I love Nicolai Ghiaurov but agree with you about Ramey, at least when it comes to Rossini.one singer who comes to mind immediately for me is Samuel Ramey who, the more I think about it, is a freak of nature as far as male voices are concerned, possessing a bizarre combination of
- the deep, resonant timbre and lower extension of a basso profundo
- high notes which puts most spinto tenors to shame
- agility which puts most coloraturas to shame
- the elegance of a bel canto soprano
it's hard enough finding basses who possess even one of these characteristics, but in combination (especially when combined with a charismatic stage presence).....wow. I have yet to find a bass who comes even close. there are basses I can objectively recognize as great singers (Ciepi, Hines, Ghiaurov, etc), but not of them really thrill me the way Ramey does. frankly, with a handful of exceptions, he's almost ruined the entire fach for me.
For me it's more a case of certain singers "ruining" certain arias. For instance, I cannot imagine anyone singing "The Soldier Tired" by Thomas Arne better than, or even as good as, Joan Sutherland.