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Warren left me quite unaffected. We don't get to hear his recitative, which might have elicited from him some spirit and incisiveness. In the aria he sounds placid, even bored, his tone a uniform dull umber throughout. The interpolated high note doesn't help, but merely feels vulgar. I'm afraid this is the sort of Warren that makes some people dislike Warren.

If there's one thing Gobbi never is, it's dull. His performance is as nuanced as Fischer-Dieskau's, but more virile and vocally resonant. The actual sound of the voice will divide opinion; the snarling tone that so vividly conveys the character of sociopaths, hunchbacks, pagliacci and weary bargemen has less applicability here. I don't find him in prime vocal estate either, and so have to appreciate the musicianship and dramatic sense without experiencing much sensual pleasure in the singing. Nonetheless he's much more worth my time than Warren.
 

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As usual, I agree with Woodduck, except that I do find more to enjoy in the sound of Gobbi's voice than he does. Warren could be singing any old Verdi baritone aria really. There is nothing specific to the music or the character and he really had no effect on me at all. Maybe the recitative would have helped, but then he'd still have been up against Gobbi, who, like Callas, was a master of recitative. Gobbi wins easily for me.
 

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Warren left me quite unaffected. We don't get to hear his recitative, which might have elicited from him some spirit and incisiveness. In the aria he sounds placid, even bored, his tone a uniform dull umber throughout. The interpolated high note doesn't help, but merely feels vulgar. I'm afraid this is the sort of Warren that makes some people dislike Warren.

If there's one thing Gobbi never is, it's dull. His performance is as nuanced as Fischer-Dieskau's, but more virile and vocally resonant. The actual sound of the voice will divide opinion; the snarling tone that so vividly conveys the character of sociopaths, hunchbacks, pagliacci and weary bargemen has less applicability here. I don't find him in prime vocal estate either, and so have to appreciate the musicianship and dramatic sense without experiencing much sensual pleasure in the singing. Nonetheless he's much more worth my time than Warren.
What he said.
 

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According to this forum, poor Mr. Warren was an unqualified theater employee, who came in the profession by mistake. Well, when there is Tito Gobbi, heard immediately, almost every other performance could seem pale. I must say in defence of Warren, that I find his timbre attractive. But his rendition, I don't know whose fault is it, sounds too much waltz-like, almost as annoying as an endless waltz from Gounod's Faust. Verdi's waltzes are usually less intrusive. The aria becomes like a weather report.
 

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According to this forum, poor Mr. Warren was an unqualified theater employee, who came in the profession by mistake. Well, when there is Tito Gobbi, heard immediately, almost every other performance could seem pale. I must say in defence of Warren, that I find his timbre attractive. But his rendition, I don't know whose fault is it, sounds too much waltz-like, almost as annoying as an endless waltz from Gounod's Faust. Verdi's waltzes are usually less intrusive. The aria becomes like a weather report.
Warren has done better work than this, and not as a stagehand.
 

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For some reason, I always forget that Tito Gobbi is Italian, because the general bearing of his performances feels so...."British". His work always feels more straightforward than the over-the-top theatrics preferred by the majority of Italian singers (past and present). Instead, his style comes off classy-yet-earnest, more like he's speaking to you via music. There is less of the Corelli or Del Monaco-esque outbursts of passion and more "this is how a normal person experiences emotion in an extreme situation".

He wins this one for me in spite of Warren having a more glorious voice.
 

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For some reason, I always forget that Tito Gobbi is Italian, because the general bearing of his performances feels so...."British". His work always feels more straightforward than the over-the-top theatrics preferred by the majority of Italian singers (past and present). Instead, his style comes off classy-yet-earnest, more like he's speaking to you via music. There is less of the Corelli or Del Monaco-esque outbursts of passion and more "this is how a normal person experiences emotion in an extreme situation".
I don't know about that "British" part (though I note the quotes and am willing to assume they mean something like "non-Italian"), but Gobbi is certainly no one's idea of a typical Italian baritone. His unusual timbre and dramatic imagination make me think him the musical equivalent of a great character actor in films: not handsome enough to play the typical low-IQ romantic lead, but capable of stealing the show for audiences who can engage their minds as much as their gonads. I realize that for some operaphiles that may be asking rather a lot.
 

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The only full recording of Gobbi singing Macbeth I can find is this one from 1960/Covent Garden. It is also the only one listed in the discography found on the opera discography site.


Tito Gobbi Macbeth full opera (1960 live)
Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi performed in Italian
Conductor Francesco Molinari-Pradelli - 1960(LI)
Orchestra - Covent Garden
Chorus - Covent Garden
Macbeth - Tito Gobbi
Lady Macbeth - Amy Shuard
Banco - Forbes Robinson
Macduff - André Turp
Malcolm - John Dobson
Dama - Noreen Berry
Medico - Rhoderick (Rhydderch) Davies


Note: Macbeth's aria "Pieta rispetto amore" is omitted in this performance.

That last bit is surprising. Was the clip above taken from a studio release of arias?

In any event I've always enjoyed Warren in this role, but completely hear what others say about the Gobbi performance. My vote goes to Warren, well, just because I am loyal, I guess, and don't throw someone over based on one aria. :)
 

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I don't know about that "British" part (though I note the quotes and am willing to assume they mean something like "non-Italian"), but Gobbi is certainly no one's idea of a typical Italian baritone. His unusual timbre and dramatic imagination make me think him the musical equivalent of a great character actor in films: not handsome enough to play the typical low-IQ romantic lead, but capable of stealing the show for audiences who can engage their minds as much as their gonads. I realize that for some operaphiles that may be asking rather a lot.
Like me. I ain't got no gonads.:giggle:
 

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The only full recording of Gobbi singing Macbeth I can find is this one from 1960/Covent Garden. It is also the only one listed in the discography found on the opera discography site.

Note: Macbeth's aria "Pieta rispetto amore" is omitted in this performance.

That last bit is surprising. Was the clip above taken from a studio release of arias?

"While it would seem that Macbeth was a role ideally suited to Tito Gobbi’s vocal and dramatic talents, he recognised that its tessitura, sustained legato and declamatory content required a very high level of vocal stamina and was wary of taking it on – which is surprising for a singer who could successfully sing roles such as Simon Boccanegra and Iago - and delayed performing it until he felt at least half way comfortable in the undertaking. Sadly, Macbeth’s concluding lament, “Pieta rispetto amore”, is missing here; apparently, Gobbi omitted it because he was ill but did not want to withdraw from the performance and indeed he does sound tired by the end. He recorded that aria in a separate recital and would have recorded the role in its entirety for Decca but had to withdraw, again because of illness, and was substituted by Fischer-Dieskau, just as an unavailable Callas was replaced by an out-of-sorts Elena Souliotis – oh the woe of missed opportunities."


macbeth-amy-shuard-tito-gobbi



Verdi: Macbeth - Gobbi, Shuard, Robinson, Turp; Molinari-Pradelli. London, 1960

On sale for 8.30 USD - 20% off all orders over 10.00 -


Recording on the "Opera Depot" label -


 

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I am posting a comment I made in the Opera Listening thread from my watching the Met's 2008 production of Macbeth.

Lučić actually sang the ACT IV: "Pietà, rispetto, amore" very nicely, and in general gave a very good performance. As did Guleghina. Which made me strongly support my vote for Warren over Gobbi, who shied away from the role, and especially this aria. Pieta comes late in the opera, and to compare Warren's live performance, several hours into the work, with a studio one-off is intrinsically unfair, IMO.
 

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I am posting a comment I made in the Opera Listening thread from my watching the Met's 2008 production of Macbeth.

Lučić actually sang the ACT IV: "Pietà, rispetto, amore" very nicely, and in general gave a very good performance. As did Guleghina. Which made me strongly support my vote for Warren over Gobbi, who shied away from the role, and especially this aria. Pieta comes late in the opera, and to compare Warren's live performance, several hours into the work, with a studio one-off is intrinsically unfair, IMO.
It would only be unfair if Warren showed some sign of being tired. But this is not a live recording, and his voice sounds unimpaired.

In most cases, studio versus live comparisons work more the other way. Most performers are stimulated by the live situation to take more expressive chances and give more exciting, interesting performances. Apparently a live recording of this very production at the Met in 1959 was released, and this web site describes the performance as superior:

 

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That live performance is the one I know and have in my collection, and assumed was the one in the clip (I didn't even listen to it). Macbeth was a role Warren made something of a specialty. Anyway, I still feel this thread is out of focus, and a little bit rigged, to have Gobbi who was afraid of the role against Warren who hit it out of the park ... :rolleyes:
 

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That live performance is the one I know and have in my collection, and assumed was the one in the clip (I didn't even listen to it). Macbeth was a role Warren made something of a specialty. Anyway, I still feel this thread is out of focus, and a little bit rigged, to have Gobbi who was afraid of the role against Warren who hit it out of the park ... :rolleyes:
There are lots of incommensurables - apples versus oranges - in these contests. It's often unfair, but still enlightening and fun. I've just finished listening to the finalists, Gobbi and Battistini, and for reasons I've explained I've chosen not to choose. That's always a legitimate option.
 

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That live performance is the one I know and have in my collection, and assumed was the one in the clip (I didn't even listen to it). Macbeth was a role Warren made something of a specialty. Anyway, I still feel this thread is out of focus, and a little bit rigged, to have Gobbi who was afraid of the role against Warren who hit it out of the park ... :rolleyes:
Even so I make no apologies for preferring Gobbi. All I got from Warren was a fine voice singing a nice Verdi aria. It could have been from any of Verdi's early operas, which makes it debatable whether he "hit it out of the park" no matter how many times he sang it on stage. Of course we all have our preferences and I will always forego a beautiful voice for one with more imagination and interpretive insight.
 

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Even so I make no apologies for preferring Gobbi. All I got from Warren was a fine voice singing a nice Verdi aria. It could have been from any of Verdi's early operas, which makes it debatable whether he "hit it out of the park" no matter how many times he sang it on stage. Of course we all have our preferences and I will always forego a beautiful voice for one with more imagination and interpretive insight.
What I was referring to was the live performance (which I think should have been the clip under consideration), not the studio recording.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That live performance is the one I know and have in my collection, and assumed was the one in the clip (I didn't even listen to it). Macbeth was a role Warren made something of a specialty. Anyway, I still feel this thread is out of focus, and a little bit rigged, to have Gobbi who was afraid of the role against Warren who hit it out of the park ... :rolleyes:
Many singers I think are fabulous fall on deaf ears here but still I am grateful for the camaraderie of this group. Because this group is made up very largely of Callas groupies what they value in Callas they consistently look for in all other singers I have noticed. I love the sound of Warren's voice but others here find it unnaturally darkened. I darken my photos so I will look better.
 
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