do there's often very little in the way of characterisation, I'm far more concerned whether a singer can sing or not rather than whether they look like a model or not.

    N.

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  8. #51
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    Seeing as there are too many singers these days who can't hit all the notes in the score and even when they do there's often very little in the way of characterisation, I'm far more concerned whether a singer can sing or not rather than whether they look like a model or not.

    N.

    When I see an opera it's also important that the characters approximate to what the libretto says they are. I would have thought anyone interested in dramatic art would see this

  9. #52
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    The days of the fat lady singing are numbered!
    That sounds threatening.

    Just for some historical perspective, photos of leading opera singers from 100 years ago don't reveal a higher rate of obesity than we see now, and probably a lower one. Famous Wagnerian sopranos - the "fat ladies" who sing at the end of the opera - such as Lilli Lehmann, Nanny Larsen Todsen, Frida Leider, Marjorie Lawrence, Marta Fuchs, Germaine Lubin, Kirsten Flagstad, Birgit Nilsson, Astrid Varnay and Martha Modl - may have been full-figured or sturdily built, but for most of their careers they weren't really fat. The reputation of singers for girth was acquired at a time when most people were slim, as compared to today when over two-thirds of Americans are considered obese. A number of today's leading singers are girthier than any of the ladies listed above.

    I'd say that opera singers on the whole are in better shape than most of us.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Sep-21-2018 at 22:45.

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  11. #53
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    It’s not a start until “the fat lady sings”. I’d get a kick out of hearing a great-sounding 250-pound Carmen in a performance sponsored by Weight Watchers. She’d have to beguile Don José with the sound of her voice. Heavy applause at the end.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Sep-21-2018 at 23:33.
    The light of love restores every lost voice.

  12. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    When I see an opera it's also important that the characters approximate to what the libretto says they are. I would have thought anyone interested in dramatic art would see this
    What if the libretto just says Character X soprano.

    N.

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  14. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    That sounds threatening.

    Just for some historical perspective, photos of leading opera singers from 100 years ago don't reveal a higher rate of obesity than we see now, and probably a lower one. Famous Wagnerian sopranos - the "fat ladies" who sing at the end of the opera - such as Lilli Lehmann, Nanny Larsen Todsen, Frida Leider, Marjorie Lawrence, Marta Fuchs, Germaine Lubin, Kirsten Flagstad, Birgit Nilsson, Astrid Varnay and Martha Modl - may have been full-figured or sturdily built, but for most of their careers they weren't really fat. The reputation of singers for girth was acquired at a time when most people were slim, as compared to today when over two-thirds of Americans are considered obese. A number of today's leading singers are girthier than any of the ladies listed above.

    I'd say that opera singers on the whole are in better shape than most of us.
    This is correct. There are more fat opera singers now than ever.

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