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It's odd that in this post you assure us that you "respect everyone's opinion," when in the previous post you state, without giving any reason (except for citing some unnamed critic in Edinburgh), that my comment on Bartoli's Norma recording "lacks weight." Would it surprise you that I find that somewhat insulting? Perhaps I'm one of those "people here" to whom you attribute a "false sense of entitlement," and you feel that this entitles you to be less than polite to me.

I have been here for over two years and I do not notice any contributors to the opera forum exhibiting a sense of "entitlement." Though we have disagreements I think we are generally quite civil in expressing them. Seeing that you're new here, I wonder why you already feel the need to remind current members that their opinions are theirs alone. In my experience, we rarely need to go on the defensive unless others perceive us going on the offensive first.

Welcome to the forum. Let's look forward to discussions vigorous and fruitful - and respectful.
I apologize if I offended you. No you are not one of the posters to whom I made that reference. Actually I enjoy your posts. I find them very informative and helpful in terms of explaining technical things that I don't understand.
I do respect everyone's opinions. I've said this several times before that I am here to learn as much as I can about opera as it has become my favorite genre in the past year. I am not here to defend or worship any particular artists; only to interact and learn from other opera and classical music fans.

I look forward to moving forward as well. :)

 

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I apologize if I offended you. No you are not one of the posters to whom I made that reference. Actually I enjoy your posts. I find them very informative and helpful in terms of explaining technical things that I don't understand.
I do respect everyone's opinions. I've said this several times before that I am here to learn as much as I can about opera as it has become my favorite genre in the past year. I am not here to defend or worship any particular artists; only to interact and learn from other opera and classical music fans.

I look forward to moving forward as well. :)
Perhaps you can use a the standard writhing from the board, read much easier? ;)
 

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And this is why you have less and less dramatic voices and more for a lack of a better term "screwed" up voices, that only sound good with microphones. Cecilia Bartoli is the only light lyric coloratura Mezzo-Soprano i know that hasn't wandered off and sung inappropriate repertory because she knows her small sized voice limits here ability to do anything dramatic.

There's a wonder why Dolora Zajick made a foundation specifically created to cultivate and to further help big-sized voices or Dramatic voices to have a career. They are being pushed aside for "lyrics" or small-sized instruments and the reasons are:
1. They're cheaper.
2. They can delude people that the sound that they make are their "own" aka with a microphone, eliminating the "work to be heard from the floor seats to the cheap seats" out of the equation.
3. They're more primed to sing then the dramatic voice and thus as a result of neglecting a big, dramatic artist/voice, they are killing the true purpose of what Opera is all about: The art and not the actually "look" of the singers.

All in all,I can't name you one person from each voice type that is going to save us because half of the ones we already know are pushing to retirement (due to age) or they lost their former vocal glory and have moved on to "easier" work (Terfel, Fleming, Otter singing and performing on broadway more).

Hvorostovsky sings with a microphone so he's not a good example for legato singing. He basically huffs and puffs his way through the intricate Verdian line and it distorts his breath and overall vocal production.


1. Do you have proof that Hvorotstovsky sings with a microphone?

2. Even if he did sing with a microphone, what connection does that have to good legato singing? I can think of a number of pop singers, past and present, who have fine legato and, naturally, sing with microphones.
 

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Bonynge was Sutherland's coach before and after they married. We must give him credit for turning the voice into the incredible instrument it became. The downside was that he later became Sutherland's conductor, and hence she didn't tend to work with the great conductors of her day. But she was obviously happy working within this mainly Bel Canto repertoire. One exception was the Mehta Turandot where she gives an astounding performance which shows how big the voice was.
I must be about the only opera lover who likes Richard Bonynge as a bel canto conductor (I wouldn't want to hear him conduct Puccini); I honestly don't understand all the "hate" for him, and I sometimes feel as though people (not so much DavidA, but others here and elsewhere) speak condescendingly of him just because they feel it's "the thing to do," or something. I feel one could criticize some of Bonynge's tempos for being too fast so that the music lacks "gravity," but other than that I fail to hear why he's not a great conductor of bel canto operas. Or is the idea that one can only be a "great conductor" by venturing outside bel canto opera?

And I think Bonynge did more than turn Sutherland's voice into an incredible instrument (what he did, really, was help her find and strengthen the soprano registers she didn't know she had); he also must have given her a great education in the age of bel canto and its style.
 

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I must be about the only opera lover who likes Richard Bonynge as a bel canto conductor (I wouldn't want to hear him conduct Puccini); I honestly don't understand all the "hate" for him, and I sometimes feel as though people (not so much DavidA, but others here and elsewhere) speak condescendingly of him just because they feel it's "the thing to do," or something. I feel one could criticize some of Bonynge's tempos for being too fast so that the music lacks "gravity," but other than that I fail to hear why he's not a great conductor of bel canto operas. Or is the idea that one can only be a "great conductor" by venturing outside bel canto opera?

And I think Bonynge did more than turn Sutherland's voice into an incredible instrument (what he did, really, was help her find and strengthen the soprano registers she didn't know she had); he also must have given her a great education in the age of bel canto and its style.
I have no problem with Bonynge. He's made many fine recordings of 19th-century opera and ballet music (Adam, Delibes, Offenbach, etc.). That sort of "light classical" repertoire isn't taken seriously by some. Otherwise, I have the impression he's criticized mainly by people who blame him for what they dislike about Sutherland (the mushy diction and swoony phrasing). How much is deserved, I don't know.
 

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I must be about the only opera lover who likes Richard Bonynge as a bel canto conductor (I wouldn't want to hear him conduct Puccini); I honestly don't understand all the "hate" for him, and I sometimes feel as though people (not so much DavidA, but others here and elsewhere) speak condescendingly of him just because they feel it's "the thing to do," or something. I feel one could criticize some of Bonynge's tempos for being too fast so that the music lacks "gravity," but other than that I fail to hear why he's not a great conductor of bel canto operas. Or is the idea that one can only be a "great conductor" by venturing outside bel canto opera?

And I think Bonynge did more than turn Sutherland's voice into an incredible instrument (what he did, really, was help her find and strengthen the soprano registers she didn't know she had); he also must have given her a great education in the age of bel canto and its style.
Hallelujah, finally some reconnection, not to mention his contribution to the whole Bel Canto repertoire in general.
 

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It's odd that in this post you assure us that you "respect everyone's opinion," when in the previous post you state, without giving any reason (except for citing some unnamed critic in Edinburgh), that my comment on Bartoli's Norma recording "lacks weight." Would it surprise you that I find that somewhat insulting? Perhaps I'm one of those "people here" to whom you attribute a "false sense of entitlement," and you feel that this entitles you to be less than polite to me.

I have been here for over two years and I do not notice any contributors to the opera forum exhibiting a sense of "entitlement." Though we have disagreements I think we are generally quite civil in expressing them. Seeing that you're new here, I wonder why you already feel the need to remind current members that their opinions are theirs alone. In my experience, we rarely need to go on the defensive unless others perceive us going on the offensive first.

Welcome to the forum. Let's look forward to discussions vigorous and fruitful - and respectful.
my experience is similar, which is NOT something I can safely say about the opera groups I've joined on facebook (which have some of the craziest, most histrionic and defensive people I've ever spoken with. talking to some of them felt like trying to give a lecture on nuclear physics to a teenage couple having an argument)
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
[/B]

1. Do you have proof that Hvorotstovsky sings with a microphone?

2. Even if he did sing with a microphone, what connection does that have to good legato singing? I can think of a number of pop singers, past and present, who have fine legato and, naturally, sing with microphones.
1. Yes i have on many occasions actually. His performance in Un Ballo around 2015, at the Met. He was doing his best to hide it but it made it even more obvious and the easily noticeable things he was doing:
a. Overcompensating for his lack of dramatic intensity in his singing by pushing the voice to do things he wouldn't do if he truly was a dramatic voice.

2. I mean it's Opera! You don't need a microphone to sing and the single fact that you're questioning about good legato singing, shows that Opera in 2016 is no longer the field it was just 100 or even 50 years ago. Good legato singing is the ultimate rule for Bel Canto singing. if you lack even that connectivity to singing, I question whether or not you should be singing bel canto or even music in general.
 

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Good legato singing is the ultimate rule for Bel Canto singing. if you lack even that connectivity to singing, I question whether or not you should be singing bel canto or even music in general.
If we fired every present-day singer who lacks a good legato we'd have some pretty empty stages, and we'd have to do karaoke with the naked orchestral recordings.
 

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1. Yes i have on many occasions actually. His performance in Un Ballo around 2015, at the Met. He was doing his best to hide it but it made it even more obvious and the easily noticeable things he was doing:
a. Overcompensating for his lack of dramatic intensity in his singing by pushing the voice to do things he wouldn't do if he truly was a dramatic voice.

2. I mean it's Opera! You don't need a microphone to sing and the single fact that you're questioning about good legato singing, shows that Opera in 2016 is no longer the field it was just 100 or even 50 years ago. Good legato singing is the ultimate rule for Bel Canto singing. if you lack even that connectivity to singing, I question whether or not you should be singing bel canto or even music in general.
You saw Hvorostovsky's microphone, then, with your own eyes? You have actual proof that he was miked -- proof, and not just "someone told me" or your own speculation? The reason I'm so adamant about this is because if it's speculation or hearsay only, then a singer's reputation can be damaged by rumors. And I'll add that Hvorostovsky is hardly the only singer in history to have miking rumors going around about him. In the 1980's, for example, it was rumored that Kathleen Battle was miked whenever she sang at the Met. And did you know that in the 1960's, rumors circulated that Montserrat Caballe's famous pianissimi were the result, not of her own technique, but of recording-studio technicians? Not to mention the rumors in the 1950's that Mario Lanza's voice was entirely a creation of the recording studios (Licia Albanese, who sang with him, confirmed that this was absolutely false)! All I say is, I think we should all be very careful of what claims we make on internet forums -- because if they are in fact untrue, then genuine damage can be done to a singer's reputation and, ultimately, to his/her legacy.

I don't appreciate the accusatory tone in your second point. Moreover, you didn't really address my question. Your initial post seemed to make some connection between not using a microphone and the ability to sing a legato line. I pointed out that there are and have been a number of pop singers (Sinatra is only the most obvious example) noted for their legato who, of course, used microphones. I'm not objecting to the idea that opera singers should not use microphones; I'm asking what being amplified or not being amplified has to do with legato singing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
That would speak volumes that our teachers are NOT during their jobs then. Any singer who can't sing note to note with the purest form of legato, in my estimation, shouldn't be singing Opera let alone shouldn't be singing music in general. I've seen it happen too many times in universities and even in high schools. Teachers are no longer relying on the techniques of old (that has proven to work many times) to continue that tradition of Bel Canto (which as we know is more than just beautiful singing).
 

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Discussion Starter · #94 ·
I'm going to start in reverse here:

"Accusatory tone.."? First things first throughout my time here, I've never done anything that should be questioned really and I've always talked to you users with the utmost respect so that allegation of having a non-pleasant tone, is rather confusing to me. Your "question" really isn't a question but just be plain old common sense. You state pop singers can sing legato with a microphone but how can you tell when they have special microphones? And now with the advent of apps that can strip background music and all the extra theatrics from a singer's performance now, we can now analyze entire performances just purely hearing the singers voice and the results have all been negative. Amplifcation adds a HUGE deal to the overall sound of Opera. I ttakes away the NATURAL ability to communicate with the audience, with your God-Given talent and getting a chance to test out your voice against orchestras and the audience. Microphones hinder that simple process. There's a reason why Titta Ruffo was called the Golden lion or Maria Callas was called the biggest voiced-Sopranos of our time: they used their own voices and their own abilities to carry them through a theater, not some cheap tricks. And again one can easily look into the past and see how some, need not use any microphone in order to express conventional Bel Canto singing nor legato singing. It's ludicrous really to try to compare to different fields when one field EMPHASIZES on the need for legato singing and the other has several different styles that a singer can "indulge' in.

Now to your comment on my Hvorostovsky comment. I have NEVER made any accusations or assumptions based off of someone else's hearsay or their opinion. I form my own opinion by obviously going to see something LIVE and in person or hearing a recording of them and seeing what I can analyze myself. It was a nice trip that involved a summer opera camp giving out free tickets to see the Met's performance of "Un ballo in Maschera", 2015. We did get some nice seats (I had a chance to see Mr. Levine conduct in person and was astounded by his relationship to Verdi) and ultimately we got a chance to talk backstage (I had a chance to get Dmitri to sign my Met book!) Everyone knows I have a love-hate relationship with Dmitri's voice: On the onset, it's a very lyrical-cantabile baritone voice that combines (usually,) good legato singing with purity of tone, however, it's a voice that is so far pushed out of its limits that it's usually uncomfortable to sit and listen to him for more than 15 minutes. He's a pure lyric baritone who (like his American counterpart,) Thomas Hampson, who's attempts of the more Verdian/Dramatic baritone roles are facetious at best. He struggled throughout the entire performance that night and many of us in the camp were thinking that he was purely attempting vocal suicide with the way he was carrying on. It was a vocal lesson I'll never forget and hopefully NEVER have to go through myself.


Does that now answer your question?
 

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I'm going to start in reverse here:

"Accusatory tone.."? First things first throughout my time here, I've never done anything that should be questioned really and I've always talked to you users with the utmost respect so that allegation of having a non-pleasant tone, is rather confusing to me. Your "question" really isn't a question but just be plain old common sense. You state pop singers can sing legato with a microphone but how can you tell when they have special microphones? And now with the advent of apps that can strip background music and all the extra theatrics from a singer's performance now, we can now analyze entire performances just purely hearing the singers voice and the results have all been negative. Amplifcation adds a HUGE deal to the overall sound of Opera. I ttakes away the NATURAL ability to communicate with the audience, with your God-Given talent and getting a chance to test out your voice against orchestras and the audience. Microphones hinder that simple process. There's a reason why Titta Ruffo was called the Golden lion or Maria Callas was called the biggest voiced-Sopranos of our time: they used their own voices and their own abilities to carry them through a theater, not some cheap tricks. And again one can easily look into the past and see how some, need not use any microphone in order to express conventional Bel Canto singing nor legato singing. It's ludicrous really to try to compare to different fields when one field EMPHASIZES on the need for legato singing and the other has several different styles that a singer can "indulge' in.

Now to your comment on my Hvorostovsky comment. I have NEVER made any accusations or assumptions based off of someone else's hearsay or their opinion. I form my own opinion by obviously going to see something LIVE and in person or hearing a recording of them and seeing what I can analyze myself. It was a nice trip that involved a summer opera camp giving out free tickets to see the Met's performance of "Un ballo in Maschera", 2015. We did get some nice seats (I had a chance to see Mr. Levine conduct in person and was astounded by his relationship to Verdi) and ultimately we got a chance to talk backstage (I had a chance to get Dmitri to sign my Met book!) Everyone knows I have a love-hate relationship with Dmitri's voice: On the onset, it's a very lyrical-cantabile baritone voice that combines (usually,) good legato singing with purity of tone, however, it's a voice that is so far pushed out of its limits that it's usually uncomfortable to sit and listen to him for more than 15 minutes. He's a pure lyric baritone who (like his American counterpart,) Thomas Hampson, who's attempts of the more Verdian/Dramatic baritone roles are facetious at best. He struggled throughout the entire performance that night and many of us in the camp were thinking that he was purely attempting vocal suicide with the way he was carrying on. It was a vocal lesson I'll never forget and hopefully NEVER have to go through myself.

Does that now answer your question?
Well, it doesn't, really, because your latest post is very hard to follow. For example, what are "special microphones," and how would they give the impression that a pop singer has good "line" when he does not? It seems to me that (at least) two different issues are being confused here: projection/size of voice and legato singing. In your initial post you wrote, "Hvorostovsky sings with a microphone, so he's not a good example of legato singing." If he does sing with a microphone in the opera house, then that's a vocal size/projection issue, not a "legato" issue.

Again, I have no argument with the idea that opera singers should not be using microphones other than when recording or broadcasting, so there is no need to keep reiterating that point. On the other hand, you've still provided no proof that Hvorostovsky actually uses a microphone; as far as I can tell, it's your opinion that he does. While I don't doubt your credentials as an experienced vocal technician, I stand by what I said above: if you have no actual proof of what you say, then it is wrong to say it as though it's a fact -- because if, after all, it's not a fact, then all that has been accomplished is the damaging of a singer's reputation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 ·
Well, it doesn't, really, because your latest post is very hard to follow. For example, what are "special microphones," and how would they give the impression that a pop singer has good "line" when he does not? It seems to me that (at least) two different issues are being confused here: projection/size of voice and legato singing. In your initial post you wrote, "Hvorostovsky sings with a microphone, so he's not a good example of legato singing." If he does sing with a microphone in the opera house, then that's a vocal size/projection issue, not a "legato" issue.

Again, I have no argument with the idea that opera singers should not be using microphones other than when recording or broadcasting, so there is no need to keep reiterating that point. On the other hand, you've still provided no proof that Hvorostovsky actually uses a microphone; as far as I can tell, it's your opinion that he does. While I don't doubt your credentials as an experienced vocal technician, I stand by what I said above: if you have no actual proof of what you say, then it is wrong to say it as though it's a fact -- because if, after all, it's not a fact, then all that has been accomplished is the damaging of a singer's reputation.
I mean in response to the Microphone, Famous Operatic Mezzo-Soprano Marilyn Horne, even stated this:

"The microphones are coming. It's just a matter of time before the older generation that understands what a disaster microphones would be is safely out of the way. And when they come, that'll be the beginning of the end. Who will really learn to sing? There won't be any need to. The same thing will happen to opera that we have seen happen to Broadway. When I was young there were any number of well-produced, attractive voices in musicals. Today you have George Hearn, maybe one or two others, and that's it. There is no market for a good sound" (New York Times, March 24, 1991).

Take that with whatever as you may and the thing with the Hvorostovsky... If you can't take my word on something, that's your discretion. However, if you're going to tell me that the group of people, who we all saw the exact same thing, communicated on the very exact issue, then again that is your discretion. I know what I saw and in no way am I trying to "discredit" his reputation. I gave him some of the very best reviews I've got for a current lyrical baritone but honestly that doesn't exclude him from the current incursion regarding Microphones and Opera singers. Marilyn Horne spoke about in 1991, Callas spoke about it in 1972, Joseph Shore continues to talk about it today so when I say that I'm confident that the usage of microphones is killing the Opera industry, I can back that "assumption" up.

I gain nothing... absolutely NOTHING for saying that comment (like monetary gain wise that is or any "kick" for doing it) and I stick by it 135%
 

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I mean in response to the Microphone, Famous Operatic Mezzo-Soprano Marilyn Horne, even stated this:

"The microphones are coming. It's just a matter of time before the older generation that understands what a disaster microphones would be is safely out of the way. And when they come, that'll be the beginning of the end. Who will really learn to sing? There won't be any need to. The same thing will happen to opera that we have seen happen to Broadway. When I was young there were any number of well-produced, attractive voices in musicals. Today you have George Hearn, maybe one or two others, and that's it. There is no market for a good sound" (New York Times, March 24, 1991).

Take that with whatever as you may and the thing with the Hvorostovsky... If you can't take my word on something, that's your discretion. However, if you're going to tell me that the group of people, who we all saw the exact same thing, communicated on the very exact issue, then again that is your discretion. I know what I saw and in no way am I trying to "discredit" his reputation. I gave him some of the very best reviews I've got for a current lyrical baritone but honestly that doesn't exclude him from the current incursion regarding Microphones and Opera singers. Marilyn Horne spoke about in 1991, Callas spoke about it in 1972, Joseph Shore continues to talk about it today so when I say that I'm confident that the usage of microphones is killing the Opera industry, I can back that "assumption" up.

I gain nothing... absolutely NOTHING for saying that comment (like monetary gain wise that is or any "kick" for doing it) and I stick by it 135%
What I got from your description of the BALLO IN MASCHERA experience was that Hvorostovsky sounded to be in vocal distress. So from that it necessarily follows that he was using a microphone?:confused: (And anyway, wouldn't a microphone have made him sound at least "bigger" vocally?) Maybe he was ill or having a bad day. You said the performance took place in 2015, which was the year he received his brain tumor diagnosis; maybe his vocal condition had something to do with that. Simply because several respected opera singers, from 1972 to the present, have given warnings about microphones does not necessarily mean that microphones are now common in opera, or that Hvorostovsky sings in the house with one. Further, did it ever occur to you that Marilyn Horne's prediction might have been too pessimistic, that the conclusions you and your friends came to might have been wrong, or that this or that modern teacher might have some ulterior motive for any claims they make?

I've been to the Met only one time (last March, for L'ELISIR D'AMORE starring Vittorio Grigolo), but I'll say this: I don't believe for a minute that anyone during that performance was miked; the sound from the singers was way too natural and nothing at all like "miked" sound. While I can't speak about other singers at the Met, the idea that the house employs miking for anything other than broadcasting just doesn't seem credible to me.

As we've gotten a long way from sopranos, I'm going to leave this thread. I guess the only remaining question I'd have is why you were so thrilled to get Hvorostovsky's autograph if you believe he is -- basically, and despite the better qualities you mentioned -- a fake, for using a microphone.
 

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Well, it doesn't, really, because your latest post is very hard to follow. For example, what are "special microphones," and how would they give the impression that a pop singer has good "line" when he does not? It seems to me that (at least) two different issues are being confused here: projection/size of voice and legato singing. In your initial post you wrote, "Hvorostovsky sings with a microphone, so he's not a good example of legato singing." If he does sing with a microphone in the opera house, then that's a vocal size/projection issue, not a "legato" issue.

Again, I have no argument with the idea that opera singers should not be using microphones other than when recording or broadcasting, so there is no need to keep reiterating that point. On the other hand, you've still provided no proof that Hvorostovsky actually uses a microphone; as far as I can tell, it's your opinion that he does. While I don't doubt your credentials as an experienced vocal technician, I stand by what I said above: if you have no actual proof of what you say, then it is wrong to say it as though it's a fact -- because if, after all, it's not a fact, then all that has been accomplished is the damaging of a singer's reputation.
:Bellinilover: I know this question falls on the edges of the OP, but the anti-microphone opinion is totally new to me. I am a great fan of the Berlin Philharmonic's Digital Concert Hall. As I'm sure you know the BP is performing an increasing number of operas, oratorios and other vocal works and almost all of these are broadcast on the DCC. What is your opinion of these vocal performances given the almost endless number of microphones? Thank you. :)
 

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Horne was in the backwaters of Germany most of her soprano career. She made no recordings that I know of. Wozzeck put her on the map in the States.. Ponselle's Senza Mamma was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Actually I have a 2-CD set, Gala GL100.568, where she sings soprano quite convincingly, including a 1959 recording of the complete Bach Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, all four movements. She also sings Brünnhilde's Immolation quite well and does not sound at all like a mezzo, although it is undated ... And she sings Marie's monologue from Wozzeck, 1966.

Kind regards, :tiphat:

George
 
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