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Thread: The Flagstad Physical Mystery

  1. #16
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalalaikaBoy View Post
    unpopular opinion: Flagstad's voice was always quite "lyrical" even when singing the most dramatic rep for the soprano voice. it doesn't surprise me at all that she started with lyric rep.
    Agreed. I always cite the way she handles "Mir erkoren, mir verloren..." and "Er sah mir in die Auge..." in Act 1 of Tristan as perfect examples of beautiful, poised, legato lyricism. You have no sense of her making an effort to scale her voice down, as you often have with Nilsson. It makes sense that Flagstad was much loved as a song recitalist.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    I can't say whether this applies to Flagstad, but it could relate somewhat to what Balalaikaboy said. Some 'huge voices' aren't actually huge voices but rather singers that have mastered the technique they need for maximum resonance. Dolora Z says all the time that she doesn't have a huge voice. She's a master of resonance. There is definitely a difference
    Last edited by Bonetan; Oct-13-2019 at 04:44.

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  5. #18
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonetan View Post
    I can't say whether this applies to Flagstad, but it could relate somewhat to what Balalaikaboy said. Some 'huge voices' aren't actually huge voices but rather singers that have mastered the technique they need for maximum resonance. Dolora Z says all the time that she doesn't have a huge voice. She's a master of resonance. There is definitely a difference
    It's true that some voices not exceptionally large carry well because they're so clearly focused, and that this enables them to succeed in roles that might be thought too heavy for them. A good example is Jussi Bjoerling, generally classed as a lyric tenor but effective in roles such as Manrico, Radames and (on recordings) Calaf. Flagstad really did have a huge voice, by all reports, but certainly her perfectly focused tone contributed to its effect.

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  7. #19
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    It's true that some voices not exceptionally large carry well because they're so clearly focused, and that this enables them to succeed in roles that might be thought too heavy for them. A good example is Jussi Bjoerling, generally classed as a lyric tenor but effective in roles such as Manrico, Radames and (on recordings) Calaf. Flagstad really did have a huge voice, by all reports, but certainly her perfectly focused tone contributed to its effect.
    Something I forgot to mention, Woodduck, is that my sister said that after singing an opera the front of her face hurt from all of the vibration created in the mask. She was a lyric soprano. How much more so a larger voice if they used a similar technique. I am sure the area inside the throat and mouth cavity played a big part as you mentioned, but by her technique the vibration in the mask itself became sore so was used somehow in vocal production. Singers drove for hours from all over Germany to study with her.
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Oct-13-2019 at 08:52.

  8. #20
    Senior Member Mollie John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    Still, at the big Met 25th Anniversary Gala, supposedly Nilsson and Sutherland had the biggest voices there out of all those singers from ear witnesses and they both had really prominent huge jaws.
    They would have been second and third respectively if Ethel Merman had been there...

    Not entirely certain about the jaw/cheekbone/size of head ratio compared to the others -

    e.png


    f.jpg

    Nothing is louder than "Ethel Merman loud"... I can vividly remember hearing her sing live in Ottawa... She was actually in New York at the time though - that's how loud she was...

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  10. #21
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mollie John View Post
    They would have been second and third respectively if Ethel Merman had been there...

    Not entirely certain about the jaw/cheekbone/size of head ratio compared to the others -

    e.png


    f.jpg

    Nothing is louder than "Ethel Merman loud"... I can vividly remember hearing her sing live in Ottawa... She was actually in New York at the time though - that's how loud she was...
    LOL. Tebaldi heard her live and was very impressed and Tebaldi you could hear around the block... if I remember the quote.

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  12. #22
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Who is that woman in Rogerx's avatar? Is that Flagstad? Every time I see that picture, I admire that neck. So long, so muscular, so...fully packed.


    Last edited by millionrainbows; Oct-13-2019 at 23:16.
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  13. #23
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Who is that woman in Rogerx's avatar? Is that Flagstad? Every time I see that picture, I admire that neck. So long, so muscular, so...fully packed.


    That's Joan Sutherland. She was a big girl with a big voice.

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  15. #24
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    If you want to really be thrown for a loop. look at this singer and then listen to his voice


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  17. #25
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalalaikaBoy View Post
    If you want to really be thrown for a loop. look at this singer and then listen to his voice

    I expected him to be a bass with that long neck. Plenty of room for a big larynx and long vocal folds. He's probably 7 feet tall too.

  18. #26
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Woodduck;1714742]I expected him to be a bass with that long neck. Plenty of room for a big larynx and long vocal folds. He's probably 7 feet tall too.[/QUOTE
    Gorgeous! Handsome man.

  19. #27
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    Gorgeous! Handsome man.
    Da. On khochet tvoy nomer telefona.

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  21. #28
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Here's a Russian singer:
    https://youtu.be/8rdvCBFXlLE


  22. #29
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I expected him to be a bass with that long neck. Plenty of room for a big larynx and long vocal folds. He's probably 7 feet tall too.
    what I wanna know is why basses tend to be tall and lean while contraltos are usually stocky with broader faces

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  24. #30
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalalaikaBoy View Post
    what I wanna know is why basses tend to be tall and lean while contraltos are usually stocky with broader faces
    It's time to compile some detailed statistics on the physical dimensions of singers, broken down by fach. That should keep you and Seattleoperafan happily occupied for, oh, a year or so.

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