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Any widely Acknowledged Great Singers That You Don't Particularly Like?


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Initial post: Apr 7, 2012 3:51:23 PM PDT
Soucient says:
For me--and, I know that this is going to be a heretical post--it's Joan Sutherland, Pavarotti, Tebaldi, Renee Fleming, Birget Nilsson, Netrebko, Dessay, and the singer who's doing Brunhilda" at the Met this year (can't recall her name).

Some of these singers have very beautiful voices, but I just don't care for their interpretations, i.e., Fleming and Netrubko.

Others have very beautiful voices but their singing just leaves me cold, i.e. Sutherland, Dessay, and Nilsson.

And, as for Pavarroti, his early singing was splendid, and it was a great voice. But he developed some repellant habits, such as a "blatting' sound on ceertain vowells, and some swooping and scooping that I just couldn't abide.

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 4:14:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 7, 2012 4:20:24 PM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Deborah Voigt? Otherwise, oh, yes. Domingo, Del Monaco, Sam Ramey, You have to hear Pavarotti in the 1870s. Fleming's singing isn't exactly bad, but visually her simpering manner, and search for a new gesture and inflection for every other note, tires me out. Schlusnus and Prey are dangerously close to being whiskey baritones. Rehkemper doesn't appeal. Aksel Schiotz appeals enormously but is sometimes worryingly under the pitch. Hotter disappoints on woofy, hollow, or wobbly hay-fever days, but otherwise is great. Martinelli and Bergonzi aren't for me. Lily Pons. Kathleen Ferrier's tragedy-mongering, Janet Baker's lack of comprehensible German diction, Sutherland's absence of words, Te Kanawa's Maori. I love Lotte Lehmann and Licia Albanesi but worry about their gasping for breath, even when turned to dramatic ends. Many of today's singers (and yesterday's) lack an individual or recognisable personal timbre and style.

I'll never see Johan Botha in anything after his Calaf here. I also dislike Max Lorenz, Fritz Uhl, and Burkhard Fritz, Otto Wiener, and most of Otto Edelmann. I like Thomas Hampson but not as much as he does. The unheldentenors Torsten Ralf, Svanholm, Suthaus, Peter Hofmann, Siegfried Jerusalem after his voice went, and Carreras ditto.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2012 5:33:12 PM PDT
Forme, of course, it's the Great Danish Bellowing Walrus.

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 5:41:38 PM PDT
Contributing to the heresy, here are my least favorite of the great sopranos: Scotto, Dessay, and--This earns me the attention of a hitman--Sills. Yep. Sills. I name these ladies, and yet there is at least one quality in each of them that I admire. With Scotto, it was her intensity on the stage. Dessay's sheer athletics on stage never fail to impress. Sills was always charming in public, and I thought she was a fine actress. I just can't listen to them. It's a matter of taste.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2012 5:54:55 PM PDT
Soucient says:
Dessay has an excellent voice and incredible technique. But it's just those "sheer athletics" that distract and annoy me.

As you say, it is a matter of taste. But when Dessay displays all those moves it takes my mind away from the gorgeous music, which is the principle reason I want to hear opera. In one opera she actually scooted along a table while singing an aria. i couldn't believe it!

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 6:17:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 7, 2012 6:28:19 PM PDT
Todd Kay says:
The list of important singers who rarely do it for me would be a long one. Some esteemed names I'm never thrilled to see in a cast list of something I'm considering buying (or attending, where presently active ones are concerned): Caniglia, Gigli, Milanov, Tebaldi, Sutherland, Horne, Del Monaco, Christoff, Tucker, Nilsson, Moffo, Windgassen, Atlantov, Raimondi, Battle, Tomowa-Sintow, June Anderson, Voigt, Hampson, Mattila, Marcelo Alvarez, Gheorghiu...

In all of those cases, though, I do "get it." I see/hear what makes other people like them so much. I even admit that many of them had amazing attributes. Sutherland's technique was staggering. For the kind of music in which she specialized, we'd be lucky to get it once in a generation. Nilsson's stamina, likewise. I have to give it up for anyone who could sing so many performances of the roles she sang, documented "voice-killers," and still sound as strong as she did in her Liebestod at the 1983 Met gala. And so on.

A shorter list would be "successful singers you can't believe had international careers." There is a particular baritone active who has sung such roles as Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra, and Amonasro at the best houses, with the best conductors, and I just hear *nothing*. Small voice, ugly tone, narrow range, unsteady emission, indifferent musicianship, not a great actor, certainly not getting by on looks...if struggling for something good to say, I would resort to "pronounces the words correctly" or "does not have memory lapses." I don't see how this guy's operatic career beyond the outer provinces was not arrested at messenger/flunky roles.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2012 6:55:35 PM PDT
Soucient says:
Why don't some of you like Del Monaco? Is it because he bellowed a lot? Or that he frequently had a very coarse sound to his voice? Or that he wasn't the most sensitive artist on the block?

He seems to me to have been much like Maria Callas in that he had some severe faults-- rather, some major infelicities and drawbacks.

But he was magnetic in performance. I heard his "Othello and "Andrea Chenier" at the old Met. When he appeared, he owned that stage.

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 7:34:37 PM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Del Monaco never dims his lights, sings everything forte, and committed the most tasteless Siegmund Act I Walkuere "Waelse, Waelse" since at least Max Lorenz. And for all three reasons you named. Not for me, sorry.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2012 8:10:28 PM PDT
Soucient says:
Yes, Del Monico did blast away pretty good, didn't he? And he took some justly deserved heavy criticism for it.

What was his sin in "Die Walkure.?

Was it the same as Melchoir's-- holding "Waelsung" so long that all the cows came home?

On these occasions, Lotte Lehman, his Sieglinde, used to mutter, "How long, Lauritz? How long."

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2012 9:12:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 7, 2012 2:12:53 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
Maria Callas - the wobbles and strains do me in. It is NOT her vocaly quality per se. Early Callas has a hauntingly beautiful tone which she destroyed and except for some momments in Norma and Tosca make her rperformances tedious for rme.

ERGO I am of course a Sutherland and Tebaldi fan but Renata had pitch issues but up till @ 1966 was tremendous.

But my tastes have changed.-Initially Nellie Melba sounded like a hooting machine now she sounds like a pure sounding angel. Go figure.

Good thread - let's keep it civil. Taste in voices is like taste in food. I love Squid and others find it to be an emetic.

Best to all my music friends her both old and new- JOHN

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2012 9:27:23 PM PDT
Soucient says:
When I was a young person (in the 60's), my friends and I would argue into the night about who was the better singer, Callas or Tebaldi. I always plumped for Tebaldi then because the gorgeous quality of her voice meant everything. During those tender years I didn't pay nearly enough attention to interpretation as I do now.

I used to have an LP then of Callas singing, among other arias, the "Liebestod." Callas does Wagner! She was still overweight at that time, but not the Leviathan that some seem to think she was. It seems likely to me that her extreme weight loss contributed her "wobbles and strains." It's a real shame.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2012 9:42:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 30, 2012 9:17:25 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
Soucient says:
It seems likely to me that her extreme weight loss contributed her "wobbles and strains." It's a real shame.
-------------
IMO that Chunky Callas' "Liebestod" is one of her greatest recordings with nascent wobble.
Maria Callas Fist Recital Tristan und Isolde Liebestod: Dolce e calmo 1949*
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB45LsgWF5w

Interstingly post prime Tebaldi sang the Liebestod beautifully - maybe the two rivals have something in common.
Tebaldi said she wanted to be remembered by that recording.
Maria is more intense - Tebaldi is serenly accepting of the Tristan's Death.

Renata Tebaldi Mild und leise (italiano)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4mhlnwLOKo
As I have aged, I am 67, I have become rolerant of various vibratos - Supervia who sounds like a chain saw and Melba who
sound white but now all is well.

I am glad we are on opposite sides of the US coast as I stay up late and we can chat and listen.

Regards-John

Posted on Apr 8, 2012 9:36:39 AM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Del Monaco''s Siegmund is, or at least was, on YouTube. I think it might be better for you to hear it for yourself. LARRY Cantrell, who otherwise is quite sane and an opera singer himsel (if that's not a contradiction in terms), has an allergy to Lebrecht Hummel, aka Lauritz Melchior. Callas was an intense actress, and I think you had to see her, which I never did. One of her records I have no problem at all with is "Qui la voce" from Mexico City.

I don't enjoy everything Melchior did on records, radio, or film, and he sang too long, like many good singers, but I've never heard a better Heldentenor, or a more sensitive delivery of the words. Sorry, LARRY, but there it is! "Geschlagen lagen die Brueder, tot sah ich die Maid" and especially "Jetzt weiss du, fragende Frau, warum ich nicht Friedmund ... heisset" never lose their magic for me, woth sung to Lotte Lahmann's marvelous Sieglinde in their 1935 recording with Bruno Walter and the Vienna Philharmonic. This and the "Meistersinger" quintet are two favourite Melchior records. I wonder sometimes how much of LARRY's antipathy is due to the later records ... a pity.

Posted on Apr 8, 2012 2:25:10 PM PDT
Soucient says:
Did any of you like Kurt Baum? I didn't.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2012 4:00:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2012 6:56:58 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
Okay let's here it

Mario del Monaco - Die Walkure 28 second Walse - whatever one thinks it is an amazing voice and breath control.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGZcEfsCHpU&feature=related

Lauritz Melchior a more complete realization and to me he has one peer only in their recpecrive repetorires- Caruso
His earliest recording of this scene-ACOUSTIC 1923 . The "Walse" is not held as long as MDM but perfect singing of the entire piece with superb dynamic variety.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWp_uTn8o9w

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2012 4:11:11 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 8, 2012 4:12:37 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2012 4:38:49 PM PDT
Soucient says:
Thank you very much, Jphn.

This is a wonderful failure on so many levels. Del Monaco makes "The Ring" sound like it was by Verdi out of one of Wagner's grandaughters.

Del Monaco has everything going for him except his technique (awful "swooping" up to a higher note, for instance) and his Italian soul.

Lordy, he's handsome! And with those looks and stentorian voice, he's a perfect demi-god.

But this is a parody of Siegmund. Some Italianate version of Wagner--much too slow and emotive, and showy as heck!

I loved it, in spite of its awfulness.

Posted on Apr 8, 2012 5:01:33 PM PDT
John Bennett says:
I might be leading myself into a Lion's den here but there are two singers that about 70 million think they're great, but I've often found them over rated. Maria Callas...too screechy, tho very dynamic. The second one 'LA STUPENDA'...well her first several years, good to impressive...after that an average fair opera singer, the late Joan Sutherland.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2012 5:15:39 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
Soucient says:
Yes, Del Monico did blast away pretty good, didn't he? And he took some justly deserved heavy criticism for it.
What was his sin "Die Walkure.?

Was it the same as Melchoir's-- holding "Waelsung" so long that all the cows came home?
======================================
Friend

Even Melchior would not sin when GOD was his conductor- This might be the shortest "Walse" Melchior ever sang.
Not a mini -second over the proscribed timing !!!!!

The performance is glorious.
Toscanini, Traubel, Melchior , 1941 - Die Walküre, act 1, scene 3,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7GSBGSdGL4

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2012 5:27:11 PM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Kurt Baum was another unsatisfactory Wagnerian tenor to me also. Soucient.

Posted on Apr 8, 2012 5:48:06 PM PDT
Todd Kay says:
He was (even) less satisfactory in Verdi. I have an AIDA in which he is Radames; Giulio Neri is Ramfis. In the Temple Scene, when Ramfis sings the solemn eight-bar melody that immediately is repeated by Radames, it always sounds as though I'm hearing someone taking a singing lesson...and not doing that well.

Posted on Apr 8, 2012 5:52:24 PM PDT
Edgar Self says:
But I'll bet Guilio Neri was great, Todd? A real Italian black bass.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2012 8:34:57 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
Despite great stamina and range Giacomo Lauri-Volpi is a tenor I rarely listen to and is not on my Desert Island.

Posted on Apr 8, 2012 11:02:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2012 11:04:38 PM PDT
Todd Kay says:
Piso: Neri is pretty grand there, and it puts Baum in a tough position, having to "echo" him at such length. In fairness, Baum isn't at his worst in the set, but when you go from Neri's smooth, rich tone and stylish treatment of the line and language to something bumpier, less even, less idiomatic, it's as though there are neon lights around it.

This is, of course, the '53 Covent Garden conducted by Barbirolli (Callas and Simionato as the rival princesses, and young Sutherland as the Priestess). One of the really good live AIDAs, although we're all likely to have a dozen or more preferred Radameses.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2012 11:32:47 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 9, 2012 11:34:34 AM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
John Bennett says:
I might be leading myself into a Lion's den here but there are two singers that about 70 million think they're great, but I've often found them over rated. Maria Callas...too screechy, tho very dynamic. The second one 'LA STUPENDA'...well her first several years, good to impressive...after that an average fair opera singer, the late Joan Sutherland.
=====================
JohnB

You are unique - you are the first person I know who does not like Maria AND Joan, Usually it is either/or. I am curious.
Did you either diva on stage? I only heard Joan on stage.

Regards-JohnR
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Discussion in:  Opera forum
Participants:  24
Total posts:  301
Initial post:  Apr 7, 2012
Latest post:  Sep 30, 2012

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