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Thread: Are there opera singers you avoid whenever possible?

  1. #121
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IgorS View Post
    What do you expect from dramatic tenor? Fioritura? He produced his notes exactly the way opera notes should be produced. He never was woofy, aspirated, nasal, or constricted.
    MDM was an exciting singer and I understand why he has as many fans as he does, but this is not the description of a perfect technique. Even if Olivero is exaggerating and/or being overly critical in the following quote it's pretty clear MDM's technique should never be taught and is therefore far from perfect.

    Olivero on Mario Del Monaco:
    When Del Monaco and I sang Francesca da Rimini together at La Scala he explained his whole vocal technique to me. When he finished I said, "My dear Del Monaco, if I had to put into practice all the things you've told me, I'd stop singing right away and just disappear." The technique was so complicated: you push the larynx down, then you push this up, then you do that – in short, it made my head spin just to hear everything he did. We recorded Francesca excerpts together. Francesca has a beautiful phrase, "Paolo, datemi pace," marked "piano," and then Paolo enters with "Inghirlandata di violette," which also should be sung softly, delicately. Instead, Del Monaco was terrible – he bellowed the phrase [she imitates him and laughs]! When he listened to the playback he exclaimed, "I can't believe it! After that soft poetic phrase I come in and what do I sound like – a boxer punching with his fists!" He recorded the phrase again, but the second attempt was more or less the same because he was incapable of singing piano. He was furious with himself because he wanted to. He tried everything, but his technique would not permit him to sing softly since it totally was based on the muscles.

  2. #122
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonetan View Post
    MDM was an exciting singer and I understand why he has as many fans as he does, but this is not the description of a perfect technique. Even if Olivero is exaggerating and/or being overly critical in the following quote it's pretty clear MDM's technique should never be taught and is therefore far from perfect.

    Olivero on Mario Del Monaco:
    When Del Monaco and I sang Francesca da Rimini together at La Scala he explained his whole vocal technique to me. When he finished I said, "My dear Del Monaco, if I had to put into practice all the things you've told me, I'd stop singing right away and just disappear." The technique was so complicated: you push the larynx down, then you push this up, then you do that – in short, it made my head spin just to hear everything he did. We recorded Francesca excerpts together. Francesca has a beautiful phrase, "Paolo, datemi pace," marked "piano," and then Paolo enters with "Inghirlandata di violette," which also should be sung softly, delicately. Instead, Del Monaco was terrible – he bellowed the phrase [she imitates him and laughs]! When he listened to the playback he exclaimed, "I can't believe it! After that soft poetic phrase I come in and what do I sound like – a boxer punching with his fists!" He recorded the phrase again, but the second attempt was more or less the same because he was incapable of singing piano. He was furious with himself because he wanted to. He tried everything, but his technique would not permit him to sing softly since it totally was based on the muscles.
    Considering how well Olivero preserved her voice, one assumes she would know.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  4. #123
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IgorS View Post
    What do you expect from dramatic tenor? Fioritura? He produced his notes exactly the way opera notes should be produced. He never was woofy, aspirated, nasal, or constricted.
    Tbh...yes, I expect this from every singer. Any voice type can develop flexibility. That said, MDM is a remarkable singer with otherwise very good technique.

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  6. #124
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arapinho1 View Post
    I avoid all opera
    As is your right. What do you listen to?

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  8. #125
    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    I replied to this thread a little while ago in a slightly dismissive fashion.

    However, on reflection, I do at least try to avoid certain singers. Plácido Domingo and José Carreras.

    Especially the latter.

    Can't explain why I don't like their singing, I just don't.

    But I don't refuse to buy recordings with their contribution, I'd just rather not (I have bought a few Verdi Boito and others).
    “The special mark of the modern world is not that it is sceptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it”

    G.K. Chesterton

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  10. #126
    Senior Member Parsifal98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaraslondon View Post
    Considering how well Olivero preserved her voice, one assumes she would know.
    She did preserve her caprino quite well

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  12. #127
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaraslondon View Post
    Considering how well Olivero preserved her voice, one assumes she would know.
    Indeed. Her voice was a bit odd - the very rapid vibrato has been noted - but you don't sing opera into your seventies and eighties without a sound technique.

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  14. #128
    Senior Member vivalagentenuova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonetan View Post
    MDM was an exciting singer and I understand why he has as many fans as he does, but this is not the description of a perfect technique. Even if Olivero is exaggerating and/or being overly critical in the following quote it's pretty clear MDM's technique should never be taught and is therefore far from perfect.

    Olivero on Mario Del Monaco:
    When Del Monaco and I sang Francesca da Rimini together at La Scala he explained his whole vocal technique to me. When he finished I said, "My dear Del Monaco, if I had to put into practice all the things you've told me, I'd stop singing right away and just disappear." The technique was so complicated: you push the larynx down, then you push this up, then you do that – in short, it made my head spin just to hear everything he did. We recorded Francesca excerpts together. Francesca has a beautiful phrase, "Paolo, datemi pace," marked "piano," and then Paolo enters with "Inghirlandata di violette," which also should be sung softly, delicately. Instead, Del Monaco was terrible – he bellowed the phrase [she imitates him and laughs]! When he listened to the playback he exclaimed, "I can't believe it! After that soft poetic phrase I come in and what do I sound like – a boxer punching with his fists!" He recorded the phrase again, but the second attempt was more or less the same because he was incapable of singing piano. He was furious with himself because he wanted to. He tried everything, but his technique would not permit him to sing softly since it totally was based on the muscles.
    I believe the recording she refers to was made in 1969. Del Monaco's voice had deteriorated significantly by then. There are many factors in vocal decline, and I'm not sure if we can nail down the reason for his decline any more than Callas' or Tebaldi's. What I can say is that earlier in his career he could sing softly. He is not my ideal dramatic tenor. I prefer Zanelli, Luccioni, and others. I don't much care for Olivero, though. I really wish she hadn't been cast in the 1938 Turandot. She seems like a sensitive interpreter, but I simply cannot get past the vibrato.

    Tbh...yes, I expect this from every singer. Any voice type can develop flexibility. That said, MDM is a remarkable singer with otherwise very good technique.
    Agreed, and there are many examples of this.

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  16. #129
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivalagentenuova View Post
    I don't much care for Olivero, though. I really wish she hadn't been cast in the 1938 Turandot. She seems like a sensitive interpreter, but I simply cannot get past the vibrato.

    Nor do I really. I am impressed by her longevity, but I don't much like her vibrato and I often find her just too melodramatic. Her acting and singing style make me think of a sort of aural equivalent of silent movie acting. I suppose I find her a bit hammy.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  18. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivalagentenuova View Post
    I believe the recording she refers to was made in 1969. Del Monaco's voice had deteriorated significantly by then. There are many factors in vocal decline, and I'm not sure if we can nail down the reason for his decline any more than Callas' or Tebaldi's. What I can say is that earlier in his career he could sing softly. He is not my ideal dramatic tenor. I prefer Zanelli, Luccioni, and others. I don't much care for Olivero, though. I really wish she hadn't been cast in the 1938 Turandot. She seems like a sensitive interpreter, but I simply cannot get past the vibrato.


    Agreed, and there are many examples of this.
    Regarding Del Monaco, I've read in various places over the years a suggested link between him being badly injured in a car crash in the early 1960s and perceived vocal decline. If it might contribute to the discussion, the most detailed suggestion of that sort I've come across is here:

    "As I'm sure you know, Del Monaco had a serious automobile accident, I believe, in December of 1963, when he was 48 years old. He broke all of his ribs, his pelvis, and very severely damaged his kidneys. He was on dialysis several times a week for the rest of his life. He resumed singing within the year but his voice was one-half the size of what it had been previously. Where before he had been a great Otello and Samson, now he was a competent Cavaradossi. I was fortunate to hear him again for the last time in Bologna around Christmas of 1964 in a performance of "Otello" with Marcella Pobbe and Giulio Fioravanti. The quality of the voice sounded somewhat similar but he was no longer able to support the huge sound as before. And so a singer who once had been bigger than life on stage had now become just another reasonably good tenor. It is interesting to speculate what Del Monaco’s voice might have sounded like ten or fifteen years later had he not had this disabling accident. Pavarotti’s voice continued to grow and improve until he was sixty or sixty-five."
    Source: http://www.operanostalgia.be/html/De...co-AIKINS.html

  19. #131
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revitalized Classics View Post
    Regarding Del Monaco, I've read in various places over the years a suggested link between him being badly injured in a car crash in the early 1960s and perceived vocal decline. If it might contribute to the discussion, the most detailed suggestion of that sort I've come across is here:

    "As I'm sure you know, Del Monaco had a serious automobile accident, I believe, in December of 1963, when he was 48 years old. He broke all of his ribs, his pelvis, and very severely damaged his kidneys. He was on dialysis several times a week for the rest of his life. He resumed singing within the year but his voice was one-half the size of what it had been previously. Where before he had been a great Otello and Samson, now he was a competent Cavaradossi. I was fortunate to hear him again for the last time in Bologna around Christmas of 1964 in a performance of "Otello" with Marcella Pobbe and Giulio Fioravanti. The quality of the voice sounded somewhat similar but he was no longer able to support the huge sound as before. And so a singer who once had been bigger than life on stage had now become just another reasonably good tenor. It is interesting to speculate what Del Monaco’s voice might have sounded like ten or fifteen years later had he not had this disabling accident. Pavarotti’s voice continued to grow and improve until he was sixty or sixty-five."
    Source: http://www.operanostalgia.be/html/De...co-AIKINS.html
    That's interesting information, but the author's suggestion that voices are likely to improve until late in any singer's career isn't borne out in my experience. It certainly isn't true of Pavarotti's, as he claims. Singers are generally fortunate to keep most of what they have into their fifties.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Dec-03-2021 at 19:30.

  20. #132
    Senior Member vivalagentenuova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revitalized Classics View Post
    Regarding Del Monaco, I've read in various places over the years a suggested link between him being badly injured in a car crash in the early 1960s and perceived vocal decline. If it might contribute to the discussion, the most detailed suggestion of that sort I've come across is here:

    "As I'm sure you know, Del Monaco had a serious automobile accident, I believe, in December of 1963, when he was 48 years old. He broke all of his ribs, his pelvis, and very severely damaged his kidneys. He was on dialysis several times a week for the rest of his life. He resumed singing within the year but his voice was one-half the size of what it had been previously. Where before he had been a great Otello and Samson, now he was a competent Cavaradossi. I was fortunate to hear him again for the last time in Bologna around Christmas of 1964 in a performance of "Otello" with Marcella Pobbe and Giulio Fioravanti. The quality of the voice sounded somewhat similar but he was no longer able to support the huge sound as before. And so a singer who once had been bigger than life on stage had now become just another reasonably good tenor. It is interesting to speculate what Del Monaco’s voice might have sounded like ten or fifteen years later had he not had this disabling accident. Pavarotti’s voice continued to grow and improve until he was sixty or sixty-five."
    Source: http://www.operanostalgia.be/html/De...co-AIKINS.html
    I had heard something about this, but didn't know the year or the extent of the accident. That would almost certainly contribute to vocal problems. It's also worth noting that Del Monaco had two vocal crises as a young singer, both occasioned by leaving Melocchi and singing lighter repertoire as a lyric tenor. Whether this proves the rigidity of Melocchi's technique or the freeing power of it is ambiguous.

    For anyone who doubts that Del Monaco was more than a belter, I suggest they listen to Filippeschi's first scene from the 1953 Callas studio Norma. Then listen to Del Monaco's 1955 radio Norma with Callas, that whole first scene. The difference in depth of characterization, degree of vocal shading and coloring, and flexibility of voice is striking. He was a variable artist, certainly, but he was an artist.
    Last edited by vivalagentenuova; Dec-03-2021 at 19:43.

  21. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivalagentenuova View Post
    I had heard something about this, but didn't know the year or the extent of the accident. That would almost certainly contribute to vocal problems. It's also worth noting that Del Monaco had two vocal crises as a young singer, both occasioned by leaving Melocchi and singing lighter repertoire as a lyric tenor. Whether this proves the rigidity of Melocchi's technique or the freeing power of it is ambiguous.

    For anyone who doubts that Del Monaco was more than a belter, I suggest they listen to Filippeschi's first scene from the 1953 Callas studio Norma. Then listen to Del Monaco's 1955 radio Norma with Callas, that whole first scene. The difference in depth of characterization, degree of vocal shading and coloring, and flexibility of voice is striking. He was a variable artist, certainly, but he was an artist.
    He is an asset in a lot of recordings. Speaking of Callas, it's worth considering that Del Monaco's debut was also back in the early '40s - 1940 for him, 1941 for her - so by the time the 1960s are coming around he is something of a veteran and the heavy repertoire he sang is a factor.

    I think his Don Alvaro was remarkably well sung, notably here with Mitropoulos:


    Another excellent live performance with Mitropoulos was in Fanciulla del West:
    Last edited by Revitalized Classics; Dec-03-2021 at 20:30. Reason: Spelling

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  23. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivalagentenuova View Post
    For anyone who doubts that Del Monaco was more than a belter, I suggest they listen to Filippeschi's first scene from the 1953 Callas studio Norma. Then listen to Del Monaco's 1955 radio Norma with Callas, that whole first scene. The difference in depth of characterization, degree of vocal shading and coloring, and flexibility of voice is striking. He was a variable artist, certainly, but he was an artist.
    PS: I fully agree that Filippeschi was often rather compromised in the ways you describe, but just the mention of his name conjures memories of those live recordings of killer parts like Arrigo in I Vespri Siciliani and Arnoldo in Guglielmo Tell

    Giorno di pianto


    O muto asil


    Given the subject of the thread, I'd make a qualified recommendation - is a sotto-voce-shout-out a thing? - that while there are times when you might very well avoid Filippeschi, sometimes he is worth a listen.
    Last edited by Revitalized Classics; Dec-03-2021 at 21:23.

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  25. #135
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Placido Domingo is one of those singers I don't understand the hype around, but also one where I don't quite understand the haters. imo, he's an okay singer, not terrible, but definitely not someone who belongs among the ranks of Corelli, del Monaco or Melchior. Alas, not many people are. Imo, connoisseurs of older singers (speaking as one myself) can be a bit black and white in terms of "this is the one way to sing correctly. These 10 singers are the gold standard and everyone else is terrible". It's okay to say "this singer is decent" or "this singer is fairly good" once in awhile.

    exception: the only thing that triggers a strong emotion in me is when he thinks he can just turn around and sing baritone rep, as if he sounds remotely similar to a baritone. The heldentenor rep isn't that different from his natural voice, but he has as much business singing heavy baritone rep as Anna Moffo has singing Azucena. It's totally off in every conceivable way.

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