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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/20/arts/music/met-opera-semiramide-review.html
I saw this and was impressed. How long since we have had a voice of any size in this role???
Questions:
1. She hit the high E, which I didn't know she had. It was very nice, but her very top doesn't sound to me on the level of volume of Dame Joans. Correct? Her voice itself seems really big and opulent.
2. I knew she was a big girl, but I had no idea she was Jane Eaglen big!!!! Is it just the costume or is that the fact. It doesn't affect how much I'd love to see her. She , Radvonovsky , David Hansen,and Jonas K are my 3 most desired artists to see live.
3. If I opted not to go to the HD broadcast, do they usually put these on demand?
4. HD question: do you find it much better in the theater than at home on demand?
Sorry I am so demanding.
 

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3. If I opted not to go to the HD broadcast, do they usually put these on demand?
4. HD question: do you find it much better in the theater than at home on demand?
Sorry I am so demanding.
3. They usually end up in Met On Demand in 6-9 months. I think some do not make it to steaming, but I don't follow closely enough to know for sure.

4. It depends a lot on your home set up and your tolerance for being around people eating popcorn, etc. (and, I suppose, the ambient noise at your home). Being in a good cinema with great sound and few distractions is really great. It's at a set time so you can't put it off. And even though some of the people around you may not be entirely quiet during the screening, it can be good to see a bunch of people also there to see something you love.
 

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I have heard Mead in the flesh... and yes there is a lot if it... both at the MET (as Anna Bolena) and at Carnegie Hall (as Matilda in Guglielmo Tell). I have never been overly impressed with her voice which sounds dry and uninteresting. I mentioned both venues because it did not resonate with any meaningful presence in either hall.

Yet she always hit all the notes cleanly, and that included hearing her in an in house recordings of Rossini's Ermione which like Semiramide was written for Isabella Colbran and indeed a recording of her as Semiramide from a few years ago at Caramoor. That was until the recent MET broadcast of Norma where she fudged so much of the coloratura that it was almost as if she never learned the part properly. Plus she sounded ragged. If that is her current vocal state then I don't have high hopes for her Semiramide, I do plan to get to the HD Theatre simulcast. Keeping my fingers crossed.
 

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Seattleoperafan;140117nto said:
I think the moderators need to be alerted about you LOL
Thanks, but the mods already know what a problem I am. :devil:

I generally dislike the "so-and-so is overrated" sort of discussion, but - Angela Meade is overrated, or at least overemployed (I don't know what most people really think of her). I'm not trying to pick on her, but I think her present status as a leading soprano at the Met may be symptomatic of the acknowledged difficulty, in the last few decades, of finding singers fully equipped for the dramatic side of Italian opera, starting with bel canto and moving through the heavier Verdi roles and verismo. There may never have been many singers equally effective in the whole range of that repertoire, but Meade seems to be the Met's present candidate for prima donna assoluta, and to my ears she is pretty far from being that. She should, in particular, leave bel canto alone. I happened to overhear this
from another room where I couldn't hear the piano accompaniment, and despite being familiar with the aria I couldn't tell what it was because I couldn't tell what pitches were being sung. In Bellini's day a singer who made noises like this would have been sent back to school, or advised to find another profession.
 

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Well!! I just checked out the NYTines online review. Ms. Mead certainly fills out that costume more than I had even imagined that she would. I saw the prima in the house in 1990 with a quite svelte Lella Cuberli who acted the part as a half crazed and somewhat unstable ruler who would be just looney inough to kill her husband, dump her lover, and then fall in love with someone who was her son's age. Only in opera... with, as the Times notes, nods to Greek mythology and Shakespeare of course! Additionally there was then the video with June Anderson who played the part as a much more regal monarch. I guess Meade will take the stand and sing approach.

I must admit that in the excerpt from "Bel raggio" that she hit all the notes and sang a few of Sutherland's embellishments to boot. Plus she did hit the E so there is hope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have heard Mead in the flesh... and yes there is a lot if it... both at the MET (as Anna Bolena) and at Carnegie Hall (as Matilda in Guglielmo Tell). I have never been overly impressed with her voice which sounds dry and uninteresting. I mentioned both venues because it did not resonate with any meaningful presence in either hall.

Yet she always hit all the notes cleanly, and that included hearing her in an in house recordings of Rossini's Ermione which like Semiramide was written for Isabella Colbran and indeed a recording of her as Semiramide from a few years ago at Caramoor. That was until the recent MET broadcast of Norma where she fudged so much of the coloratura that it was almost as if she never learned the part properly. Plus she sounded ragged. If that is her current vocal state then I don't have high hopes for her Semiramide, I do plan to get to the HD Theatre simulcast. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Perhaps she has a big voice that just doesn't project well. I am apparently one of the few who likes her lush vibrato. There are lots of voices that record differently than they sound in a theater. My sister taught voice for years and she said she always had to go hear a student in a large space to see how their voice really carried.
 

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Perhaps she has a big voice that just doesn't project well. I am apparently one of the few who likes her lush vibrato. There are lots of voices that record differently than they sound in a theater. My sister taught voice for years and she said she always had to go hear a student in a large space to see how their voice really carried.
I totally agree that voices sound different in an actual space as opposed to the manner in which they are picked up by a microphone. Of course some voices sound coarse under both situations, yet in still others what the microphone detects as coarseness can translate into all sorts of colorations in an acoustic space. Furthermore, what some hear as a "lush vibrato" is heard di as a "wobbly mess" by others, and either live or via the microphone. Still some voices sound a size or two overly small when heard live. Yet others such as Sutherland had a much larger voice than what was depicted on recordings. When in her prime talk a about a laser-like quality and a lower register that did not sound as dry and colorless even when heard from the far reaches of the Family Circle standing room at the MET! I can only imagine Callas sounded like! Something tells me it must have been quite the unique experience when heard in an actual space!
 

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she sounds out of place here: a lyric voice with a spinto-y technique singing bel canto. I'll bring up weight only because I think it impacts the voice and makes it sound unhealthy. with that said, it's a nice voice overall with some great high notes, and despite the previous point, I really hope she doesn't go the Callas/Voigt route of drastic weight loss procedures.
 

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she sounds out of place here: a lyric voice with a spinto-y technique singing bel canto. I'll bring up weight only because I think it impacts the voice and makes it sound unhealthy. with that said, it's a nice voice overall with some great high notes, and despite the previous point, I really hope she doesn't go the Callas/Voigt route of drastic weight loss procedures.
What the Sam Hill is a lyric voice with a spinto-y technique? Now you're even turning fachs into adjectives!
 

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I can get with the fach system, but that's over my head too lol. The technique shouldn't really change voice type to voice type for whatever that's worth.
voice teachers argue over this a lot. some insist that technique is the same for each type, while others insist that there are subtle but significant technical differences between fach. I'm in the latter camp personally. at the very least, any baroque specialist will tell you their technique is significantly different from your average singer on the classical career track.

in the context of the original comment, "spinto-y technique" is a reference to a more pushy/thrusting kind of style. bel canto singing requires finesse and the ability to switch from agility and delicate phrasing vs greater declamation and power (listen to Joan Sutherland sing verismo or Sondra Radvanovsky singing bel canto and you'll get a clear idea of what happens when one sings in the style of the other).
 

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voice teachers argue over this a lot. some insist that technique is the same for each type, while others insist that there are subtle but significant technical differences between fach. I'm in the latter camp personally. at the very least, any baroque specialist will tell you their technique is significantly different from your average singer on the classical career track.

in the context of the original comment, "spinto-y technique" is a reference to a more pushy/thrusting kind of style. bel canto singing requires finesse and the ability to switch from agility and delicate phrasing vs greater declamation and power (listen to Joan Sutherland sing verismo or Sondra Radvanovsky singing bel canto and you'll get a clear idea of what happens when one sings in the style of the other).
What you're calling technique I would call articulation. Singers must use different articulations for music of different styles, but good technique is good technique, regardless of repertoire. Technique concerns the consistent production of tone and the controlled manipulation of the voice. You either do it well or you don't.

Singers differ in what sort of music they can articulate best; sometimes that's a result of some technical shortcoming, sometimes its a matter of inherent qualities of the voice (timbre, say, or volume, or vibratory rate, or equality of registers). Some singers can articulate any sort of music effectively. That doesn't mean they've mastered different techniques, but that they have an adaptable voice and a sufficiently complete technique. Callas in her prime came close to being such a singer; Lilli Lehmann reportedly was as well. Sutherland couldn't sing verismo because verismo requires a timbre with edge, a strong low voice, clear diction, and temperament. This isn't a matter of her having the wrong technique for verismo, but of having the wrong sort of vocal timbre, a weak chest voice, and stylistic limitations. These factors may indicate a technical limitation, but it would be wrong to identify a limited technique as being intrinsic to a style of music or to a "fach."

Singers with certain limitations commonly get shunted into the repertoire they can handle best, based on what their vocal limitations are. Birgit Nilsson couldn't sing Bellini, not because she had a "Wagnerian technique," but because her voice was inflexible. Inflexibility is not a "different technique"! But Lilli Lehmann and Frida Leider, equally renowned for singing Wagner, apparently sang Norma successfully. Lehmann even sang the Queen of the Night, and it seems a strange notion that she changed her technique again and again for the immense variety of roles she sang. I've never read her book on singing, but it would be interesting to see what she had to say about this.

I'm thinking of the story Jess Thomas told of having been congratulated by Frida Leider for singing Parsifal "in the Italian manner" (something Wagner himself appreciated in singing his works). It wasn't his technique she was praising, but his articulation: he wasn't the stereotypical barking "heldentenor," just as she wasn't the stereotypical ponderous "Wagnerian soprano."
 
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