View Poll Results: Who is best at this carol?

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  • Bjorling

    17 77.27%
  • Norman

    0 0%
  • Sutherland

    5 22.73%
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Thread: 1st Christmas Contest:O Holy Night: Bjorling, Sutherland, Norman

  1. #46
    Junior Member dave2708's Avatar
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    Opera singers with big voices always sound out of place when they do stuff other than opera etc. They find it hard to adjust their sound/technique to suit the music. It's usually overblown and over enunciated.
    I prefer a lighter voice for music like this.
    Something like a Kathleen battle.

  2. #47
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    I boldly spell foreign names/ words badly and against received wisdom put Sutherland before this crowd in a vocal contest Still, 25% of the voters preferred her over the inimitable Swede, so I guess it wasn't a complete wash out LOL. I'm curious what you will make of my next Xmas offering, which will not be the tried and true, but should be beautiful.
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Dec-05-2021 at 13:34.

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  4. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaraslondon View Post
    That said, we've just been listening to various sopranos singing Boito's L'altra notte and both De Los Angeles and Callas sing very clear, easily understandable Italian.

    Not so long ago I was listening to Britten's own recording of The Turn of the Screw (recorded, I think, in 1954). It struck me how clear and natural the diction was of all the singers, including the sopranos Jennifer Vyvyan and Joan Cross.
    I simply must add Olivero's clear enunciation as well.

  5. #49
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nina foresti View Post
    I simply must add Olivero's clear enunciation as well.
    True indeed. I just find her performance a little too melodramatic for my taste.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

  6. #50
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave2708 View Post
    Opera singers with big voices always sound out of place when they do stuff other than opera etc. They find it hard to adjust their sound/technique to suit the music. It's usually overblown and over enunciated.
    I prefer a lighter voice for music like this.
    Something like a Kathleen battle.
    Battle is perfectly lovely in this. From all reports her voice was considerably more endearing than she was! I do think, though, that this particular carol, written in 1847 by opera composer Adolphe Adam, is actually operatic in style and doesn't suffer - and at its climax even benefits - from a bigger, more dramatic sound. Everybody wants to sing and record it, but few non-operatic voices can do it full justice.

    In general, I see nothing about a fully trained voice that should prevent a singer from taking on successfully Christmas carols, simple hymns, or popular songs of certain kinds. In earlier times, before the term "crossover" was invented, opera singers quite routinely programmed and recorded non-operatic songs to excellent effect - Helen Traubel comes to mind - and a popular singer like Jane Froman could bring a classically trained contralto to popular songs with gorgeous results. In the cases of Norman and Sutherland it isn't their voices as such that bother me but rather, respectively, a weird and overwrought arrangement and an absence of distinguishable words.

    I think the present notion of "operatic" singing is colored by the kind of pushed, overweighted, vibrato-ridden sounds we're offered far too much of by supposedly major operatic artists today. I don't enjoy those sounds in Christmas carols, popular songs, or opera itself.

  7. #51
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Battle is perfectly lovely in this. From all reports her voice was considerably more endearing than she was! I do think, though, that this particular carol, written in 1847 by opera composer Adolphe Adam, is actually operatic in style and doesn't suffer - and at its climax even benefits - from a bigger, more dramatic sound. Everybody wants to sing and record it, but few non-operatic voices can do it full justice.

    In general, I see nothing about a fully trained voice that should prevent a singer from taking on successfully Christmas carols, simple hymns, or popular songs of certain kinds. In earlier times, before the term "crossover" was invented, opera singers quite routinely programmed and recorded non-operatic songs to excellent effect - Helen Traubel comes to mind - and a popular singer like Jane Froman could bring a classically trained contralto to popular songs with gorgeous results. In the cases of Norman and Sutherland it isn't their voices as such that bother me but rather, respectively, a weird and overwrought arrangement and an absence of distinguishable words.

    I think the present notion of "operatic" singing is colored by the kind of pushed, overweighted, vibrato-ridden sounds we're offered far too much of by supposedly major operatic artists today. I don't enjoy those sounds in Christmas carols, popular songs, or opera itself.
    This. Good singers across all styles have more in common than most people believe. We tend to like older style singing voices because their voices sounded more...normal. The mechanism isn't really all that different and doesn't require the degree of unnatural manufacturing that is currently in vogue.

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  9. #52
    Junior Member dave2708's Avatar
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    Listen to Carreras doing West Wide Story. It was a total disaster.

  10. #53
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave2708 View Post
    Listen to Carreras doing West Wide Story. It was a total disaster.
    It is a result of total miscasting, and not because of his singing.

  11. #54
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    It is a result of total miscasting, and not because of his singing.
    Doesn't that recording present the oddity of a Tony with a Spanish accent and a Maria without one?

  12. #55
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalalaikaBoy View Post
    This. Good singers across all styles have more in common than most people believe. We tend to like older style singing voices because their voices sounded more...normal. The mechanism isn't really all that different and doesn't require the degree of unnatural manufacturing that is currently in vogue.
    ex: Plenty of musical theatre singers from the Golden Age are indistinguishable from opera singers, and other popular singers like Deana Durbin went on sing operatic music (not sure if she ever did any complete roles, but she has performed several arias) without much difficulty. The biggest three differences I see between good operatic singing vs good musical theatre/popular singing from the first half of the 20th century are
    1) opera tends to sit a bit higher and push the voice to greater extremes
    2) slightly lower larynx when singing
    3) less falsetto in men, more connected chest and head voice in women (though not nearly to the degree that people think. They were connected, but still distinct, rather than in the modern era where the goal seems to be to produce a uniform color regardless of where singer is sitting in her range)

    Other than that, sure, there are different languages and maybe a few more vocal runs, but it was basically the same.

  13. #56
    Junior Member dave2708's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    It is a result of total miscasting, and not because of his singing.
    His singing was by and large awful and his top notes excruciating. He was like a bull in a china shop.
    His "Maria" is the stuff of Halloween.
    Last edited by dave2708; Dec-05-2021 at 23:02.

  14. #57
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    It isn't surprising that successful "crossover" is so uncommon now, given that most popular music has become completely unlike operatic music. There are probably more singers at both ends of the spectrum who could do it if they wanted to, but there's not much call for it. A century ago people were eager to hear their favorite opera singers do popular songs, which were written in a style that could actually be enhanced by a well-developed voice. Everyone, not just operaphiles, had Caruso records and listened to radio programs featuring great singers of the age. How about Caruso's killer contribution (pardon the pun) to WW I?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIr-FoBW5Xw

    And on a gentler note, this masterpiece of vocalism and interpretation (and, praise be, diction):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoKENciw0uU
    Last edited by Woodduck; Dec-05-2021 at 23:40.

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  16. #58
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Björling for me, no contest ! I cherish that recording with my whole heart. Battle also sounds very sweet in that above-mentioned recording.

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  18. #59
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Doesn't that recording present the oddity of a Tony with a Spanish accent and a Maria without one?
    Exactly - who was the casting agent?

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  20. #60
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    Exactly - who was the casting agent?
    My question is: what was Lennie thinking?

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