View Poll Results: Who is best at this carol?

Voters
22. You may not vote on this poll
  • Bjorling

    17 77.27%
  • Norman

    0 0%
  • Sutherland

    5 22.73%
Page 1 of 8 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 110

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

  1. #1
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    2,867
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 1st Christmas Contest:O Holy Night: Bjorling, Sutherland, Norman

    I thought I'd see if once a week individual Xmas contests would interest you as many opera singers recorded wonderful stuff. I thought we'd start with the most operatic one, O Holy Night. There will be three in each so skip an artist you hate. I love all three of these. Sutherland likely sings the most spectacular high note in any Xmas music that I'm aware of. BTW, I LOVE Christmas music tons!!!! I'm not really religious, but it is nostalgic for me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJjVWn0zwm8
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Dec-02-2021 at 14:24.

  2. Likes Barbebleu liked this post
  3. #2
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    2,292
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    There’s a certain martial quality, especially in French, that I associate with this piece (“aria?”) that makes it - for me - more of a man’s piece and that quality is impossible to convey with the English words. My ideal version is by Georges Thill, closely followed by Roberto Alagna, chiefly for his passionate rendition.

    As much as I like Jessye Norman and as familiar as I am with Sutherland’s stupendous singing of this, the palm must go to the absolutely gorgeous rendition by Jussi Björling, again in Swedish. I don’t know what it is, but when he sings in his native language, I can’t help but love his singing. (No, I don’t speak Swedish).
    Last edited by MAS; Dec-02-2021 at 17:09.

  4. #3
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Sharon, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,560
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thill's version is the finest, and no one else is even close.

    But for something completely different:


  5. Likes Tsaraslondon liked this post
  6. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    2,595
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Somehow I find it almost mandatory to hear the French version otherwise it takes something away even when the singer is superb.
    Having said that I shall now take it all back because there is no one, not one singer, who is able to touch my heart and start the lump in my throat but Jussi's rendition, French or not!

  7. Likes MAS, Seattleoperafan, Woodduck and 4 others liked this post
  8. #5
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    2,292
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    Thill's version is the finest, and no one else is even close.

    But for something completely different:

    Sorry, way too pop for me.

  9. #6
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    2,867
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    Thill's version is the finest, and no one else is even close.

    But for something completely different:

    It is now on next weeks car playlist with my friend Ellen. Of course, I like pop much more than most of this bunch;-)
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Dec-02-2021 at 17:15.

  10. Likes Barbebleu liked this post
  11. #7
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    2,867
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nina foresti View Post
    Somehow I find it almost mandatory to hear the French version otherwise it takes something away even when the singer is superb.
    Having said that I shall now take it all back because there is no one, not one singer, who is able to touch my heart and start the lump in my throat but Jussi's rendition, French or not!
    All so great but I agree, his is very special.

  12. #8
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ashland, OR
    Posts
    18,746
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    You can melt Frosty the snowman, eat Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer for dinner, and give Mary the morning after pill, but leave me Bjorling's "O helga natt."

  13. Likes MAS, nina foresti, Tsaraslondon and 5 others liked this post
  14. #9
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ashland, OR
    Posts
    18,746
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    There’s a certain martial quality, especially in French, that I associate with this piece (“aria?”) that makes it - for me - more of a man’s piece and that quality is impossible to convey with the English words. My ideal version is by Georges Thill, closely followed by Roberto Alagna, chiefly for his passionate rendition.

    As much as I like Jessye Norman and as familiar as I am with Sutherland’s stupendous singing of this, the palm must go to the absolutely gorgeous rendition by Jussi Björling, again in Swedish. I don’t know what it is, but when he sings in his native language, I can’t help but love his singing. (No, I don’t speak Swedish).
    I don't hear the aria - and it really sounds like one, unsurprisingly given its composer - as martial. I do hear Georges Thill's splendid rendition as martial, which is why I prefer Bjorling. Thill may as well be singing the Marseillaise.

  15. Likes MAS, Tsaraslondon, N/A liked this post
  16. #10
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    2,292
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I don't hear the aria - and it really sounds like one, unsurprisingly given its composer - as martial
    I may be alone in this.

  17. #11
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    8,467
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    I didn't much like Norman's arrangement so that put her out of the running.

    The Sutherland version I know quite well because I have the album it's from and it's full of fabulously over the top arrangements by Douglas Gamley, I think. The top notes are stunning but once past the first line I haven't a clue what she's singing about, which, as most of you know, I find extremely irritating.

    Jussi just makes my heart melt with his beautiful, heart-felt version. A very easy win for me.

    Incidentally, if I want to hear a soprano singing this, I'd probably go to Leontyne Price with Karajan and the Vienna Phil. It's stunning (and you can hear more of her words).
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

  18. Likes Woodduck, MAS, nina foresti and 3 others liked this post
  19. #12
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    8,467
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    Thill's version is the finest, and no one else is even close.

    But for something completely different:

    I actually prefer this arrangement to the one Jessye has.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

  20. #13
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ashland, OR
    Posts
    18,746
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    There are many postings of the Bjorling recording on YouTube, where I first discovered it. I was as moved by people's comments as by the music and performance - listeners of every sort reaching for ways to express their emotions. I get a special pleasure from reading the incredulous reactions of people who don't normally like, or listen to, classical music or opera, and didn't realize that singing like this existed (of course, as we know, it rarely does).

    If I had to pick one moment in a perfect performance that seems to me typically Bjorling, it would be the way his voice opens out and acquires an almost unthinkable vibrant brilliance on the last "helga" before the climactic note (which is astounding in itself). The ability to open up a high note even further from a forte without constriction or distortion is rare, and Bjorling did it elsewhere as well. Only a voice completely free of impediments can create an effect like this. (I've noticed Melchior doing it too.)

    "O Holy Night" is the favorite Christmas song of many people (some survey was taken somewhere), and I'd be willing to bet that Bjorling's rendering of it, in a language most of the world doesn't speak, becomes the immediate favorite of a majority of people who hear it.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Dec-02-2021 at 19:38.

  21. #14
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    2,292
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    There are many postings of the Bjorling recording on YouTube, where I first discovered it. I was as moved by people's comments as by the music and performance - listeners of every sort reaching for ways to express their emotions. I get a special pleasure from reading the incredulous reactions of people who don't normally like, or listen to, classical music or opera, and didn't realize that singing like this existed (of course, as we know, it rarely does).

    If I had to pick one moment in a perfect performance that seems to me typically Bjorling, it would be the way his voice opens out and acquires an almost unthinkable vibrant brilliance on the last "helga" before the climactic note (which is astounding in itself). The ability to open up a high note even further from a forte without constriction or distortion is rare, and Bjorling did it elsewhere as well. Only a voice completely free of impediments can create an effect like this. (I've noticed Melchior doing it too.)

    "O Holy Night" is the favorite Christmas song of many people (some survey was taken somewhere), and I'd be willing to bet that Bjorling's rendering of it, in a language most of the world doesn't speak, becomes the immediate favorite of a majority of people who hear it.
    Very nice, thanks Woodduck - it’s my favorite Christmas Carol, but usually spoilt by the usual overblown arrangements.

  22. Likes Woodduck, Seattleoperafan liked this post
  23. #15
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ashland, OR
    Posts
    18,746
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    Very nice, thanks Woodduck - it’s my favorite Christmas Carol, but usually spoilt by the usual overblown arrangements.
    Yeah, 'tis the season to overblow everything.

  24. Likes MAS, Tsaraslondon, Seattleoperafan liked this post
Page 1 of 8 12345 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •