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Perder quell’angelo?

Our own JJ (not pictured) received a belated birthday present in the form of an excerpt from last night’s concert in Vienna in which Anna Netrebko spreads her wings for a performance of “D’amor sull’ali rosee,” assisted by the luxe Manrico of Jonas Kaufmann.

Netrebko sings Trovatore

and there was more Verdi on the program as well:

Trio from I Lombardi

121 comments

  • Clita del Toro says:

    luvtennis, as Joan would say, “You are too kind.”

  • luvtennis says:

    Batty:

    Sorry but your friend sounds like he has an axe to gring. THere are plenty of live recordings from this time period that suggest that Lee was in glorious form during these years, yet your friend declares her career over and done based on one performance? And Bumbry was not great.

    No. Sorry, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. But I have zero tolerances for grinding axes.

    • Batty Masetto says:

      I don’t really think so, Luvtennis. He certainly admired Price. He was a singer himself and heard her in such consistently bad shape that night that he thought it indicated a decline, that’s all.

    • oedipe says:

      No. Sorry, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. But I have zero tolerances for grinding axes.

      Good to hear! I was SURE grinding axes is what defines many Parterre comments about most CONTEMPORARY singers! (Do I need to name names?)

    • Cocky Kurwenal says:

      The letter was written over 40 years ago by somebody you’ve never met, about something at which you were not present. I don’t know how you can tell he has an axe to grind. It doesn’t come across that way to me- just an account of Lee having an off night. Batty tells us his friend basically admired Price, so I don’t see why we should doubt that. She came up with a lot of nasty noises on some of the recordings she made during the 70s, surely it isn’t that much of a stretch to imagine they could occasionally be in evidence on below par nights in 1969.

      • luvtennis says:

        Sorry, but you might have thought she made ” a lot of nasty noises during the 70s”, but I don’t. Indeed she made remarkably few nasty noises throughout her 40 year career in my opinion.

  • luvtennis says:

    I don’t want to hijack the thread, Cocky. If you re-read my post, I simply noted that her friend was lamenting the decline of a singer who had at least to that point demonstrated a pretty remarkable consistency over one of the greatest ten years a singer has ever had. And on the basis of the performance he declares her over.

    I am sorry, but that sounds like an axe to grind to me. In the event, I wasn’t there. DOn’t know the fellow, and have already moved on.

    • Clita del Toro says:

      I don’t have an axe to grind, but Price and Tebaldi (before 1959) had such glorious, gorgeous voices early on that I didn’t see much of them in their second decades at the Met. I did move away from NYC in 1971, so that’s part of the problem.

  • Sanford says:

    I’d also like to mention that the only complaint I had about Trebs’ Leonora was the conducting. I found D’Amor too slow, but not only slow but leaden as well. There didn’t seem to be (imho) anything particularly Italianate about the conducting…there wasn’t any slancio, which I blame the conductor for, not Anna. I think she has it in her to be a wonderful Leonora, but if she does the complete role, I hope she has better luck with conductors.

  • luvtennis says:

    I think the term “slancio” is a broader term than “schwung.” While both refer to rythmically propulsive music-making, slancio has the added connotation of “passionate or emotionally uninhibited.”

    At least, that what I think.

    Tune-in tomorrow for more adventures with “Ask Doctor Stupid.” Starring me, of course.

    • kashania says:

      Also, isn’t slancio sometimes used to describe when a voice has “thrust” — something in the quality of the delivery?

      • Cocky Kurwenal says:

        Cheers Kashania, this is what I was thinking too- that it was a vocal quality present when a certain type of approach or delivery is employed. I guess one would need a conductor on side who is conducting with some sort of impetuts to muster it up though.

        News to me that it is a term applicable to music making in general, rather than to purely vocal performance. Good to know.

    • Camille says:

      You are not “Doctor Stupid”!!!!!!

      Just a while ago I finished listening(VIA
      SIRIUS) to a 1977 Forza del Destino with your gal Lee, PLUS Domingo, Big Mac, Talvela, et al. Levine conducting.

      Wish you could have been there, luvtennis!!!!!!

      It was very moving and very beautiful, with a minimum of what I call, “Swoop ‘n Droop”. Forza Leonora is just a shade too big for her voice, but it don’ matter at all. She was beautiful. The audience loved her.

      I always listen to LEE much more carefully these days because of you, Dottore Avvocato!

      Distinti Saluti!
      Camille

  • luvtennis says:

    C/F:

    I have been trying all summer to listen to as much Cerquetti as I can get my hands on.

    The Norma, Ernani, Tell, Gioconda, the aria recital on Decca. AND I STILL CANNOT FULLY APPRECIATE WHAT YOU, AND OTHERS LIKE YOU WHOSE OPINIONS I HOLD IN HIGHEST REGARD, FIND SO COMPELLING.

    Yes, she was capable of tremendous moments with a voice a great size and flexibility. But she seems so inconsistent! The Casta Diva in the Norma pirate is a case in point. SOme of it is sublime, as is the cabaletta, but some moments it sounds as if the voice is going off the rails.

    Now, there have always been inconsistent singers. But given her tremendous gifts as a singer, it amazes me that Cerquetti could be that consistently inconsistent, if you catch my drift.

    Am I being too critical?

    • No, you’re not. She could be, indeed, highly inconsistent, often within the same aria. The live Normas are a case in point. And the DECCA recital and Gioconda are problematic, as they somehow fail to catch the full spelndour of the voice, which I can certainly ‘get’ on her best live recs.

      I thought the Tell presented her at her superb best, also the Don Carlo (IMO the best imaginable Elisabetta) and of course the awesome Vespri. The Ernani (presumably the Mitropoulous?) has her past her best, ditto the live Gioconda. The Forza is mostly excellent, although she does seem to be straining fot the top, esp during the Padre duet.

      The Vespri couplets :

      The live Bolero

      Compare and contrast with the so-so studio effort, roughly 2 years later

      and the Elisbetta :

      Technical issues notwithstanding, her small recorded legacy, esp around 1953-1958, shows a consummate musician and a surpsssingly lovely instrument.

      BTW
      did you get my belated replay re the Guillaume Tell? I posted something completely OT -- Varady singing So elend und so Treu’. I just fell in love with this opera(etta). It is a brilliant score, and Boskowski’s 1980s recording is magnificent. So here it is again. Tell me what you think (yes I’ve heard Bumbry and prefer Varady, second only to Cebotari in this extremely difficult solo).

      • kashania says:

        That live Bolero is truly a great example of legato singing. I never tire of hearing it.

      • luvtennis says:

        Anita Cerquetti reminds me a little of Grob-Prandl. Two inhumanly gifted singers who retained a certain provincial quality to their singing even after achieving international success.

        Grob-Prandl’s reputation has only grown recently (thanks almost entirely to me! ;-) ) largely due to the continued dearth of truly heroic sopranos, and of course, she had the longer career. Cerquetti, by contrast, had some real contenders as competitors. Maria, Sutherland, PRice, Montsy, who were not only great singers in her roles, but most importantly were supreme RECORDING artists. Not creations of the studio like some of those who came after….

        As I think it about it, I think the impact of those ladies has not been wholly positive. Because they were the first singers who recorded all of their roles (sometimes on more than once) in high quality stereo over a pretty long period of time, the shadow that they continue cast is probably too long. Lee and Joan made their first big studio recordings in 59 or 60. They were still making major studio recordings 20 years later. I am not sure that was healthy.

    • Re Cerquetti and re-thinking my approach, I think I mainly like her because she represents for me a spark of the pre-WWII tradition, maintaining the aesthetics of a bygone age, which I embrace and delight in, esp in comparison with the ‘veristic’ 1950s style (no real legato, generalized phrasing etc). It’s really a question of preferences. As I don’t mind occasional lack of ease on top (or downright strain, if it’s not too prevalent) and can do without the more extrovert ‘exciting’ kind of singing favoured after WWII onwards.

    • Camille says:

      No, you are not, in my opinion as well.

      I used to LOVE her. About a year ago I put on a recording and I stood in slack-jawed amazement as I thought to meself: “WTF was I thinking all this time???” There is an awful lot of twitter in the sound and I don’t mean the kind you TWEET.

      When I have the time I will be re-examining Cerquetti. I’m going back to the Agnese di Hohenstaufen aria for starters, and then “Mare, o vasto mare”, which I used to just adore, IF I can ever find that recording again after my tumultuous move. Ahime, dove son?

      • Clita del Toro says:

        I saw Cerquetti once at Carnegie Hall in a joint recital with a tenor (can’t remember who). It was a very sad affair. She was past it and looked enormous next to the smaller tenor. And as I remember, she was dressed like a little girl.
        I was really disappointed as I had bought her LP recital and loved it.

        • Clita del Toro says:

          I looked it up. The tenor was Flaviano Labo. But I am not sure of the year of the concert.

          • Camille says:

            That is very interesting to me, as I had a very knowledgeable singer friend who also saw Cerquetti in a Carnegie Hall reital program.

            I wonder if it was the same one? She did tell me, and this was twenty years ago so I cannot recall all the details, that her singing was poor and “vitiated”, or dryed up. She blamed a part of Cerquetti’s problems on the coaching or advice she’d had from Serafin.

            I do not know where the truth liesI truly wonder if she gave up singing
            Not because of health problems, or her father, but because she could not bear all the tension any more.

            Wasn’t Labo about as tall as Piccola Renata?

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Camille, I am not sure about the date of Cerquetti/Labo recital—and I am not sure whether Cerquetti gave another concert at Carnegie before the one with Labo. One date I saw while trying to find the info was 1958.
            I am very confused.

            And yes, Labo was small, but had a nice, big spinto voice.

          • Camille says:

            Clita, the 1958 date sounds about right to me. I was told it took place toward the “end” of her career, so don’t worry yourself anymore.

            Anyway, you are not so confused that you would mistake a Pollock for a Rothko!

            Cheers and thank you to you, too.

  • manou says:

    You can hear the whole Berliner Waldbühne concert here :

    http://tv.orf.at/program/orf2/20110816/

    on August 16th at 22.10pm (you do the math)

  • FragendeFrau82 says:

    I have just learned that the ROH cinema broadcasts of Tosca and Adriana Lecouvreur are NOT being shown at my local cinema, not even in my state (NC), or any neighboring states.

    According to the Opera in Cinema group, Carmike cinemas only show live broadcasts, not previously recorded ones.

    Any suggestions? I’m crushed right now. *insert operatic sob*

    • FragendeFrau82 says:

      I am so sorry, I meant to put this over in Intermission Feature--please delete from here and I will move it. (tears were blurring my vision no doubt)