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And I am telling you I am not belting

Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe

“Since the 1918 premiere of Puccini’s Il Trittico, only two divas at the Met dared to sing the leading roles in all three of its one-act operas: Renata Scotto, a supreme vocal stylist, and Teresa Stratas, a magnetic singing actress. On Friday, Patricia Racette, who is not quite either of these things, took the plunge.” [NY Post]

72 comments

  • Harry says:

    Oh Vicar, you are now really letting down your principles. The Commonwealth singer Joan Hammond’s 78rpm version of that Puccini ditty ‘Oh my beloved Daddy’ sold zquillons of copies over the decades. As a kid I laughed when women mentioned it as one of their favorites/ at the same time -- misinterpreting its intended meaning in the opera . They thought it represented something truly ‘devotional’. I cannot stand the bloody thing!!!!!!!!!!

    • mrmyster says:

      Dear Harry, dear dear Harry: Try hearing it in
      Italian!!!
      And if Sayao (above) does not sell you — well,
      something is wrong!

  • CruzSF says:

    for maven: what I hear as extramusical effects in Callas/de Sabata Tosca:

    Act II : Track 8: 1:44 before Tosca repeats “Ah, non posso più”. Audible and inelegant breath suggesting desperation.

    Act II : Track 13 “Vissi d’arte” : 2:51 to end, sobbing breaths

    Act III : Track 21 “E lucevan le stelle” at 2:25 where Cavaradossi sings “…mai tanto la vita,” his voice nearly breaks with emotion

    Act III : Track 24 “Senti, l’ora è vicina” at 0:18 where Tosca laughs while singing “prima sarai fucilato”

    There were certainly fewer instances than I remembered, but surely you won’t beat me up over a faulty memory.

  • Clita del Toro says:

    Acting/Singing

    Acting with the voice is, imo, is much, much more important than doing a lot of carrying on and running around the stage. Vocal acting is accomplished through the phrasing, vocal color variations, use of dynamics and the articulation the text in a meaningful way. Grunts, groans, breathiness, etc. are also part of the process, but should be used sparingly for the best effect--and depending on the style of the music.
    Callas could just stand in one spot and project tons of the drama and emotion—through the voice alone.

    Moving around the stage, rolling around on the floor and other silly distractions as Dessay, Trebs and others now do (and it call acting) are not successful, imo, unless the emotion comes across mainly through the singing.
    For example, Voigt tried that stuff in the LOC Salome, and it was just kinda amusing at best.