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Thread: Verdi baritones

  1. #241
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    Whilst I wouldn't put it in my list of great Karajan recordings, even if it were one of his greatest recordings, that says nothing about how it compares with the many other superlative versions. Even if you restrict it to recordings of Cav/Pag as a double bill, there are quite a few other options that both for the conducting and the cast are far superior and that would seem to be a common view here.

    By the way, I spent six years singing in Cav (chorus) in Northern Italy touring round various places from the ridiculous to the sublime. We performed in hospitals to the bed bound and even sang in an open air chapel in the mountains. Nobody once mentioned Karajan, it was known as Mascagni's Cavalleria.

    N.
    That would seem a common view among a few here. I can't see why anyone should mention Karajan if you're just singing in hospitals and chapels. Why should they? Maybe if you had been singing at La Scala they might. Of course we know it's Mascangni's Cav. Karajan would have agreed. He heard Mascagni conduct it and was impressed.
    Last edited by DavidA; Jan-01-2020 at 16:54.

  2. #242
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revitalized Classics View Post
    "I remember the Italians themselves saying they viewed Cav and Pag as the pre- and post- Karajan eras, such an impact did his conducting of them make. But no doubt you are better qualified to assess their own operas than they are?"

    I'm afraid that didn't happen.
    There were NO performances of Pagliacci by Karajan at La Scala.
    He did not conduct the combo and Pagliacci is entirely the product of the studio.
    Bergonzi, Carlyle, Taddei did not appear in either opera during those runs.
    Whatever your Italians were clapping did not make it into the studio.

    "Or so used to del Monaco bawling his head off that anything less than a bill for Canio is unacceptable"


    What has actually been said, as opposed to what you've conveniently imagined, is preferring Bergonzi's own recordings in actual performance - as with the staged Cleva recording - or the RAI broadcast made in one take. Bergonzi sounds subdued compared to his own best standards.

    By the time Karajan recorded his longer takes were in use. I wonder how much our own prejudices get in the way of how we hear things?
    In a time of multitrack recording (1965), with a cast, orchestra and chorus who, as I've established, had not worked together in a stage production of Pagliacci you don't magic 'long takes ' out of thin air.

    They spent days in the studio to get it right and the result is surprisingly precise given the circumstances but not spontaneous-sounding.
    I didn't say there were performances at La Scala. Italians do listen to recordings though, I imagine. It was the recordings of these operas which impressed. Why don't you actually read what I put.
    Whether one prefers Bergonzi's live performance with Cleva or his perhaps more mature thoughts with Karajan is a matter of taste. He certainly does not sound 'subdued' to me on the Karajan set.
    I'm certainly glad you were there in the recording studio to study Karajan's methods of recording. You were there I take it during the recording sessions to know what happened? Karajan's method of course was not to conjure take out of thin air but to rehearse thoroughly with the material and then take longish takes. Of course you do realise that other recordings you have recommended were studio recordings done with singers who had not necessarily sung the works together on stage? So of course the same thing applies.
    What of course you miss out is that given the very fine standard of singing and superb orchestral playing, our preferences amount to one thing - personal taste.
    Last edited by DavidA; Jan-01-2020 at 17:12.

  3. #243
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    One of the leading Verdi baritones of today...


  4. #244
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    OK, David ... hope you're not too "cracked-up" too far ... haha, kidding. When I mentioned "present-day posts", I simply meant that we're talkin' 'bout posts, of the true PRESENT, about older recordings. Also, shouldn't have mentioned that certain posts were not erudite; it's simply that I have fundamental disagreements about some of them. No, indeed, you're not some sort of "reactionary phenom", but I do have a certain fondness for the older guys, that Osborne mentioned (Amato, Sammarco, Montesanto, et. al.). Osborne gave specific, and I think truly-SOUND reasons why the Bechi/Siepi/Bastianini generation of baritones was not-QUITE (let's say) the equal of their forerunners. ... In any case, this is an ENJOYABLE discussion, and hope it'll continue.

  5. #245
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    I don't know how to feel about Leonard Warren. He's obviously one of the greats but it's a really strange voice to me lol


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  7. #246
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonetan View Post
    I don't know how to feel about Leonard Warren. He's obviously one of the greats but it's a really strange voice to me lol

    Warren's timbre lacks brilliance, and he doesn't vary the color or dynamics much; his rendition of "Eri tu" is pretty uninteresting. The voice seems strong, but you have to wonder how well it carried in the house. He was quite successful, though, up until his untimely death.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Jan-08-2020 at 08:35.

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  9. #247
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Warren's timbre lacks brilliance, and he doesn't vary the color or dynamics much; his rendition of "Eri tu" is pretty uninteresting. The voice seems strong, but you have to wonder how well it carried in the house. He was quite successful, though, up until his untimely death.
    I haven't heard very many of his recordings, but this sums up how I feel about those I have heard.

    N.

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  11. #248
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Warren's timbre lacks brilliance, and he doesn't vary the color or dynamics much; his rendition of "Eri tu" is pretty uninteresting. The voice seems strong, but you have to wonder how well it carried in the house. He was quite successful, though, up until his untimely death.
    I'm not a big Warren fan, feeling the same way about his recordings that you do - impressive if rather ugly voice, not a great deal of imagination or interpretive nuance. But those who heard him at the old Met tell me that it was a big voice and carried well - and these are people for whom vocal size and high notes are more important than anything else.

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  13. #249
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Warren's timbre lacks brilliance, and he doesn't vary the color or dynamics much; his rendition of "Eri tu" is pretty uninteresting. The voice seems strong, but you have to wonder how well it carried in the house. He was quite successful, though, up until his untimely death.
    I thought this exactly.

    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I'm not a big Warren fan, feeling the same way about his recordings that you do - impressive if rather ugly voice, not a great deal of imagination or interpretive nuance. But those who heard him at the old Met tell me that it was a big voice and carried well - and these are people for whom vocal size and high notes are more important than anything else.
    Yet this is the consensus from everything I've read & heard. Also it's a dark voice, darker than many of today's bass baritones, but it has high notes to burn & little on the bottom. AND his speaking voice sounds nothing like I imagined...



    All of that makes me believe that it was a manufactured sound, but WOW he manufactured it well.
    Last edited by Bonetan; Jan-08-2020 at 17:57.

  14. #250
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Warren's speaking voice didn't have that dark, covered quality that his singing voice had. Strange indeed.

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  16. #251
    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    I have to say, I just love m'boy Leonard. I think it's the unusual tone quality, rich in overtones and seemingly an effortless production, even throughout (except for those bad low notes below C, the curse of Verdi baritones as a rule). I agree he's not a genius interpreter, but I love the darkness which nonetheless sounds natural .... not "hooty" or overly covered. I bet his voice carried like a siren in the hall. Maybe his voice was like Nilsson's, just didn't record well? I think I hear some of that darkness even in his speaking voice. A lot of singers' speaking voices sound little like their singing voices, IMHO. And bonetan I'm not sure what a "manufactured" singer's voice means, beyond sounding vaguely pejorative. It sounds ringing, unforced, and huge to my ears.

    I would rather sing like Warren than any other baritone I have heard ... well, except myself. (Can I trade? Oh wait, he dropped dead on the stage of the Met at an early age. Well, I guess I am singing better at 70 than he was.) At any rate, I would sure rather be myself ... or Leonard Warren ... than that guy in the clip of "Eri tu," pretending to play a piano in the opening shot despite the assured presence of an orchestra!

    Gotta stand up for Leonard. Having said that, I do think I owe Woodduck, especially, a debt of thanks for introducing me and others to "some other great" Verdi baritones, many of whom flourished before Warren. So, Woodduck, your tiphat is below.

    Kind regards,

    George

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  18. #252
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 89Koechel View Post
    OK, David ... hope you're not too "cracked-up" too far ... haha, kidding. When I mentioned "present-day posts", I simply meant that we're talkin' 'bout posts, of the true PRESENT, about older recordings. Also, shouldn't have mentioned that certain posts were not erudite; it's simply that I have fundamental disagreements about some of them. No, indeed, you're not some sort of "reactionary phenom", but I do have a certain fondness for the older guys, that Osborne mentioned (Amato, Sammarco, Montesanto, et. al.). Osborne gave specific, and I think truly-SOUND reasons why the Bechi/Siepi/Bastianini generation of baritones was not-QUITE (let's say) the equal of their forerunners. ... In any case, this is an ENJOYABLE discussion, and hope it'll continue.
    Older guys! About 100 or more years old now! One problem of course as has been pointed out is many of these guys did not record complete perfraomnces (not their fault) only excerpts, so it is impossible to compare them as interpreters of whole roles.

  19. #253
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    That would seem a common view among a few here. I can't see why anyone should mention Karajan if you're just singing in hospitals and chapels. Why should they? Maybe if you had been singing at La Scala they might. Of course we know it's Mascangni's Cav. Karajan would have agreed. He heard Mascagni conduct it and was impressed.
    One point about Mascagni's own Cav is that it's the slowest on disc!

  20. #254
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barelytenor View Post
    I have to say, I just love m'boy Leonard. I think it's the unusual tone quality, rich in overtones and seemingly an effortless production, even throughout (except for those bad low notes below C, the curse of Verdi baritones as a rule). I agree he's not a genius interpreter, but I love the darkness which nonetheless sounds natural .... not "hooty" or overly covered. I bet his voice carried like a siren in the hall. Maybe his voice was like Nilsson's, just didn't record well? I think I hear some of that darkness even in his speaking voice. A lot of singers' speaking voices sound little like their singing voices, IMHO. And bonetan I'm not sure what a "manufactured" singer's voice means, beyond sounding vaguely pejorative. It sounds ringing, unforced, and huge to my ears.
    Warren is a Verdi baritone god & I would never pretend otherwise, BUT I don't think he sang with his natural voice, which is why I have mixed feelings about him. That's what I meant by 'manufactured'.

    I read somewhere that he covered throughout his range which is odd to say the least. I have no idea how he had such resonance singing this way, but the low cover explains a lot of things. I think he was an amazing singer DESPITE his technique. IMHO it wasn't built for the long haul.

    I don't mean to offend Warren fans, but I've been spending a lot of time reading & asking questions trying to understand this voice! I even bought his book lol. To me he's an anomaly & we'll never see his like again.

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  22. #255
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    From the book Leonard Warren: American Baritone

    "Warren used this technique religiously. His cover was quite far back which we call "hooking" and his upper voice from F to A just became bigger and more beautiful. And miraculously, it could achieve a decrease on these top notes. The problem is to disguise this change in production so that it doesn't sound like two different voices. Warren solved this problem by singing everything in the covering position. This, some think, cost him a measure of clarity in his middle range and may have contributed to the eventual wobble. Warren's voice sounded deeper than it was because of its weight and dark color, but it was a high baritone, the Verdi baritone. Other great baries, like Ruffo, have simply thrown away the low notes. Warren insisted on singing them fully, and I think this is what cost him."
    Last edited by Bonetan; Jan-09-2020 at 00:39.

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