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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry about the boo boo posting. When you are juggling hundreds of contests I am bound to make some mistakes. Senza Mama and La Mama Morta both have mama in them. You can figure out the rest.
Someone requested Saoia Hernandez so I put her with Angela. PS. After 20 times looking up the spelling I can finally spell Gheorghiu LOL.
Saioa Hernandez, Maddalena Claudio Sgura, Carlo Gerard Cond. Aldo Sisillo Dir. Nicola Berloffa Teatro Comunale Pavarotti di Modena 2019
Andrea Chénier, Act III: La mamma morta · Angela Gheorghiu/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Marco Armiliato/Louisa Tuck
 

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Whilst I preferred the beginning of this Hernandez version to the one you first posted, I'm afraid I didn't like her voice at all. Too vibrant and too much vibrato, and in fact I didn't manage to get through to the end. I thought the voice hard and unpleasant and that she oversang. Admittedly a lot of latter day sopranos tend to oversing this piece, but at least most of those had beautiful voices. I didn't hear anything of beauty here.

Gheorghiu doesn't really have the voice for this aria, but at least she has a basic beauty of tone. Nor does she oversing or ham it up too much. She wouldn't be my ultimate choice but she easily wins this round.
 

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Hernandez doesn't sound at her best here, her legato isn't the best, her vibrato natural but too prominent for my taste and a lack of light and shade. I do like Hernandez though, although recently less and less as she sounds increasingly overspent, and I am grateful to hear a modern soprano with squillo and a chest voice that's well formed.

Gheorghiu is maybe more pleasant to listen to but she doesn't have the voice for this music and I found myself thinking Hernandez would be far more exciting to hear in theatre. Gheorghiu makes this music sound a little plasticky to me, whereas Hernandez open but unrefined sound is a little more to my liking. Neither are great favourites here.
 

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Hernandez doesn't sound at her best here, her legato isn't the best, her vibrato natural but too prominent for my taste and a lack of light and shade. I do like Hernandez though, although recently less and less as she sounds increasingly overspent, and I am grateful to hear a modern soprano with squillo and a chest voice that's well formed.

Gheorghiu is maybe more pleasant to listen to but she doesn't have the voice for this music and I found myself thinking Hernandez would be far more exciting to hear in theatre. Gheorghiu makes this music sound a little plasticky to me, whereas Hernandez open but unrefined sound is a little more to my liking. Neither are great favourites here.
I actually agree with what you say about Gheorghiu in this aria, but she got my vote because I found her actual voice more listenable. I thought the sounds Hernandez was making quite ugly (and this from someone who is more tolerant than most of Callas's late career voice).
 

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I actually agree with what you say about Gheorghiu in this aria, but she got my vote because I found her actual voice more listenable. I thought the sounds Hernandez was making quite ugly (and this from someone who is more tolerant than most of Callas's late career voice).
Hernandez has a good voice but she sounds like she needs to relax a little more when she sings. Her voice can make a beautiful sound on one note and then she can garble her way to the next one. It's also a voice that I'm sure would sound better but theatre and this is not her best. I find her much more effective here, except from at the high 'piano' A and the following turn.

 

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I am not one of those who require a big powerful voice to please me. I like Hernandez and believe she is one fine singer with plenty of power and will go places.
However, it's what's inside that counts much more for me, and Gheorghiu has that appealing and slightly vulnerable tremor in her throat, coupled with an aria that envelops one with feeling.
And I really don't give a rat's behind what some say about her trying to copy Callas. Who cares? Whatever she is doing, it works! I'd know her sound anywhere -- and it isn't Callas.
 

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Hernandez has a good voice but she sounds like she needs to relax a little more when she sings. Her voice can make a beautiful sound on one note and then she can garble her way to the next one. It's also a voice that I'm sure would sound better but theatre and this is not her best. I find her much more effective here, except from at the high 'piano' A and the following turn.

I agree she sounds much better here, but I still don't much like the sound at the top. Even in 1959 Callas had less vibrato and better control of dynamics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I actually agree with what you say about Gheorghiu in this aria, but she got my vote because I found her actual voice more listenable. I thought the sounds Hernandez was making quite ugly (and this from someone who is more tolerant than most of Callas's late career voice).
I don't know what Hernandez sounds like elsewhere but let's just say putting her in was a favor to someone else. I am not at all familiar with her.
 

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Hernandez has the right weight of voice for this music, but somehow manages to screw up by not controlling the vibrato or the emission of her voice - she does the same in a concert performance so I imagine it’s not on purpose. The voice is uneven and inelegant and I can’t vote for her.

Gheorghiu’s voice is well controlled and sounds better than Hernandez’s but she is over-parted; I don’t like her “interpretation,” and she sounds stressed towards the end.

I have several recordings of Andrea Chenier but only because Callas and Corelli sang the wretched opera.

No vote.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hernandez has the right weight of voice for this music, but somehow manages to screw up by not controlling the vibrato or the emission of her voice - she does the same in a concert performance so I imagine it’s not on purpose. The voice is uneven and inelegant and I can’t vote for her.

Gheorghiu’s voice is well controlled and sounds better than Hernandez’s but she is over-parted; I don’t like her “interpretation,” and she sounds stressed towards the end.

I have several recordings of Andrea Chenier but only because Callas and Corelli sang the wretched opera.

No vote.
Gheorghiu normally performs much better than this but frankly it is hard to find contemporary singers who have good recordings of this. You will like my next candidates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hernandez has the right weight of voice for this music, but somehow manages to screw up by not controlling the vibrato or the emission of her voice - she does the same in a concert performance so I imagine it’s not on purpose. The voice is uneven and inelegant and I can’t vote for her.

Gheorghiu’s voice is well controlled and sounds better than Hernandez’s but she is over-parted; I don’t like her “interpretation,” and she sounds stressed towards the end.

I have several recordings of Andrea Chenier but only because Callas and Corelli sang the wretched opera.

No vote.
I am going to cut down on trying to include contemporary singers so often except for Gheorghiu who usually does really well in the right material. Recent singers mostly don't do well with us in these contests. I think as some of you said, this was not material well suited to Gheorghiu who most of you enjoy.
 

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This is difficult to judge independently, because I know that super critical @Op.123 considers Saioa Hernandez the lesser evil among contemporary singers. So I naturally think of why she might be better. The beginning of the aria and the chest voice shows a real great contrast, which I would have noticed also without this bias. In those dark parts of the aria, Hernandez is really impressive, maybe captivated me even more than the singers of good ole times. However, as the aria progresses, I notice something unpleasant in the higher notes, which I do not have the name for. There I prefer Gheorghiu, the voice is thinner but does not do that thing. Was Hernandez in her prime here ? I will vote for her due to that spectacular beginning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It would be a vibrato in Slovak as well. I just don't know the operatic jargon. Or the vocal mechanics how the unpleasant thingy is created. I hoped to learn this stuff through the contests, so everything works as planned :D
I have had to learn jargon as well. Some took a while. Watch that What is Bel Canto video with Sutherland and Horne that I sent you. You learn lots of terms. there and also here.
 

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This is difficult to judge independently, because I know that super critical @Op.123 considers Saioa Hernandez the lesser evil among contemporary singers. So I naturally think of why she might be better. The beginning of the aria and the chest voice shows a real great contrast, which I would have noticed also without this bias. In those dark parts of the aria, Hernandez is really impressive, maybe captivated me even more than the singers of good ole times. However, as the aria progresses, I notice something unpleasant in the higher notes, which I do not have the name for. There I prefer Gheorghiu, the voice is thinner but does not do that thing. Was Hernandez in her prime here ? I will vote for her due to that spectacular beginning.
I would say this video represents her at her best and in her prime. The voice is strong and firm, the vibrato more controlled, and the turn more freely executed at 'volavan l'ore' than in the video I posted above. Unfortunately since then the voice has declined, become less easy and consequently less expressive. Here I think she is a very fine spinto in comparison to the rest of those singing this rep nowadays.

 

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I would say this video represents her at her best and in her prime. The voice is strong and firm, the vibrato more controlled, and the turn more freely executed at 'volavan l'ore' than in the video I posted above. Unfortunately since then the voice has declined, become less easy and consequently less expressive. Here I think she is a very fine spinto in comparison to the rest of those singing this rep nowadays.

Indeed, this is a very beautiful and smooth Gioconda. Says a non expert. But somehow that chest voice grabbed me more in her Maddalena, even though the second half of the aria is ruined. I am glad I have heard it.
 
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