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Who do you prefer in this, Callas or Sutherland

  • Maria Callas

    Votes: 18 78.3%
  • Joan Sutherland

    Votes: 5 21.7%
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Stymied once again. These things get tougher and tougher but through the storm comes a wee little hint that throws my choice in one direction. The chest tones are missing from #2 and are extremely appealing to me as they induce a lost feeling of despair.
Callas by a thread.
 

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Woodduck got there first and has most eloquently expressed my opinion.

The most I can say for Sutherland's version is she has wonderful top notes, but I'm afraid that is not enough for me. Her diction is a bit clearer than it often was, but she makes virtually nothing of the words and I don't like the upward ending, which robs the end of its tragic grandeur. The aria's emotional and tragic core is missing and what I hear is mere note spinning.

Callas's top register is raw and she flaps at the climax, but oh what she finds in this piece, with so many phrases standing out in relief. Hamlet should have listened to Callas singing Mais qui donc a voulu l'éternité des pleurs (But who has wished this eternity of tears?). It would have saved him an awful lot of trouble.

Here are the English words to the aria.

From this dreadful combat I emerge brokenhearted!
But at last I am free and I shall at least be able
to sigh without constraint and to suffer without
witnesses.
Weep, weep my eyes! Fall, sad dew
that a ray of sunshine should never dry!
If one hope remains to me, it is to die soon!
Weep, my eyes, all your tears!
Weep, my eyes!
But who has wished this eternity of tears?
O dear ones in your graves, do you find such
delight
in bequeathing to the living implacable griefs?
Alas! I remember he said to me:
"With your sweet smile
you can only ever lead on
to glorious roads or blessed paths!"
Ah, my father! Alas!
Weep, weep my eyes! etc.


With Callas you don't have to understand French to get the general idea.

I might add that Chimène is one of those Falcon roles, which requires a solid middle and lower register and therefore not a natural for Sutherland. Like Woodduck, I wish Callas had given us more of these roles towards the end of her career. Charlotte, to be sure, but what a magnificent Cassandre or Didon she would have made.

To borrow from MAS, in the conflict between art and voice, it's always art that wins for me.
Exquisitely expressed.
 

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Never again will I post Sutherland in any contests. Sorry folks. I have some she'd be great in such as Turandot but I hate seeing my love raked over the coals so and it is inevitable in this crowd. I must have abysmal taste. Oh, well.
Dearest John:
Do you know how many people think that Magda Olivero's voice is just plain awful and that she has this annoying tremolo and gulping glottal attacks galore? But to me she has an exciting dramatic quality to her voice that rises above her mediocre sound and brings forth enchantment in her performances for me. So what the hell do I care what others say about her? I adore her and she excites me like so many bread and butter singers who have "a voice like the angels" simply do not.

Maria Callas wouldn't be around today with her mediocre wobbly highs if it were not for the fact that something else "magic" was taking place within her unique sound that was immediately ear-catching. Top that with a natural musicality and a profundity of emotion with drama.

Joan Sutherland can claim to the skies the best damned high notes on this planet that produce hair-raising results to all who know even the least bit about a voice. So what if she's got that mushy middle, thanks to her spouse (it was not in evidence early on) -- just listen to her Art of the Prima Donna which is totally exquisite in every regard. There was only one La Stupenda, and for a good reason.
So please try not to be so very sensitive about "your favorite" because others see or hear something else in "their favorite" that is more appealing than in yours.
They all made it to the top one way or another and lucky are we for all three.
 

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Not only her voice ever so slightly, uncannily 'artificial', but also her appearance; it uncannily reminds me of the "Uncanny Valley":
This post is downright cruel.
Actually, I don't recall ever reading such a nasty post on this forum. You should be ashamed of yourself. This post should be deleted if you have any class at all.
 
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