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Thread: Eileen Farrell:best vocalist of the recording era?And just how good was she at opera?

  1. #31
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    Farrell never did it for me. Good voice? Yes. But in opera she was not in her element. Stolid, placid, square.
    Try the immolation scene with Bernstein.

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  3. #32
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Try the immolation scene with Bernstein.
    Thanks, I will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonetan View Post
    She was incredible, & like Balalaika said I would't complain if someone said that she's the best ever, but I don't understand why singing both genres makes her a better singer than someone who stuck to just one...
    Because opera is supposedly the neurosurgery of singing and not a lot of people can do it well (little less at world calss level).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Good point. Was she the best singer in opera? The best in jazz? For me the answer in both cases is no. I suppose that if all else were equal her versatility would be decisive, but I doubt that either operaphiles or jazz fans would agree that all else is equal in their respective genres.
    No, she wasn't THE best at both but she was WORLD CLASS in both which is my argument for why she should perhaps be considered the best vocalist of the recording era.

    Balalaikaboy has named some other singers that have managed to excel at both genres but as far as opera goes they weren't quite at Farrell's level.
    Last edited by Baritenor; Dec-05-2019 at 22:45. Reason: bad phrasing

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  7. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    I can only reply subjectively. Farrell recorded a lot more popular music than Traubel did and I enjoy her audio recordings more, but Traubel was better known as a live performer of popular music and we have no record of her performances. We do know that she was very very successful in these performances and made piles of cash. Because of her career occurring during the infancy of television, there is actually very scant video record of Traubel singing opera. There is more of a record of her singing in the Hollywood musical she was in. The only movie with Farrell singing had a beautiful actress lip syncing to her singing. It was a good partnership as Farrell had a great voice but was rather a plain Jane to look at. Traubel was a handsome and very elegant woman.
    Um your initial comment stated that Traubel was more successful than her and then I asked 'but was she actually a better vocalist than Farrell' and you replied saying, again, that she was more commercially successful. You're not following the train of thought

  8. #36
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baritenor View Post
    Um your initial comment stated that Traubel was more successful than her and then I asked 'but was she actually a better vocalist than Farrell' and you replied saying, again, that she was more commercially successful. You're not following the train of thought
    They were of different eras and styles so it is unfair to judge. Apart from her Hollywood musical, and a not very showy recording of a small number of pop songs, we don't really have a good record of how good Traubel was in her hugely successful nightclub act where she made twice her salary at the Met for the same time period. Farrell comes off much better in pop because her Blues infused pop was of a style that speaks more to us today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt6gFVUrMV8 You can see in this much less well recorded clip of Traubel with Jerry Lewis that she could definitely sing the Blues, but was just not given a good opportunity for posterity to record it. Farrell recorded a whole lot more pop because she did so 15 years later when there were better recording opportunities as well as at least 5 albums in her golden years, not to mention all of her performances saved for posterity from her many TV appearances on TV shows in the 60's that were light years better in quality than the paucity of very grainy appearances Traubel had in the early 50's in the beginning of TV. Unlike Farrell, Traubel did leave behind a wonderful movie record of her singing popular music and here I think the vocal beauty and interpretive skill does rival Farrell in that one instance. It is the only instance where I think the quality of the recording techniques were of similar quality. I would say in this instance Traubel's pop voice is even more beautiful than Farell's, but they were both wonderful. Listen to her glorious alto from Deep in My Heart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sQtU5FGzt8 where her voice is like double cream in quality. You can also get a strong sense from this clip of what her hugely successful nightclub appearances were like in intimacy and warmth of personality. She even danced in the movie, which Farrell would never do:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xxvc0fGtVVk plus she really really gets down with the music. Put that in your pipe and smoke it as they used to say.
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Dec-08-2019 at 10:16.

  9. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    They were of different eras and styles so it is unfair to judge. Apart from her Hollywood musical, and a not very showy recording of a small number of pop songs, we don't really have a good record of how good Traubel was in her hugely successful nightclub act where she made twice her salary at the Met for the same time period. Farrell comes off much better in pop because her Blues infused pop was of a style that speaks more to us today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt6gFVUrMV8 You can see in this much less well recorded clip of Traubel with Jerry Lewis that she could definitely sing the Blues, but was just not given a good opportunity for posterity to record it. Farrell recorded a whole lot more pop because she did so 15 years later when there were better recording opportunities as well as at least 5 albums in her golden years, not to mention all of her performances saved for posterity from her many TV appearances on TV shows in the 60's that were light years better in quality than the paucity of very grainy appearances Traubel had in the early 50's in the beginning of TV. Unlike Farrell, Traubel did leave behind a wonderful movie record of her singing popular music and here I think the vocal beauty and interpretive skill does rival Farrell in that one instance. It is the only instance where I think the quality of the recording techniques were of similar quality. I would say in this instance Traubel's pop voice is even more beautiful than Farell's, but they were both wonderful. Listen to her glorious alto from Deep in My Heart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sQtU5FGzt8 where her voice is like double cream in quality. You can also get a strong sense from this clip of what her hugely successful nightclub appearances were like in intimacy and warmth of personality. She even danced in the movie, which Farrell would never do:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xxvc0fGtVVk plus she really really gets down with the music. Put that in your pipe and smoke it as they used to say.
    What an interesting read! Have you done a talk on this subject? You should do. Farrell operatic voice vs. pop voice or Traubel's forgotten night club career.

    N.

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  11. #38
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    What an interesting read! Have you done a talk on this subject? You should do. Farrell operatic voice vs. pop voice or Traubel's forgotten night club career.

    N.
    Aren't you kind:-) Actually I did do a two part set of speeches on Traubel and the second one was on her popular music career. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-RjB69dI5M. I aim to do a similar one on Farrell this year maybe. Thanks again.

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  13. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    They were of different eras and styles so it is unfair to judge. Apart from her Hollywood musical, and a not very showy recording of a small number of pop songs, we don't really have a good record of how good Traubel was in her hugely successful nightclub act where she made twice her salary at the Met for the same time period. Farrell comes off much better in pop because her Blues infused pop was of a style that speaks more to us today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt6gFVUrMV8 You can see in this much less well recorded clip of Traubel with Jerry Lewis that she could definitely sing the Blues, but was just not given a good opportunity for posterity to record it. Farrell recorded a whole lot more pop because she did so 15 years later when there were better recording opportunities as well as at least 5 albums in her golden years, not to mention all of her performances saved for posterity from her many TV appearances on TV shows in the 60's that were light years better in quality than the paucity of very grainy appearances Traubel had in the early 50's in the beginning of TV. Unlike Farrell, Traubel did leave behind a wonderful movie record of her singing popular music and here I think the vocal beauty and interpretive skill does rival Farrell in that one instance. It is the only instance where I think the quality of the recording techniques were of similar quality. I would say in this instance Traubel's pop voice is even more beautiful than Farell's, but they were both wonderful. Listen to her glorious alto from Deep in My Heart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sQtU5FGzt8 where her voice is like double cream in quality. You can also get a strong sense from this clip of what her hugely successful nightclub appearances were like in intimacy and warmth of personality. She even danced in the movie, which Farrell would never do:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xxvc0fGtVVk plus she really really gets down with the music. Put that in your pipe and smoke it as they used to say.
    No need to be rude just because I pointed out you weren't following the train of thought

    Would you like to compare their opera singing ability too then? It would make for another interesting little read.
    Last edited by Baritenor; Dec-09-2019 at 01:12.

  14. #40
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baritenor View Post
    No need to be rude just because I pointed out you weren't following the train of thought

    Would you like to compare their opera singing ability too then? It would make for another interesting little read.
    I was trying to be funny not rude so I am truly sorry it came off that way. I respect other's opinions on this forum as often you guys know much more than me. They were similar in their opera careers in both being of the stand and sing school. I think both had much more personality in pop music. Farrell did have high C in the early part of her career, but both had short tops for most of their Wagner singing. The only German role I am aware that Farrell sang is Ariadne, but I am no scholar on this. It was fabulous. Farrell sang more in recital as it fit her life as a Long Island mother and wife of a cop better. She never ever sang a Wagner role on stage. Only in concert. Traubel, on the other hand, hardly ever sang any complete role of anything until her debut at the Met in Wagner and only sang Wagner for her whole career at the Met. I contend that there is a whole lot of difference in singing Wagner excerpts than in singing the whole roles. They both had a gorgeous Bel Canto approach to singing Wagner with huge voices. Farrell's voice was likened to Niagara in power, though she could often be accused of saving for a last act that never came. Traubel's gorgeous instrument was so big that I read where someone said his singing teacher heard her in Chicago and the voice was so big she felt it hit her in her chest on a big note and it bounced off the back wall and hit her on the back of her head. They both also had voices that were so big down low they didn't need to force the voice to be heard easily in low lying passages. I think in the Immolation Scene they are both among the best recordings of the piece. I think it would come down more to one's personal preferences as to who has the upper hand. I think Traubel gives Flagstad some serious competition in the lower lying passages of Sieglinde. As far as stage presence, Farrell had on a perfectly awful dress the time I saw her and always looked dowdy on TV whereas the tall, elegant Traubel spent $300,000 in the 40's to have the top Hollywood designer make special ensembles for her performances at the Met. Traubel was almost 6 feet tall whereas Farrell was barely over 5'.
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Dec-09-2019 at 02:05.

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  16. #41
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    So maybe both can be considered the best vocalists of the recording era then?

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