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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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116 Posts
I am glad that you mention the clear vowels in the middle voice. In my post, I wrote about the alterations of the vowels and forgot to indicate that such alterations happen mostly at both ends of a singer's tessitura. We can hear alterations of the vowels when Tebaldi sings in her booming low voice just as we can hear it when she sings high notes. If the falsetto action doesn't increase while singing in the lower register, then the voice becomes raw and unpleasant. Pure chest is far from being a beautiul and healthy sound. Tebaldi was acclaimed for her great diction, and the following performance, which has been posted by Woodduck before, is a great testament to it:

The vowels in the middle voice are pure and clear, and the voice is blooming. The way she sings

Mi piaccion quelle cose
Che han sì dolce malìa
Che parlano d'amor, di primavere
Di sogni e di chimere

gives me shivers. The clarity and purity of the vowels in a middle voice that still blooms means that while the qualities of the chest voice dominate in this tessitura, or are at least more present than in the high register, the falsetto action is still there, but does not have enough impact as to alter the vowels. It has just enough impact to give depth and beauty to the voice. Then again, it seems as if the voice sits on a beautiful velvet cushion. A wonderful performance indeed.
I like the phrase you mentioned too. It feels ecstatic. Who says Tebaldi couldn't act with her voice?

Well, just the first "Si" is enough to tell the listeners that this is going to be a voice with presence.

Yet, she didn't sound quite like this in the studio recording (Serafin) despite it being made 2 years later (1958). I am not sure because it has something to do with the balance of the studio recording, or she was asked to "tone down".
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