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Thread: Men singing arias for female voices and vice versa

  1. #31
    Senior Member vivalagentenuova's Avatar
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    No, he doesn't. Sure, he could sing sensitively when he needed to (his sense of contrast was amazing), but he always had a masculine voice and presence.
    I seem to remember a TIO video where they played Gigli and Ponselle singing in head voice side by side on the same pitch. The sound was nearly identical. If Ponselle sounds like Gigli, then Gigli sounds like Ponselle, ie a woman. The point is that male headvoice and female headvoice are not fundamentally different, just as the Tebaldi example proves female chest voice is not fundamentally different from male chest voice. So all I mean to say here is that there is not an unbridgeable gap between male and female singers, and that if Helder was able to cultivate a successful voice on the other side of that gap from where most women do, why shouldn't we say she's a tenor? I agree ultimately though that's it's not super important. What's important to me is that it be acknowledged that she is not a contralto in the sense that she doesn't sing in two registers, she sings in one register covered, which is not what contraltos do. We seem to basically agree about her use of registers, so I can live with that.

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  3. #32
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    I doubt that anyone coming upon Helder's recording without knowing who was singing would think he was listening to a woman, contralto or otherwise. The losses to the frequency spectrum inherent in the acoustic recording have no doubt robbed the voice of some brilliance and body which, in life, would probably have made it still more masculine in quality.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Jul-30-2021 at 19:59.

  4. #33
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I doubt that anyone coming upon Helder's recording without knowing who was singing would think he was listening to a woman, contralto or otherwise. The losses to the frequency spectrum inherent in the acoustic recording have no doubt robbed the voice of some brilliance and body which, in life, would probably have made it still more masculine in quality.
    Personally, I notice a big difference. Her voice sounds much more comfortable, speech-like. Tenors singing in that range (I believe Gigli has also sung this piece) carry more energy and pain, while the contralto sounds more relaxed and conversational. The tenor sounds lovesick and tormented, the contralto sounds like a wise woman strolling through the gardens. Similar ranges, but they come off like night and day.
    Last edited by BalalaikaBoy; Jul-31-2021 at 00:25.

  5. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalalaikaBoy View Post
    Personally, I notice a big difference. Her voice sounds much more comfortable, speech-like. Tenors singing in that range (I believe Gigli has also sung this piece) carry more energy and pain, while the contralto sounds more relaxed and conversational. The tenor sounds lovesick and tormented, the contralto sounds like a wise woman strolling through the gardens. Similar ranges, but they come off like night and day.
    I went to listen to Gigli’s version.

    Compering them just makes it more obvious how phenomenal each of them sing. But I don’t hear what you’re describing. Yes, her color is darker then Gigli’s but it doesn’t take away from the intensity. Yes, the brilliant phrasing of Gigli makes it magical. But Helder chose to train her voice in this way and sing this piece and I think her rendition is remarkable.

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  7. #35
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Operasinger View Post
    I went to listen to Gigli’s version.

    Compering them just makes it more obvious how phenomenal each of them sing. But I don’t hear what you’re describing. Yes, her color is darker then Gigli’s but it doesn’t take away from the intensity. Yes, the brilliant phrasing of Gigli makes it magical. But Helder chose to train her voice in this way and sing this piece and I think her rendition is remarkable.
    on this much we can agree. I have absolutely no objection to her singing this piece.

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  9. #36
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    I think you guys misunderstood my question
    I didn’t ask about men with feminine voices and women with masculine voices (though the discussion that resulted is really interesting).
    I asked about singer with “regular” voices who sing pieces outside their fachs, transposing accordingly.
    Last edited by Yotam1703; Aug-03-2021 at 11:57.

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  11. #37
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yotam1703 View Post
    I think you guys misunderstood my question
    I didn’t ask about men with feminine voices and women with masculine voices (though the discussion that resulted is really interesting).
    I asked about singer with “regular” voices who sing pieces outside their fachs, transposing accordingly.
    Call it "thread drift" or "mission creep."

    On topic, I was a tenor who liked to go around singing Bellini's soprano arias. My specialty was "Qui la voce" from I Puritani. That no one ever heard me do this is their good fortune.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Aug-03-2021 at 15:02.

  12. #38
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    There are a number of Schubert lied that are transposed up or down for different genders regularly, but I think since they aren't character pieces, that is ok. I am also fairly positive that Rossini reused tunes for different genders. Aretha Franklin did her interpretation of Nessun Dorma. Does that count? Of course Ombra mai fu is done both by tenors, counter tenors and mezzos. Fagioli is the only counter tenor I have heard do this, but he sang Arsace in Semiramide, which is normally done by mezzos, and did it spectacularly. I close with the piece de resistance, a male soprano singing In Questa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADktuJp2jAg. He might not lose his head but then Calaf might flip out when he finds out what surprises this Turandot has in store for him.

  13. #39
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    I close with the piece de resistance, a male soprano singing In Questa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADktuJp2jAg. He might not lose his head but then Calaf might flip out when he finds out what surprises this Turandot has in store for him.
    Interesting, but it doesn't compare with the richly nuanced interpretation by Madame Vera Galupe-Borszkh. Nothing does.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSs7V-sXEvY

  14. #40
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Interesting, but it doesn't compare with the richly nuanced interpretation by Madame Vera Galupe-Borszkh. Nothing does.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSs7V-sXEvY
    Best post on here in awhile. He was a genius and WHAT a range.

  15. #41
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    I ADORE Madame Vera. Her repertory just goes on and on! Truly a Soprano Assoluto instrument.

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  17. #42
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Just off the top of my head I think in men you just wouldn't find a straight male singer doing this as it would not be macho enough. I think Nessun Dorma might get some women singers and I think three in a group did so in a concert, but although I remember it I can't find it. Outside of genderless lieder I just don't see the attraction and it is too odd except for perhaps a gay artist. Just my 2 cents.
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Aug-06-2021 at 15:47.

  18. #43
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    Just off the top of my head I think in men you just wouldn't find a straight male singer doing this as it would not be macho enough. I think Nessun Dorma might get some women singers and I think three in a group did so in a concert, but although I remember it I can't find it. Outside of genderless lieder I just don't see the attraction and it is too odd except for perhaps a gay artist. Just my 2 cents.
    Just wondering, since you seem to be in tune with these things: how many straight female impersonators have there been? Any well-known ones?

    There really is no socially sanctioned male equivalent to the tomboy. Straight boys are not clamoring to play on girls' sports teams, and if female actors play Hamlet they are likely never to tell a male Ophelia to get him to a nunnery. Hence it stands to reason that few of us will ever get to hear a tenor sing "Caro nome" or Brunnhilde's Immolation Scene.

    Straight men are such weenies.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Aug-08-2021 at 09:04.

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  20. #44
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Just wondering, since you seem to be in tune with these things: how many straight female impersonators have there been? Any well-known ones?

    There really is no socially sanctioned male equivalent to the tomboy. Straight boys are not clamoring to play on girls' sports teams, and if female actors play Hamlet they are likely never to tell a male Ophelia to get him to a nunnery. Hence it stands to reason that few of us will ever get to hear a tenor sing "Caro nome" or Brunnhilde's Immolation Scene.

    Straight men are such weenies.
    Dame Edna is straight. HUGELY famous. Flip Wilson most likely was ( Geraldine). Most transvestites are straight ( although I would not consider them female impersonators.) Satyn Deville, a famous Atlanta drag queen was married with kids. There have been a number of straight actors who played drag queens in movies. Incidentally I was breathtakingly beautiful ( I was told) when I did drag back 30 years ago. I lip synched Eileen Farrell's Blues in the Night of course.

  21. #45
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    Dame Edna is straight. HUGELY famous. Flip Wilson most likely was ( Geraldine). Most transvestites are straight ( although I would not consider them female impersonators.) Satyn Deville, a famous Atlanta drag queen was married with kids. There have been a number of straight actors who played drag queens in movies. Incidentally I was breathtakingly beautiful ( I was told) when I did drag back 30 years ago. I lip synched Eileen Farrell's Blues in the Night of course.
    Thanks! Here's a virtual ten dollar bill to stick in your cleavage.

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