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Thread: Verdi baritones

  1. #46
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivalagentenuova View Post
    David, I'm applying your own standards to your comments, and you think the standards are ridiculous. Well, they're your standards.

    Of course I don't believe modern recordings are equal with acoustics. But when we said older singers were better, you responded with idea that it was just nostalgia. So I fired the same baseless accusation at you, but reversed: "It's just hype for modern stuff" You naturally thought it was silly. Don't you then see why we thought your nostalgia argument was so silly?

    Of course you don't need to be an expert to hear the differences between modern and acoustic recordings. But when we said old singers were better and that we could hear the differences, since "We have got ears you know!", you said it didn't matter because we didn't have expertise (ie, credentials, by your definition). So I applied the same standard to you, and asked if you were an expert with a credential. You naturally thought that was a ridiculous question. Don't you then see why we thought it was ridiculous to ask what This Is Opera's credentials were?

    So if old recordings are worse quality, why listen to them? Because of precisely what you won't accept: the singing is better. But according to you, your claim to know that the quality of old recordings is worse is clearly true based on empirical evidence; but my claim that old singers were better, which I've based on empirical evidence, is mere nostalgia (for a time when I was never alive, interestingly enough). This is a double standard, as we tried to say many times in the other thread.

    In any case, Umberto Urbano: great Verdi baritone. Rich, warm tone and power.
    Not a double standard at all. Opera is made up of orchestra and singers. So where is the orchestra? And the rest of the opera? Some of us listen to opera not just singers! Listen, I'm not complaining about you listening to this stuff. If you want to listen to it then do so. Just don't come on and condemn others who prefer at least sound which is tolerable. I have just heard Turandot in HD so why would I want to listen to a dated recording apart from historical interest? I don't ride a penny farthing bike or heat the house with a coal fire anymore or drive a 1920s car. So please don't look down your nose when I say I prefer a recording where you can hear the orchestra.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-13-2019 at 21:26.

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  3. #47
    Senior Member vivalagentenuova's Avatar
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    It's pretty rich that you find me condescending, since I am only reflecting back to you things you have said to me. If you find it condescending when I say it (and I don't say it earnestly), imagine how I and Woodduck and others felt when you said it. Yet I haven't reflected back to you the worst thing you said to me, which is when you said that I'm a bitter failure because I have criticisms of society. Unlike anything I have said to you, that was "condemning" someone. In any case, we don't seem to be able to communicate, so why don't we give it a rest?

    As for historic recordings, there are a number of virtues. I, for one, actually like a slight crackle in a good electric recording taken from an LP. It adds a coziness to the listening experience that HD can't give you. Acoustic recordings are more trouble, but they can't be quite pleasant to listen to with voices that recorded especially well. The orchestral experience is limited, it is true. But to me opera requires singing. It's not opera without singing. Of course, there are many recordings in good sound that are very well done. But for the best singing, historic recordings are the place to look.

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  5. #48
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Why go to the ancient and crackling recordings when we have such riches decently recorded?
    Woodduck: To discover the possibilities of singing technique and style, and often a standard of comparison.
    DavidA: In any case, you haven't answered my question: Why go to the ancient and crackling recordings when we have such riches decently recorded?
    vivalagentenuova: So if old recordings are worse quality, why listen to them? Because of precisely what you won't accept: the singing is better.
    DavidA: I have just heard Turandot in HD so why would I want to listen to a dated recording apart from historical interest? I don't ride a penny farthing bike or heat the house with a coal fire anymore or drive a 1920s car.
    vivalagentenuova: But for the best singing, historic recordings are the place to look.
    Next question...? ............
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-14-2019 at 00:44.

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  7. #49
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivalagentenuova View Post
    It's pretty rich that you find me condescending, since I am only reflecting back to you things you have said to me. If you find it condescending when I say it (and I don't say it earnestly), imagine how I and Woodduck and others felt when you said it. Yet I haven't reflected back to you the worst thing you said to me, which is when you said that I'm a bitter failure because I have criticisms of society. Unlike anything I have said to you, that was "condemning" someone. In any case, we don't seem to be able to communicate, so why don't we give it a rest?

    As for historic recordings, there are a number of virtues. I, for one, actually like a slight crackle in a good electric recording taken from an LP. It adds a coziness to the listening experience that HD can't give you. Acoustic recordings are more trouble, but they can't be quite pleasant to listen to with voices that recorded especially well. The orchestral experience is limited, it is true. But to me opera requires singing. It's not opera without singing. Of course, there are many recordings in good sound that are very well done. But for the best singing, historic recordings are the place to look.
    You’re a bitter failure because you have criticisms of society? I never said that. We’re talking about recorded music not society. You appear to have a talent for misreading what I said. I was the one being condemned apparently because (at the age of over 70) I am into the ‘hip’ phase of ‘modern’ recordings most of which were about 50 years old or more! Thank goodness I can laugh at it.
    As to your other point, I have a friend who likes vintage cars. He rolled up in his vintage sports car and was showing me. He must have seen the look on my face when he told me how he payed a small fortune for this thing which is actually quite uncomfortable to travel in. But then he laughed and said, "But I'm a petrol head!" Now I am not going to deny him the pleasure of his vintage car even though it does seem to me amazing to me when you can travel in a modern one. Neither am I going to deny you the pleasure of listening to your 78s which you insist the poor sound gives you a coziness and the lack of orchestral sound of HD and modern recording. That is fine for you. But please allow me the eccentricity of allowing me to listen to opera in decent sound without the irritation of cracking and without me having to imagine that these piping sounds that I hear are really the best singing. I can't honestly tell because many of them are so poorly recorded and that's being honest. My friend loves his vintage car but at least he wouldn't pretend it's up to the standard of a modern car. Neither are these cracking acoustic recordings of bits and bobs like the real thing of a complete operatic experience to me. But enjoy my friend! But don't look down on others as some second rate people!
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-14-2019 at 07:18.

  8. #50
    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    Love that baritone Umberto Urbano! I may have to adopt that cadenza to "Il balen," love that! Never heard it sung quite that way.

    Otherwise, way too much friction going on around here.

    Kind regards,

    George

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  10. #51
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    OK guys, make way for THE master!


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  12. #52
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Or this? Creaky old film I know:


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  14. #53
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Or this? Creaky old film I know:

    We should have more such creaky old films. Our current singers and directors need reminders of how it used to be.

    I'll point out that Gobbi qualifies as a "historical" singer, having made his debut in 1935.

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  16. #54
    Senior Member vivalagentenuova's Avatar
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    I'm not going to continue beyond this comment, because I don't like to derail discussions. In the "The Met's Music Director, Vocal "Expert"" thread, I said I was suspicious of social institutions. You responded with the following quote (page 9):
    'Never speak disrespectfully of society, Algernon. Only people who can’t get into it do that.'
    (Lady Bracknell in 'Importance of Being Ernest' - Oscar Wilde)
    The only implication that makes any sense of quoting something saying that people who criticize social institutions are just people who have failed to succeed in them to someone who has just questioned social institutions is that you think I have failed to succeed in society and that's where my criticism comes from. What else could you quoting that possibly have meant?

    We should have more such creaky old films. Our current singers and directors need reminders of how it used to be.

    I'll point out that Gobbi qualifies as a "historical" singer, having made his debut in 1935.
    Indeed. The RAI films from the 50s are a treasure trove that puts to shame the HD broadcasts, in both singing and respect for the composers' intentions regarding staging etc..

  17. #55
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivalagentenuova View Post
    I'm not going to continue beyond this comment, because I don't like to derail discussions. In the "The Met's Music Director, Vocal "Expert"" thread, I said I was suspicious of social institutions. You responded with the following quote (page 9):

    The only implication that makes any sense of quoting something saying that people who criticize social institutions are just people who have failed to succeed in them to someone who has just questioned social institutions is that you think I have failed to succeed in society and that's where my criticism comes from. What else could you quoting that possibly have meant?


    Indeed. The RAI films from the 50s are a treasure trove that puts to shame the HD broadcasts, in both singing and respect for the composers' intentions regarding staging etc..
    Oh for goodness sake, haven't you any sense of humour or context? If you actually look at the context the comment quoted wasn't about social institutions at all but people criticising qualifications! I thought people would have the sense to realise that without further comment from me. Obviously not. Why on earth do you think a guy like me from a working class background would be quoting Lady Bracknell in anything but an ironic way?

    I do know about Gobbi that is why your going on that I have a fascination with things 'new' and 'modern' and 'hip' which struck me as frankly laughable, especially as I began in each case my list of baritones with Valengo who sang for Toscanini! What I have is a requirement that the opera on disc I listen to should be (for me) in listenable sound. Toscanini just about makes it. Of course it appears you have not read or grasped what I meant.
    As for the Gobbi films I love Gobbi's part but the acting is dated and there are thankfully HD films which do justice to Verdi's intentions with a rather more up to date staging and technical production. Just that Gobbi was the complete master of that part.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-15-2019 at 06:54.

  18. #56
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    One Falstaff I have failed to mention: Maestri is the reigning Falstaff of our generation with both the looks and voice for the part. I believe he is only available on HD but he is well worth seeking out. I had one of my most enjoyable evening at the opera watching this scintillating production.

    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-15-2019 at 07:00.

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  20. #57
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Listen, I'm not complaining about you listening to this stuff. If you want to listen to it then do so. Just don't come on and condemn others who prefer at least sound which is tolerable.
    I guess it depends upon what one considers "tolerable". For me, anything better than the Mapleson cylinders is tolerable. I'm certainly not going to eschew recording quality that you find "intolerable" and avoid listening to great singers.

    I have just heard Turandot in HD so why would I want to listen to a dated recording apart from historical interest?
    Because -

    a)the "historical interest" should not be discounted. If a singer was closely associated with a work and/or a composer, I want to hear them, in whatever sound is available.

    b)there's a lot of Turandot on old records that features singnig that is vastly superior to what the Met put on stage.

  21. #58
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    This is a magnificent "Turandot":


  22. #59
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I guess it depends upon what one considers "tolerable". For me, anything better than the Mapleson cylinders is tolerable. I'm certainly not going to eschew recording quality that you find "intolerable" and avoid listening to great singers.



    Because -

    a)the "historical interest" should not be discounted. If a singer was closely associated with a work and/or a composer, I want to hear them, in whatever sound is available.

    b)there's a lot of Turandot on old records that features singnig that is vastly superior to what the Met put on stage.
    I'm not telling anyone what they should or should not discount. People can listen to wax cylinders through ear trumpets if they want! I'm talking about what works for me. I do need a reasonable amount of recording quality. I realise you are more forgiving in that area. Obviously one has to trade the virtues of a great performance against the lack of recording quality. eg is Callas' Lady Macbeth so good as to make the pretty awful recoding worth bearing with? I have the recording btw. When we come to eg the famous Rigoletto we might say 'Yes we put up with the cuts and the dull mono sound' for three of the greatest performances ever.
    I agree about the historical association. For example, we all want to hear how Rachmaninov played his works even with the primitive recording. I'm sure we would be delighted to hear how Liszt or Beethoven played if maybe a little shocked! I count anything electrically recorded as reasonable.
    I wonder did you hear the latest Met production? Of course, if you are going over the best that has gone down on records over the past century you will obviously find something better. I went without any great hopes but actually I did something remarkable - I enjoyed it thoroughly! Good singing, great production, fine conducting.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-15-2019 at 14:40.

  23. #60
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schigolch View Post
    This is a magnificent "Turandot":

    Yes it's good what I hear. Of course, you can get the really fine Decca recording in excellent sound (and you can hear Puccini's orchestration too) but then because it's not as old it can't be as good obviously! And btw how did Turandot recordings find their way into a thread on Verdi baritones?
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-15-2019 at 15:26.

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