Cher Public

Separated at Ted… Mel… God?

This diva really is that diva!

  • Harry

    Many singers have remarked that in the studio, there is no scenery, no audience and therefore they relax with added animation of ‘body speak’ -getting into ‘the mood of things’. The advent of stereo micro-phoning allowed that freedom to come into play, rather than virtually having their feet nailed to the floor. Did not Caballe say that- being rather unfamiliar at the start of her career with recording processes: on listening to her RCA Lucretia Borgia -- she felt it was ‘a little dead’ on characterization for a listener at home. How she learned to add expression : just for a recording.
    Nilsson of course we knew had to ‘step back’ on her fortissimo notes as she tended to ‘overload’ the microphones. In the finale of her RCA 1961 Turandot with Bjorling under Leinsdorf -- there is plain evidence of the microphones and /or tapes being stressed. Perhaps,, that probably helped RCA quickly change from 15 inch per second tape machines to that of 30 Inch per second..

  • iltenoredigrazia

    It probably has to do with the temperament of the singer. Nilsson was Scandinavian and very business-like during recordings. As La Cieca said she had been asked to pull back from the microphones for the high notes. In other parts of the recording she would move from one square on the floor to another according to a choreography designed for the stereo recording.

    I for one act up a storm when I sing along with recordings.

  • Harry

    What’s even funnier is to set the Bartoli and Steber fragments performing….together and sliding the picture frame on your screen back and forwards between the two ,while the confused ‘dim’ rages..

  • Anonymous Soprano

    Lindoro, the last time I checked, singing requires air and availability of bone structure to resonate along with proper non-tension of the lips, tongue, etc. Arm flailing, forearm muscles, shoulder joints have absolutely nothing to do with singing. Those arches of phrases are not produced by someone’s arm making a wide gesture across the air; it’s produced by the brain/mind and thereby the voice. If the singer can’t sing without the gesticulating, then something is wrong with their technique.

    I simply cannot keep quit on this. You, sir, are an idiot.

    At the very least, you have a very poor understanding of basic physiology. You do realize that the ENTIRE body is involved in singing, right? You do know that the muscles that stabilize the larynx are attached to other parts of the body? Including the shoulders? You do realize that the process of breathing, that most important part of singing, utilizes everything from the muscles you use to control your pee, to your back muscles?

    Just because someone in the past didn’t do something doesn’t mean that’s the best way and only way to do it! For christ’s sake, back in the 50’s, much of the scientific community thought that the vibration of the cords were caused by a sort of neural tic!

    And trying to do your singing via the brain only is the best way to get your body to lock up, and completely and truly ruin your voice. Moving around in a studio session is necessary if you don’t want to end up croaking by the end!

  • Anonymous Soprano

    And one further thing, phrasing, if you want to call it that, is created physically. Yes, the mind may state the intent, but the act itself is completely a physical response — changes in the vocal tract, changes in the flow of air, etc. None of which, of course, can happen if your body is tense and stiff!

  • Alto

    “They have private rehearsals with piano before the sessions (day before or day of), which don’t cost a thing (i.e., the Kassarova clip above).”

    Amazing. Do you actually think that orchestral musicians’ time or that of studio crews is expensive and that of international conductors and soloists is free and unencumbered?

  • Alto

    I know I’m type-cast around here as a Steber queen. And with good reason. But that clip above of her, which I had never seen before, really sets me off. She never stopped talking, if you gave her half a chance, about her idea of bel canto technique. That Verdi makes me wish she were starting her career about now with the repertorial opportunities that would now be on offer for someone with her endowments.

  • armerjacquino

    Alto- EVERYONE round here is a Steber queen. And quite right too.

  • Lindoro Almaviva

    Add me to the list of Steber queens. Alto, we might not see eye to eye in things, but when it comes to Steber we worship at the same altar.

  • Lindoro Almaviva

    Anonymous Soprano:

    Thank you, seems like the couch coaches are here to teach us how to sing.

  • MontyNostry

    Steber is not a singer I’ve grown up with, but the clips I’ve seen of her are, indeed, impressive. Can anyone explain why you would never get a soprano today who produces that kind of sound? It’s definitely a period instrument — quite straight with a very firm core, maybe just a little bit matronly. Does anyone else find it vaguely reminiscent of Flagstad?

  • kashania

    Add me to the Steber Queens Club.

  • richard

    MontyNostry, I’m a huge Steber fan myself. I don’t think I would use the term “matronly” but I think I know what you mean. She’s NEVER girlish.

    Many years ago I heard her in an radio interview, she was quite forthright. She talked of her Met debut in 1940. Management was leaning towards having her debut as Oscar in Ballo . She resisted and made her debut as Sophie in Rosenkavalier. She commented that it was a narrow escape from disaster, if she had actually sung Oscar she would have ended up on the “garbage pile” (her words)

    She must have been stunning as Sophie at least vocally and she might have pulled off a bit of “girlishness” to boot.

    I think she was least sucessful in the Verdi/Pucccini rep . Her Tosca from the Met is truly matronly, and she’s a bit too tough.
    Elisabetta in Don Carlos was better but still
    less than ideal.

    But she was a stupendous Konstanze in the Met premiere of Abduction , radiant Arabella in the MEt’s first Arabella, and wondeful also in the MEt’s first Wozzeck. She was best in Mozart and Richard Strauss.

    I heard her sing a few times in the early 70s but her voice was a bit dried out and brittle.
    But a lot of the authority was still there.

    She was a game diva , that’s for sure. She sang at NY’s Continentals BAths, surrounded by queens wrapped in towels. Bette Midler wasn’t the only one to do that.

  • Lindoro Almaviva

    well, for the Steber queens:

    Deh vieni, the best rendition of the aria AFAIAC

    Dove sono. Listen to the effective use of appogiaturas; this at a time when the generalized view of Mozart was that you did not do that.

    Mi tradi: Again, fantastic use of appogiaturas. The conductor by the way is Bruno Walter in the Giovanni and Figaro selections.