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Thread: Verdi baritones

  1. #76
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revitalized Classics View Post
    Well what was stopping you? Provide your suggestions, including modern recordings you would recommend. If you do indeed cast a benevolent eye over ninety years of recording then you will have lots of suggestions of good modern singing.

    This has been a thread where posters simply suggest that we listen to all available recordings. You'll understand that since you already appreciate recordings of any age.

    The alternative is, as you pointed out, cherrypicking an arbitrary time somewhere around "the early mono magnetic era" and starting from there.
    For Turandot recordings? I'd say all of the Nilsson recordings are good--I'd probably say the Leinsdorf is the best, the Stokowski with Corelli and Moffo second, the Gavazzeni with Corelli and Vishnevskaya third, the studio Molinari-Pradelli with Corelli and Scotto next, and last on my personal list is the Molinari Pradelli with di Stefano and L Price.

    For non-Nilsson recordings, I guess I'd put the Mehta over the Robert Abbado with Eva Marton, Heppner and Margaret Price. Some of Marton's high notes are a little shrill, but it's still a good performance, and Price and Heppner are wonderful. The Callas is good, although i'm a little cooler on that one than many other Callas recordings. Probably roughly level with the Borkh/Del Monaco/Tebaldi recording in my affections. The Karajan is pretty low on my list, but still above Ghione which ranks dead last in my small stack of Turandots.

    I haven't heard the Goerke yet but I'm looking forward to seeing it whenever they get around to putting it on PBS. I think they just showed her Walkure a couple of weeks ago, it's on my DVR now.

    edited to add--or were you asking for recommendations of Verdi baritones? I don't have much else to add here beyond the names folks offered, except to say that I generally like Bruson and Zancanaro more than folks around here tend to. And I'm not sure if anyone's mentioned Gerald Finley yet but he sang a very fine Iago last year I believe?
    Last edited by howlingfantods; Oct-16-2019 at 21:50.

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  3. #77
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    For Turandot recordings? I'd say all of the Nilsson recordings are good--I'd probably say the Leinsdorf is the best, the Stokowski with Corelli and Moffo second, the Gavazzeni with Corelli and Vishnevskaya third, the studio Molinari-Pradelli with Corelli and Scotto next, and last on my personal list is the Molinari Pradelli with di Stefano and L Price.

    For non-Nilsson recordings, I guess I'd put the Mehta over the Robert Abbado with Eva Marton, Heppner and Margaret Price. Some of Marton's high notes are a little shrill, but it's still a good performance, and Price and Heppner are wonderful. The Callas is good, although i'm a little cooler on that one than many other Callas recordings. Probably roughly level with the Borkh/Del Monaco/Tebaldi recording in my affections. The Karajan is pretty low on my list, but still above Ghione which ranks dead last in my small stack of Turandots.

    I haven't heard the Goerke yet but I'm looking forward to seeing it whenever they get around to putting it on PBS. I think they just showed her Walkure a couple of weeks ago, it's on my DVR now.
    I'd certainly rank the Mehta higher than you as the best 'modern' recording. The Karajan is, of course, lamed by the Turandot, but is tremendously well conducted and played. Pity he didn't have a power-house soprano in the lead to match the orchestral splendours he conjures up from the orchestra. Callas was unsuited to the role of Turandot and she soon gave it up so I don't rate her performance too highly.
    Nilsson of course was THE Turandot. She used to say it was her party piece and big earner. Her steam whistle soprano was amazing and she shows us what the voice can do as Franco does too. Pity about the routine conducting on the studio recording.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-16-2019 at 21:50.

  4. #78
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I'd certainly rank the Mehta higher than you as the best 'modern' recording.
    I'll admit to a slight allergy towards all three of Sutherland, Pavarotti and Caballe--I always rank their recordings lower than many others do, so having them all on the same recording is a trifle much for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    For Turandot recordings? I'd say all of the Nilsson recordings are good--I'd probably say the Leinsdorf is the best, the Stokowski with Corelli and Moffo second, the Gavazzeni with Corelli and Vishnevskaya third, the studio Molinari-Pradelli with Corelli and Scotto next, and last on my personal list is the Molinari Pradelli with di Stefano and L Price.

    For non-Nilsson recordings, I guess I'd put the Mehta over the Robert Abbado with Eva Marton, Heppner and Margaret Price. Some of Marton's high notes are a little shrill, but it's still a good performance, and Price and Heppner are wonderful. The Callas is good, although i'm a little cooler on that one than many other Callas recordings. Probably roughly level with the Borkh/Del Monaco/Tebaldi recording in my affections. The Karajan is pretty low on my list, but still above Ghione which ranks dead last in my small stack of Turandots.

    I haven't heard the Goerke yet but I'm looking forward to seeing it whenever they get around to putting it on PBS. I think they just showed her Walkure a couple of weeks ago, it's on my DVR now.
    Cool, that's a good spread. I think I've had a listen to all of them at different times except the Marton/R.Abbado version and the very recent broadcast. Other than that, the Caballe/Carreras/Freni version with Lombard has it's moments but I don't remember the conducting going so well.

    It does obviously tail off quite dramatically as the 1970s move into the 1980s and 1990s - which is not a criticism of your list, I think that is basically representative.

    If we turn back to Verdi baritones I'm thinking that the trajectory is the same - big peak in the 1950s and up to the 80s and then tailing off... say with Rigoletto

    50s Warren, Protti, Taddei, Gobbi, Merrill, Capecchi
    60s Bastianini, MacNeil, Herlea, Fischer-Dieskau
    70s Milnes, Panerai, Cappuccilli
    80s Bruson, Nucci, Zancanaro
    90s Chernov, Agache
    00s Gavanelli, Alvarez, Lucic
    10s Domingo, Hvorostovsky

    I'm sure there are enjoyable performances out there but it rings alarm bells to me that the most famous current Rigoletto is perhaps a 77-year-old Leo Nucci...

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    Speaking of Leo Nucci, his Wikipedia page is trolling him Wonder how long it has been like that?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Nucci

    Leo Nucci (born 16 April 1942) is an Italian operatic fake baritone true tenor, particularly suited to Verdi roles. He is an undeveloped tenor but trying to darken his voice like a baritone, so his low notes are very weak and his high notes are easier than the true baritones.
    Lower down it says
    Nucci has enjoyed a long and successful throaty career. His repertoire encompasses the entire Italian repertory from bel canto to verismo, but his throaty voice, horrible technique and shouting abilities are displayed in Verdi – notably as Rigoletto, Macbeth, Count di Luna, Giorgio Germont, Rodrigo, Amonasro, Iago, and Falstaff. He has sung the role of Rigoletto alone more than 500 times.[5]

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  8. #81
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    ..........

  9. #82
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Ouch. Not a fan of Nucci but that's harsher than necessary. That "fake baritone" stuff definitely sounds like the work of the This is Opera crowd--they seem to love arguing that singers are actually different fachs than they are.

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  11. #83
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revitalized Classics View Post
    Speaking of Leo Nucci, his Wikipedia page is trolling him Wonder how long it has been like that?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Nucci



    Lower down it says



    jfc that's mean, but....it is funny :/

  12. #84
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    I like recordings from the 1920s and recordings from the 1950s and recordings from the 1980s and recordings from the 2010s. Thus I don't think it's remotely contradictory to recommend 60 year old recordings since I often recommend recordings from many eras.

    The funny thing about the "old things good, new things bad" trope around here is that the "old" and the "new" are extremely fluid categories depending on whatever the argument happens to be about. I do think it's pretty funny in this particular thread that the "new" that yall are attacking DavidA for liking includes the 50 year old Mehta recording. I gather that since David also recommended Toscanini and Gobbi recordings that the "new" for the purposes of this particular thread includes the early mono magnetic era, which is pretty amusing.
    I'm afraid, HF, that you're creating a fiction, the "old things good, new things bad trope," which you're attributing to a bunch of unspecified people you call "y'all."

    There is no "y'all," and I've seen no one here (with one exception) propounding an "old things vs new things" dichotomy. You're right that there's been no consensus on what constitutes an "old" recording or a "new" one, but that's because there is no need for such a consensus. Most people here, I feel sure, don't care how old or new a singer is, as long as he's good. The fact that a noticeable majority of the baritones singled out for special praise in this thread were active in the pre-stereo era doesn't necessarily imply a general preference for "oldness." It might just imply a widely shared feeling that the standard of Verdi singing took a dive sometime during the 20th century and may be at a nadir right now. That is definitely my view, and you can bet your life that if we had anyone equal to - or even close to - a Battistini, a Ruffo, a Stracciari or a Tibbett around, this thread would be bubbling and fizzing with excitement about the "new."

    The truth is that the only one here who insists continually on positing an "old-versus-new" dichotomy is DavidA. Whenever singers from the pre-LP era are praised on the forum, he proclaims and seeks to justify his lack of interest in them. He professes to be unable to enjoy recordings with poor sound quality, to be unable to evaluate singers from the acoustic era, and to be incapable of understanding why people want to listen to them. He is openly incredulous that some of us can actually make determinations as to the quality of singing to be heard on recordings too old for him to cope with. That some of us are lifelong students of singing and even singers ourselves does not impress him, despite his demand for the "qualifications" and "credentials" of people who offer judgments here. He has offered no explanation for his odd propensity, or perhaps compulsion, to announce the limitations of his appreciative capacity whenever singers he considers too "old" are discussed.

    Is it surprising that a number of us have pushed back against his "arguments"?

    In any event, as far as "old" and "new" are concerned, a singer active in the 1950s certainly can't be said to occupy a recent position in the era of commercial sound recording - i.e., the era of singing we can actually hear. Tito Gobbi made his debut in 1935, which places him much closer to the time of Ruffo than to the time of Lucic or Kelsey. It's only the development of recording techniques - specifically the LP, and the recording of complete operas it facilitated - which allows us sometimes to feel that the singers of the postwar years are still "modern." That, and the curious fact that many of the older LP opera recordings remain, for most of us (and not all of us geezers!), our "standard" versions of the standard repertoire.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-17-2019 at 07:58.

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  14. #85
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    okay, laughs aside, that was quite an indecent prank. I admire the bluntness on that page most of the time, but that kind of behavior is on the level of the most polemic political groups on facebook. there is a world of difference between blunt criticism that justifies itself by its own merits and cheap shots like that.

  15. #86
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    The Nucci page on Wiki is just nasty and not at all amusing. People can say such things at parties where everyone is laughing at everything because they're drunk. They can even say them on this forum if they don't mind being called out for trolling. Wiki makes no pretense of being authoritative or even trustworthy, but its readers deserve better, and Nucci deserves redress and an apology from someone.

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  17. #87
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    I'll admit to a slight allergy towards all three of Sutherland, Pavarotti and Caballe--I always rank their recordings lower than many others do, so having them all on the same recording is a trifle much for me.
    You can get some medication for that I believe!

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  19. #88
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    Ouch. Not a fan of Nucci but that's harsher than necessary. That "fake baritone" stuff definitely sounds like the work of the This is Opera crowd--they seem to love arguing that singers are actually different fachs than they are.

    Yes wouldn't surprise me. Just a cheap shot that people with no talent themselves who have never made it take. He was a reliable baritone in the Aldo Protti mould. Not terribly imaginative but reliable. Sadly by the time he recorded Iago the voice was in tatters. People who write that sort of thing suffer from tin ears and prejudice. Failures themselves who harp on failure.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-17-2019 at 07:38.

  20. #89
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Yes wouldn't surprise me. Just a cheap shot that people with no talent themselves who have never made it take. He was a reliable baritone in the Aldo Protti mould. Not terribly imaginative but reliable. Sadly by the time he recorded Iago the voice was in tatters. People who write that sort of thing suffer from tin ears and prejudice. Failures themselves who harp on failure.
    Who are you to call people you don't know "failures"? Can't you simply express disapproval of what they've said?

    It's generally presumptuous to begin sentences with "People who..."
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-17-2019 at 07:55.

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  22. #90
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalalaikaBoy View Post
    okay, laughs aside, that was quite an indecent prank. I admire the bluntness on that page most of the time, but that kind of behavior is on the level of the most polemic political groups on facebook. there is a world of difference between blunt criticism that justifies itself by its own merits and cheap shots like that.
    You can see what a plonker the writer is in the opening paragraph:” Leo Nucci (born 16 April 1942) is an Italian operatic fake baritone true tenor, particularly suited to Verdi roles.”
    So apparently according to this moron Verdi wrote his roles for fake baritones!
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-17-2019 at 08:33.

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