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Thread: Verdi baritones

  1. #136
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revitalized Classics View Post
    Literally the previous message you posted on this thread:

    "...Of course it's great we have what we have but if one is going to listen to the work rather than the performer you have to weigh the poor recording quality as a decided negative."
    Well I certainly don't weigh ancient recording quality as a positive, do you?
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-24-2019 at 06:50.

  2. #137
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivalagentenuova View Post
    David, it's very helpful that you quote my full statements every time you respond. It makes it very easy for everyone to see that what you say has nothining to do with my actual words.

    What I said:


    Your response:
    Your response has nothing to do with what I said. I said I'm relying on the testimony of people who were there. You respond, "OH so you heard them live?" I never said that. I never implied that. No rational person would ever think that I was.

    Again, I said:


    You replied:

    Nilsson is irrelevant. Nilsson was a Wgnerian soprano, Tetrazzini was a coloratura! Tetrazzini gave and open air concert in San Francisco in which she sang to tens of thousands (the SF Chronicle reported 200,000, but that seems inflated). I simply said, show me the modern coloratura who can do that. Which, I notice, you didn't. Because there isn't one.

    And don't carp about my "implications." When you implied insulting things about me, you laughed it off, and then preceeded to say it again about someone else not one page later. What I actually said was that if you can't sing the notes well so that they would be heard in a theater, you're not a great opera singer. Like everything I say, you went off and invented some nonsense to respond to and put it in my mouth. This trolling is getting pretty old.
    Considering we are talking about Verdi baritones in this thread and you are continually bringing up the subject of sopranos I wonder who is trolling? Look, I know it is a favourite tactic of people who can't convince someone else of their argument to accuse the other person of 'trolling' but to me it is purely poor sportsmanship and an insult. I simply asked you if you had heard these people? You haven't any more than I have. We simply only have their recordings, dim as they are. And as I admitted the comments of people at the time. If you won't accept Nilsson btw no doubt Sutherland could have sung and been heard by thousands. the voice was huge.
    And btw I didn't say insulting things to you any more than you said to me. I certainly did not invent nonsense to put into your mouth. Please do not be quite so sensitive when you appear to want to just say anything you like to me . I did say that every singer I have heard in an opera theatre can be heard. I don’t know whether you have heard differently?.
    Now please if you cannot argue in a reasonable fashion let's just agree to differ. I do not like these things to fall into a slanging match and personal insults which leaves a bad taste in the mouth when we are supposed to be discussing something we both love. This is not a competition and to who is right but merely an expression of preferences. If you prefer to listen to 100 year-old recordings than that is your preference. Just that I will not accept the argument that the old was always better than the new on that evidence. Let’s just agree to differ on that!
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-24-2019 at 07:17.

  3. #138
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    This isn't bad either even though Dame Joan doesn't exactly look as I imagine Gilda!

  4. #139
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    If you prefer to listen to 100 year-old recordings than that is your preference.
    It's not a preference. It's an unfortunate necessity. If I want to hear Caruso, Chaliapin, et al., I have to listen to recordings of limited fidelity, or eschew an appreciation of the range of operatic performance over the previous 120 years.

    Just that I will not accept the argument that the old was always better than the new on that evidence.
    I agree - singing was not always better in the past. But if you dismiss recordings made with older technology, you haven't got a clue. Just to give an example - if you want to hear what an authentic French tenor sounds like, you need to hear the recordings of Georges Thill, Paul Franz, Cesar Vezzani, Leon Escalais, Fernand Ansseau, Louis Cazette, Charles Friant, Joseph Rogatchewsky, et al - because with the possible exceptions of Alain Vanzo and Leopold Simoneau, there hasn't been one since opera became internationalized after WW2 (and even before). And if you haven't heard Leonid Sobinov (born 19 years before Tchaikovsky died) sing Lensky's aria, you have no idea what Tchaikovsky might have intended, even if the recording is more than 100 years old.

  5. #140
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    Celestino Sarobe was an interesting singer, I admire his phrasing and timbre. I'm not sure if he is well known here, his mentor was Battistini








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  7. #141
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revitalized Classics View Post
    Celestino Sarobe was an interesting singer, I admire his phrasing and timbre. I'm not sure if he is well known here...
    Not well known at all. By sheer coincidence, I heard him for the first time a few days ago, on a Preiser CD of "Four Famous Baritones of the Past":

    sarobe.jpg

    Kind of a misnomer, since Sarobe and the other three (Umberto Urbano, Carlo Drago Hrzic, and Alexander Sved) are not exactly household names, even in my house (Sved is a little more familiar to Americans because he sang at the Met and shows up on a couple of well-known broadcast recordings).

    Sarobe certainly deserves to be better known - fine voice and style. He is the sort of singer that provides evidence about the quality of singing in the past, because if a singer of his artistic abilities showed up in 2019, he'd likely have an international career.

  8. #142
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    It's not a preference. It's an unfortunate necessity. If I want to hear Caruso, Chaliapin, et al., I have to listen to recordings of limited fidelity, or eschew an appreciation of the range of operatic performance over the previous 120 years.



    I agree - singing was not always better in the past. But if you dismiss recordings made with older technology, you haven't got a clue.[/B] Just to give an example - if you want to hear what an authentic French tenor sounds like, you need to hear the recordings of Georges Thill, Paul Franz, Cesar Vezzani, Leon Escalais, Fernand Ansseau, Louis Cazette, Charles Friant, Joseph Rogatchewsky, et al - because with the possible exceptions of Alain Vanzo and Leopold Simoneau, there hasn't been one since opera became internationalized after WW2 (and even before). And if you haven't heard Leonid Sobinov (born 19 years before Tchaikovsky died) sing Lensky's aria, you have no idea what Tchaikovsky might have intended, even if the recording is more than 100 years old.
    I quite agree. But hearing them is your preference. It might not be everyone's preference to hear them with having to put up with restricted sound and only meagre excerpts instead of whole operas. Also we don't know Sobinov is what Tchaikovsky would have intended - it is a 'might' - an interesting might but a might. Like Toscanini said, the score is the composer's intention not some singer's rendering. I am not knocking your hobby of listening to old recordings and admire the missionary zeal with which people advocate it, but just saying it might not be everyone's choice. It isn't mine although of course it is interesting to hear what singers in the past might have sounded like. To be honest, though, I'm invariably disappointed, especially in the higher ranges.
    But to say I haven't a clue is laughable! Come on, just because I don't share your interest in old recordings doesn't mean I haven't a clue. I'm not sure just how 'authentic' a French tenor should be. I don't know whether you count Georges Nore as authentic? Sounds pretty authentic on Beecham's Faust (which is not surprising as he was French!) and Richard Verreau (although he was French Canadian but sounds pretty good on my Damnation of Faust). Also I had a feeling that Roberto Alagna is French and so he appears but no doubt he must be dismissed for the sin of having Sicilian parents? But now we have gone on to French tenors when we should be dealing with Verdi baritones. How on earth did we get here? Sorry I can't share your enthusiasm for the oldies. My limit tends to be stuff that bears repeated listening. But I know guys like yourself find it fascinating. I have got more than a clue - just that I prefer more modern recordings. Good luck!

  9. #143
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=DavidA;1719048]
    But to say I haven't a clue is laughable! Come on, just because I don't share your interest in old recordings doesn't mean I haven't a clue.

    No, but it does mean that I should treat your opinions about singing with a certain degree of skepticism.

    Also I had a feeling that Roberto Alagna is French and so he appears but no doubt he must be dismissed for the sin of having Sicilian parents?
    You're making my point. Alagna may sing in French, but he's a pale imitation of a French tenor. It has nothing to do with place of birth - Rogatchewsky was a consummate French stylist, despite the fact that he was born and spent his first fifteen or so years in Ukraine.

    As for Nore and Verreau - they're perfectly serviceable French tenors, but they're not remotely in the same leagues as Thill, Franz, Rogatchewsky, Cazette, et al.

    I'm done here.

  10. #144
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=wkasimer;1719055]
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    But to say I haven't a clue is laughable! Come on, just because I don't share your interest in old recordings doesn't mean I haven't a clue.

    No, but it does mean that I should treat your opinions about singing with a certain degree of skepticism.



    You're making my point. Alagna may sing in French, but he's a pale imitation of a French tenor. It has nothing to do with place of birth - Rogatchewsky was a consummate French stylist, despite the fact that he was born and spent his first fifteen or so years in Ukraine.

    As for Nore and Verreau - they're perfectly serviceable French tenors, but they're not remotely in the same leagues as Thill, Franz, Rogatchewsky, Cazette, et al.

    I'm done here.
    Oh this is too much! This is just your opinion! I could absolutely predict what you would say! So a guy born and bred in France knows less about singing the French language than your good self? Can I ask you - do you speak the language fluently yourself in order to make such judgments? Or is it just gleaned from listening to elderly recordings? Sorry but your opinions are not facts any more than mine are.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-24-2019 at 17:29.

  11. #145
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=DavidA;1719060]
    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post

    Oh this is too much! This is just your opinion! I could absolutely predict what you would say! So a guy born and bred in France knows less about singing the French language than your good self? Can I ask you - do you speak the language fluently yourself in order to make such judgments? Or is it just gleaned from listening to elderly recordings? Sorry but your opinions are not facts any more than mine are.
    As I said - I'm done here.

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  13. #146
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=DavidA;1719060]
    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post

    Oh this is too much! This is just your opinion! I could absolutely predict what you would say! So a guy born and bred in France knows less about singing the French language than your good self? Can I ask you - do you speak the language fluently yourself in order to make such judgments? Or is it just gleaned from listening to elderly recordings? Sorry but your opinions are not facts any more than mine are.
    Wkasimer is right. French style, and the sort of singers who represent it, are specific things which can be heard and understood by people interested enough to listen and digest what they're hearing. Alagna is - or I should say was, since he's now way past his best - a fine tenor, but stylistically "internationalized," as are most singers nowadays. National traditions in singing, and in classical music generally, are in an advanced state of dilution. One gleans knowledge of this precisely by the means you disparage: by listening.

    But you're not interested in listening to the singers from whom you might learn something, which makes your smarty-pants dismissal of others' opinions as no better than yours laughable. If you choose to be ignorant of something, as you insist over and over that you do, at least have the decency to respect the judgments of those who've put in the work.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-24-2019 at 18:41.

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  15. #147
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    National traditions in singing, and in classical music generally, are in an advanced state of dilution. One gleans knowledge of this precisely by the means you disparage: by listening.
    And the traditions that have suffered the most are the French and Russian. Particularly when it comes to tenors, but it's true of all voice types.
    Last edited by wkasimer; Oct-24-2019 at 19:31.

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  17. #148
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=wkasimer;1719080]
    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post

    And the traditions that have suffered the most are the French and Russian. Particularly when it comes to tenors, but it's true of all voice types.
    Not quite sure how your software is behaving but you are quoting me on things I haven't said. No-one is disparaging listening, by the way. Some of us have got many CDs of opera which we listen to regularly. Because we prefer to listen to whole operas does not mean we disparage listening, rather the opposite! Incidentally, how would you consider fixing that particular problem you are complaining of? Any answers? That is a genuine question, btw. I'd be interested to hear your opinion.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-24-2019 at 19:25.

  18. #149
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post

    Not quite sure how your software is behaving but you are quoting me on things I haven't said. No-one is disparaging listening, by the way. Some of us have got many CDs of opera which we listen to regularly. Because we prefer to listen to whole operas does not mean we disparage listening, rather the opposite! Incidentally, how would you consider fixing that particular problem you are complaining of? Any answers? That is a genuine question, btw. I'd be interested to hear your opinion.
    Pay attention to what you write. You said: "Can I ask you - do you speak the language fluently yourself in order to make such judgments? Or is it just gleaned from listening to elderly recordings? Sorry but your opinions are not facts any more than mine are."

    That disparages listening.

    The principle way of "gleaning" anything about music is by listening to it. Some of us listen to "elderly" recordings and by doing so learn things about singing styles that you will not learn if you don't do likewise.

    Clear enough?
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-24-2019 at 21:23.

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  20. #150
    Senior Member bobleflaneur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    Companies are making plenty of records, more than ever before - it's just not the so-called "major" labels making them, and most of them don't feel the need to record standard repertoire operas that have been recorded umpteen times before.
    I'm a week late coming to this, but while this is true in important ways, I do think it needs a bit more nuancing. After all, doesn't it seem like a new Winterreise recording drops every month?

    While there's indeed been a (welcome) shift beyond the standard repertoire, it seems to me the biggest thing driving what gets recorded is a push to record more cheaply. That means that new chamber recordings or lieder recordings, where you only have to pay a handful of musicians and hire out a small, inexpensive hall, are plentiful, whether they feature well-known or esoteric music. Orchestral recordings are much less common, especially with elite orchestras that are used to commanding high fees. And new opera recordings have almost ceased (though they seem to have made it work for videos for the moment; I suspect that will slow down as the repertoire starts to become saturated). The logic seems to be that if a CD will go for $18, whether it's a pair of Beethoven symphonies or a set of violin sonatas, why not do the violin sonatas and pay two musicians instead of eighty?

    That may seem like a loss to some and a gain to others, but I wonder whether it might actually be described more as a cyclical return. For anyone who's a product of the LP or CD era, it's always seemed like the symphony (or perhaps the opera) was the preeminent form of classical music. But I wonder whether that's partly because those forms were so well suited to the medium -- all of a sudden, you could bring 100+ musicians inside your home and have them sound great. But before, say, World War II, music in your house was less likely to be experienced through recordings than through performances -- especially amateur performances. That would have given small-ensemble works a visibility and prestige that they ceded to symphonic works in the postwar era, but which now seems to be returning to them, in a somewhat different way.
    Last edited by bobleflaneur; Oct-24-2019 at 20:59.

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