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Florez above Corelli? I can't understand this. But that probably is my problem )))
Most of the people voting have given their reasons above. Nobody disputes the splendour of Corelli's voice. What I and others have objected to, is the way he mangles poor Bellini. I don't much like Florez's somewhat whiney sound, but at least he knows how the music should be sung.
 

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Most of the people voting have given their reasons above. Nobody disputes the splendour of Corelli's voice. What I and others have objected to, is the way he mangles poor Bellini. I don't much like Florez's somewhat whiney sound, but at least he knows how the music should be sung.
Those two are not even in the same universe. Florez may be a good crossover singer but he has no voice for opera.
 

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Those two are not even in the same universe. Florez may be a good crossover singer but he has no voice for opera.
Unfortunately a voice for Opera no longer means a big, free, natural voice. For many people, small, restricted voices and woofy, poorly projected, ingolata voices are what Opera is. I have no problem with it in modern opera because you can write for a different sound, amplify singers, etc. But when singing Verdi, Wagner, Bellini I just find the sound so totally unsuited that it destroys the music, and of course pieces are conducted with such light temperament when voices can't sustain a large sound. Just listen to how Panizza and Bodanzky conducted their Met performances in the 30s. If only we could have that level of energy and excitement again but unfortunately singers would just be completely consumed by the orchestra now. I would prefer it if theatres focused on modern works which could cater to these voices properly and save the romantic operas for the odd occasion they could be performed successfully but despite our lack of reverence for proper singing technique people only want to hear the operas of previous generations. Thus we are stuck with Opera as a decaying artform, far more so than concert music, which is slowly having all life sucked from it by poorly trained singers, placcid conductors and directors who've never studied a single piece of music and only understand theatre in cinematic terms.
 
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Unfortunately a voice for Opera no longer means a big, free, natural voice. For many people, small, restricted voices and woofy, poorly projected, ingolata voices are what Opera is. I have no problem with it in modern opera because you can write for a different sound, amplify singers, etc. But when singing Verdi, Wagner, Bellini I just find the sound so totally unsuited that it destroys the music, and of course pieces are conducted with such light temperament when voices can't sustain a large sound. Just listen to how Panizza and Bodanzky conducted their Met performances in the 30s. If only we could have that level of energy and excitement again but unfortunately singers would just be completely consumed by the orchestra now. I would prefer it if theatres focused on modern works which could cater to these voices properly and save the romantic operas for the odd occasion they could be performed successfully but despite our lack of reverence for proper singing technique people only want to hear the operas of previous generations. Thus we are stuck with Opera as a decaying artform, far more so than concert music, which is slowly having all life sucked from it by poorly trained singers, placcid conductors and directors who've never studied a single piece of music and only understand theatre in cinematic terms.
But a big voice might not be quite what Bellini had in mind of this aria and I think it's pretty safe to assume that what Corelli does here is quite a long way from what Bellini would have expected. We can't know what the first Arturo, Rubini, sounded like, but clearly he had a different kind of voice from Donzelli, who was the first Pollione. Even Donzelli's top C was sung in head voice, and it was actually Gilbert Duprez who first sang a top C from the chest, Rossini famously comparing it to the squawk of a capon.
 
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But a big voice might not be quite what Bellini had in mind of this aria and I think it's pretty safe to assume that what Corelli does here is quite a long way from what Bellini would have expected. We can't know what the first Arturo, Rubini, sounded like, but clearly he had a different kind of voice from Donzelli, who was the first Pollione. Even Donzelli's top C was sung in head voice, and it was actually Gilbert Duprez who first sang a top C from the chest, Rossini famously comparing it to the squawk of a capon.
I'm pretty sure that Bellini would expect bel canto singing for any aria. And nothing is more contradicting to bel canto than "small, restricted voices and woofy, poorly projected, ingolata voices".
 

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But a big voice might not be quite what Bellini had in mind of this aria and I think it's pretty safe to assume that what Corelli does here is quite a long way from what Bellini would have expected. We can't know what the first Arturo, Rubini, sounded like, but clearly he had a different kind of voice from Donzelli, who was the first Pollione. Even Donzelli's top C was sung in head voice, and it was actually Gilbert Duprez who first sang a top C from the chest, Rossini famously comparing it to the squawk of a capon.
When I say 'big' voices I don't necessarily mean one the size of Corelli's but a resonant and 'open' voice the likes of which the singers he wrote for undoubtedly possessed. Constricted or ingolata singing is, I agree, the antithesis of bel canto and does not come close to producing the sound that Bellini would have been used to. I agree, Corelli is not very satisfactory in this music but Flrorez sounds bland and anaemic and this music really needs more than that to be effective.
 

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I'm pretty sure that Bellini would expect bel canto singing for any aria. And nothing is more contradicting to bel canto than "small, restricted voices and woofy, poorly projected, ingolata voices".
Yes, bel canto not verismo, which is what we get from Corelli here.
 

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Considering that we have no recorded evidence of what singers sounded like in Bellini's day, and in fact have no entirely faithful recordings of any singer prior to the introduction of electrical recording in the interwar 20th century, I take all statements and judgments about the sounds of voices we can't hear advisedly. I'd also point out that much of the language we use to describe voices is metaphorical. I was thinking just this morning of what I said yesterday about the late recordings of Ferdinand Frantz; I referred to his sound as "heavy and opaque," and even as I wrote that I was asking myself how a sound can be either of those things. Literally, of course, it can't.

No doubt Florez makes a sound that's more "shallow" and "constricted" than Corelli's. I'm not sure what he should do to "correct" that, but it seems not to have led to any sort of breakdown in his ability to perform opera, and I find assertions to the effect that he doesn't have a voice for opera more expressions of taste than anything else. Corelli's "open and resonant" sound may be admirably loud and sensually exciting to some people (though it's never done much for me), but it didn't ensure that he wouldn't make hash out of quite a bit of music. For some musicians like me, what a singer does with a phrase can matter more than whether his voice is impressive physically.

The sort of sound considered desirable for any kind of music, and the vocal manipulations required to produce it, differ greatly among the many styles of music. What sort of sound we favor is determined as much by taste and tradition as by its adequacy in sustaining and projecting music in a given style. If an opera singer has the range, flexibility, and dynamic control to make good music in some operatic repertoire, more power to him.

As my mother used to say, "Name your poison."
 

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Considering that we have no recorded evidence of what singers sounded like in Bellini's day, and in fact have no entirely faithful recordings of any singer prior to the introduction of electrical recording in the interwar 20th century, I take all statements and judgments about the sounds of voices we can't hear advisedly. I'd also point out that much of the language we use to describe voices is metaphorical. I was thinking just this morning of what I said yesterday about the late recordings of Ferdinand Frantz; I referred to his sound as "heavy and opaque," and even as I wrote that I was asking myself how a sound can be either of those things. Literally, of course, it can't.

No doubt Florez makes a sound that's more "shallow" and "constricted" than Corelli's. I'm not sure what he should do to "correct" that, but it seems not to have led to any sort of breakdown in his ability to perform opera, and I find assertions to the effect that he doesn't have a voice for opera more expressions of taste than anything else. Corelli's "open and resonant" sound may be admirably loud and sensually exciting to some people (though it's never done much for me), but it didn't ensure that he wouldn't make hash out of quite a bit of music. For some musicians like me, what a singer does with a phrase can matter more than whether his voice is impressive physically.

The sort of sound considered desirable for any kind of music, and the vocal manipulations required to produce it, differ greatly among the many styles of music. What sort of sound we favor is determined as much by taste and tradition as by its adequacy in sustaining and projecting music in a given style. If an opera singer has the range, flexibility, and dynamic control to make good music in some operatic repertoire, more power to him.

As my mother used to say, "Name your poison."
We may not have any physical records but we do have many writings on vocal technique which seem to suggest that, from even earlier than the romantic era, voices were taught to be produced through a method of proper resonance and openness. An operatic sound should always sound natural as opposed to excessively cultivated and 'placed'. We see many aspects of this singing in the folk music of other countries world wide and I have no reason to believe that restriction and 'placement' were a feature of pre-twentieth century opera. I agree, that musicality is of utmost importance, but I am someone who would assert that, without a solid technique, without tones that will carry with a natural body of resonance, you can not be musical. You can have faults, at least for me I can overlook them, Callas's occasionally stridency, Tebaldi's flat Cs etc. but those singers at least have opened voices. And it doesn't have to be a large voice, I adore Bidu Sayao in lighter repertoire, but her small instrument would sound ten times more immediate in a concert hall than Florez because there is no restriction, no held back air. For me Florez's style of singing is like someone playing a cello concerto on a recorder, and while Corelli's is not a performance I would turn to to hear the music in its best light, at least his instrument is correctly built.
 
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Considering that we have no recorded evidence of what singers sounded like in Bellini's day, and in fact have no entirely faithful recordings of any singer prior to the introduction of electrical recording in the interwar 20th century, I take all statements and judgments about the sounds of voices we can't hear advisedly.
There is enough evidence to extrapolate. No reason to think that nowadays singers are closer to the real bel canto than golden era singers.
 

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There is enough evidence to extrapolate. No reason to think that nowadays singers are closer to the real bel canto than golden era singers.
To extrapolate what? Can we extrapolate what Bellini and his audiences would have thought of what Franco Corelli does with this music? Is there evidence to indicate how much they would have liked the intense, even strenuous, sound he makes, so wanting in light and shade, or whether they would have thought that his ways of attacking notes and putting them together, his scooping and sliding, were musical or stylish? Can we extrapolate answers from accounts of the tenors of the day?
 

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To extrapolate what? Can we extrapolate what Bellini and his audiences would have thought of what Franco Corelli does with this music? Is there evidence to indicate how much they would have liked the intense, even strenuous, sound he makes, so wanting in light and shade, or whether they would have thought that his ways of attacking notes and putting them together, his scooping and sliding, were musical or stylish? Can we extrapolate answers from accounts of the tenors of the day?
I assume Corelli would have been seen as crude and vulgar and Florez as completely incompetent. I suspect neither would have held a candle to the singers he was used to.
 

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Is that necessarily a bad thing? Look at this example of of a cello concerto transcribed as a flute/recorder concerto:
Well it was supposed to be a bad thing so maybe it was a bad analogy. Maybe more like using a toy cello instead of a real one.
 
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