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Thread: Eileen Farrell - arguably the best vocalist...ever/of the recording era?

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    Default Eileen Farrell - arguably the best vocalist...ever/of the recording era?

    I think there's a strong case to be made that she's the best vocalist ever since she was basically the only one capable of singing both opera (arguably the hardest genre to sing) and popular music at elite world class level.

    Helen Traubel was capable of this too but, as far as I know, even though she was very good she was not quite in the same league as Farrell when it came to opera...or am I wrong? How do they compare when it comes to popular music??

    I guess the counterargument would be that we haven't had many elite opera singers give popular music a go so we don't know just how big of a feat Farrell's versatility is. Renee Flemming and Angela Gheorghiu have tried their hand (voice) at it and, in my amatuer opinion, they were good technically but the performarce or 'energy' was not really there (unlike Farrell)....or am I wrong?

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    For instance, in the case of Gheorghiu, to me this feels like carboard (sorry):


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Lv8FybETQ

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baritenor View Post
    For instance, in the case of Gheorghiu, to me this feels like carboard (sorry):


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Lv8FybETQ
    It is a music video, so it is undeniably fake (lip-syncing).

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baritenor View Post
    For instance, in the case of Gheorghiu, to me this feels like carboard (sorry):


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Lv8FybETQ
    I've never heard the song (Romanian, I assume), but the arrangement is bland, glitzy and trite.

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    Last edited by Bonetan; Jun-18-2020 at 01:53.

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    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Traubel was a bigger opera star. She was the lead soprano at the Met in the 40's. Farrell sang opera but sang more concerts. She was also more successful at pop than Farrell, making twice her Met salary in pop. They both sang in movies. As to who is better that is subjective. I would say they are equally matched in pop, but Traubel was more limited to the styles of the 50's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    Traubel was a bigger opera star. She was the lead soprano at the Met in the 40's. Farrell sang opera but sang more concerts. She was also more successful at pop than Farrell, making twice her Met salary in pop. They both sang in movies. As to who is better that is subjective. I would say they are equally matched in pop, but Traubel was more limited to the styles of the 50's.
    The point was whether Farrell is a better vocalist than Traubel and not which one had a more succesfull career.

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baritenor View Post
    The point was whether Farrell is a better vocalist than Traubel and not which one had a more succesfull career.
    She had a great voice but not Diva enough for the people .
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogerx View Post
    She had a great voice but not Diva enough for the people .
    Exactly. When one listed the greatest Wagnerian sopranos of all time Traubel is always in the top 5 whereas Farrell is never in the list, partially because she never sang Wagner onstage, just in concert and on albums. Farrell was dumpy and very plain whereas Traubel was tall, glamorous and spent $300,000 to have Adrian of Hollywood design her gowns so she was glamorous. She gave the people what they wanted. With regard to albums, Traubel's were always 78 and Farrell LP, so Farrell's had better sound. I saw Farrell in concert and she was boring as heck and kept saving herself for the "last act" that never arrived. She never sang more than 40%. Traubel would blow you away on a regular basis. Farrell had a huge voice but saved it for big concerts like NYC, not Jackson, MS, where I heard her. What was extraordinary about Farrell was that she recorded quite a number of wonderful pop albums definitely in her twilight years, some after 70. These were all contralto in range.
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Jun-27-2020 at 10:20.

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