Headshot of La Cieca

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La regina d’Inghilterra ho veduto cantar

“At Carnegie Hall last Thursday, a capacity crowd witnessed what might be the final official act of a monarch who has reigned for more than four decades.” [New York Observer]

42 comments

  • Lady Abbado says:

    La Cieca on Devia “As singing, it was always beautiful but rarely thrilling”.

    This made me think of summarizing my impression of Radvanovsky in Toronto: “As singing, it was always thrilling, but rarely beautiful”.

    • kashania says:

      I hear it differently. Rad does not have a beautiful voice but she sings beautifully, IMO. And the thrill factor comes from the way she throws herself into some of the music and mostly from the sheer size of the voice.

  • decotodd says:

    Couldn’t the same have been said of Olivero, Mid 1970s Scotto or Albanese? Thrilling but not always beautiful? We need more thrilling performers like Radvanovsky than lovely but empty cookie cutters we too often get

    • scifisci says:

      I disagree. No matter how wiry and wobbly her voice was, Scotto’s sense of phrasing and line were always absolutely beautiful. That she had the ability and guts to dig into dramatic moments con forza made her singing thrilling in the way in which (I’m guessing) JJ found Devia’s lacking.

    • Krunoslav says:

      Also, the three Italians you name dug into the words in a way which still eludes Sondra, exciting as some of the vocalism is.

      • La Cieca says:

        More than just “digging into the words.” All three of these singers, but Scotto especially, based their expression on the graceful shaping of a legato line, something Radvanovsky hardly ever does even by accident.

  • Lady Abbado says:

    Some questions about pitchiness:

    1. What is to blame for it: situational factors (fatigue) or more enduring variables (bad genes or sloppy technique or aging)? If the former, than one could say that a performance was pitchy but not that a performer in general is pitchy.

    2. Partly derived from (1): what are the dynamics of pitchiness over one’s career? Do older singers tend to become pitchier? Or less pitchy? Is pitchiness a symptom or a facet of one’s declining vocal powers?

    3. During a pitchy performance, is the performer aware that she/he is being pitchy? Is it the case that you aim to be on tune but you slip out of tune in spite of your aim; or is it more that you find out from the reviews of your performances the next day that you’ve been pitchy?

  • Milady DeWinter says:

    “As singing, it was always thrilling, but rarely beautiful”.
    --Geraldiner Farrar said almost the same thing about Callas in an interview in the mid 50s.

  • Milady DeWinter says:

    Geraldiner?

  • Milady DeWinter says:

    Certainement-
    http://www.operanostalgia.be/html/FARRAR.html

    1956

    A year later on 1 November 1956, on the same theme: “Mrs. G. [her friend who drove her to New York] and I had planned to go to the Saturday matinee to hear the new star Callas, but she was unable to make the effort. Callas has box office attraction and must be an arresting figure on stage. I have only several records to form a conclusion, not quite so proper as did I hear the living artiste. The voice is brilliant, but there is little beauty in it. The other prima donna, Tebaldi, has a lovely quality. Well, it all makes for interest.”

    In her letters Farrar’s operatic interests span the early days of the Twentieth Century through the Tebaldi/Callas era. The letters in the Stotler volume stop in 1958. But she lived another decade and I am sure she kept her interest in operatic happenings through that period, but I have not seen these letters or am aware of her opinions at that time. I was present at the closing of the old Metropolitan Opera House 6 April,1966, and at the beginning of the gala evening several legendary old-time singers took their seats on stage to tumultuous applause (I especially remember the huge hand given to Elisabeth Rethberg, for example, perhaps because she was so beloved and had kept out of the public eye for so long). I forget whether it was Rudolf Bing himself or another master of ceremonies who read two letters of regret that they could not grace the stage that night, Rosa Ponselle and Geraldine Farrar!