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Toscanini's treatment of singers (Pinza, Morgana,etc)

832 Views 27 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Steatopygous
This is an excerpt from the James A. Drake's interview with the coloratura soprano Nina Morgana, who was discovered by Caruso himself.

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Jan Peerce recalls a conversation with Toscanini when the subject of coloratura sopranos came up: “Coloratura sopranos! If I had a daughter who wanted to be a coloratura soprano, I would cut her throat!”

Peerce continues, “In the Fidelio of 1944 he worked us very hard. Mind you, he didn’t speak German well, but he knew every word and corrected our German and made us enunciate it clearly. His tempi were fast; but he could explain every one of them. Some of the singers had done Fidelio at the Met, and everybody had ideas and feelings in the matter; and they could talk to him. “Maestro, is there any reason special for this? Don’t you think we could do it a little slower?” And he would tell you why you couldn’t—what would happen if you did. He said, “How should this man act? If you sing it slowly, you will lose the intensity!” But he listened to you; he wasn’t the ogre he was painted. The only time he was a tough guy was when he got angry; and when would he get angry? When he thought you were betraying the composer, weren’t doing what the composer wanted. If you made a mistake once, he’d give you a look; but if you made it again, or made more mistakes, then there was hell to pay. In Fidelio one day he lost his temper with a singer who made a mistake he had made the day before, and it was terrible: the man stood there crying because of the things Toscanini called him.”
Is there a book to purchase?
The books to get are Bernard Haggin's Arturo Toscanini: Contemporary Recollections of the Maestro and Cesare Civetta's The Real Toscanini.
My thanks. I will look into it. :giggle:
How's stomping on watches, one after the other, for mental instability? How's constantly breaking his batons?
How is constantly bringing someone down with insults? Are these not signs of a man in trouble with himself?
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All the readers who return books late shall face the wrath of Toscanini the libarian 😡
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Librarians, perhaps? Really any other line of work where "star talent" isn't called for. It is a good point, though the arts can encourage people with big personalities and commensurately large egos, which might not be so prevalent in other lines of work.
Perhaps helping others in a mental institution might trigger some sense into him.
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