Author Topic: Unpopular Opinions  (Read 146821 times)

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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2500 on: September 04, 2017, 02:56:45 AM »
I think Alfred Deller went through a period quite early in his career when he was making some some outstanding music, but the later recordings are for me not as satisfying. Actually similarly with Pears.

Completely agreed as to Deller. But in his later days Pears was still a good singing actor, even if his voice was declining.
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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2501 on: September 04, 2017, 03:47:14 AM »
There are many distinctions that should be made in this discussion.  The arias operas of the 18th century demand a much slighter vibrato, more discretion and distinction in the singing.  Here an example from Grétry  'L'amant Jaloux' the aria "Tandis que tout sommeille"

Well, if that is not a vibrato of a held note in the first version at 1:15 and 2:29, I don't know what is. I think the singer just let the tone go, but probably could have controlled it better. Alagna brings the Heldentenor into this aria, but of course, completely inappropriate. He does a funny falsetto on the last G, "charmante", which after all, is not that high for a tenor. Here the note at 2:28 is vibrating completely undisciplined.

Even in the 19th century operatic repertoire, there are all sort of roles.  The heroic ones (Massenet, Le Cid), the macho ones (Othello), the wimpy boys (Cherubin, Rossini).  To each role, its voice.  Mario del Monaco who had a legendary powerful voice was great in Othello, but lacked nuance in many other roles.

Oh, absolutely! There is a lengthy article about singing in Grove's Dictionary treating of this subject which has largely been forgotten. Character types and the voices that fit them were very important in 18th century opera indeed.

Another issue, even more important to me is the quality of the diction.  A singer with a bad diction had no future in the first part of the 20th century.  Today because so many english people do no know any foreign languages, there is a tolerance toward totally unrecognizable mumbled words.

You can read what Marko Rothmuller had to say about singing in the first half of the 20th century. They were still mixing up languages even after WWII.

http://www.bruceduffie.com/rothmuller.html

BD:    Do you feel that opera works well in translation?

MR:    Absolutely, if the translation is good.  It is always important that the audience understands it, and above all that the singer understands it.  Immediately after the War, we had Aïda in Vienna in Italian.  That was the only opera they did in the original.  Since about 1960 they do most operas in the original, but before that everything was done in the language of the country.  So first of all, the Radames had such bad pronunciation that it was impossible, and of course he didn’t understand one word he was singing.  He could emphasize the wrong word very easily. 

On the other hand, I had the experience when I sang it in one language and a guest sang it in another, that can be also very awkward.  I remember a funny instance in Butterfly.  There was a guest, Dusolina Giannini, and she sang in Italian.  So at one point I asked what day is today, and she asked if I had an orange because the translation didn’t go at the same time.  [Both laugh] 

In London we had Tosca in English.  At that time, they did everything in English.  Only during the June Festival Wagner was done in German, but now they do everything in the original.  We had once a guest Tosca who sang in Italian, so I sang all our scenes in Italian because Scarpia is very much with Tosca.  Whenever we were together I sang with her in Italian so as not to say something and then have her answer something different.  I thought it was better that way.


As for diction, I actually think it has gotten better and singers do learn many languages these days, even native English speakers. I do detect, however when listening to recordings of Mary Garden, Debussy's Melisande, a strong English or even Scottish accent.  It was pointed out even back then.
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Offline ørfeo

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2502 on: September 04, 2017, 04:54:49 AM »
Sigh. Nothing sailed past me. I'm simply disagreeing, based on listening to rock music and buying albums for over 40 years. Are you always this arsey?

1. You're disagreeing that the term singer-songwriter is used rather than vocalist songwriter??

2. Yes.
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Offline nodogen

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2503 on: September 04, 2017, 05:12:02 AM »
2. Yes.

I did wonder why your responses were immediately sarcastic in tone and about such an innocuous topic. Feel free to have the last word.
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Offline ørfeo

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2504 on: September 04, 2017, 05:16:15 AM »
The last word will be: interesting how you evade the response that is difficult to refute.

The fact is, singers ARE called singers in the pop world. They are also called vocalists, and I never said otherwise, but I simply reacted to the way that it felt you were trying to lay down some kind of rule that they weren't called singers. The truth is they frequently are. What they produce is frequently called "vocals".

It is in fact relatively rare to see credits on a song or album that refer to a "vocalist" because that's simply not how credits are usually written. It normally says "guitar" or "guitars", not "guitarist". It normally says "keyboards" not "keyboard player". And hence it normally says "vocals".
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 05:20:45 AM by ørfeo »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2505 on: September 06, 2017, 06:49:53 AM »
Another issue, even more important to me is the quality of the diction.  A singer with a bad diction had no future in the first part of the 20th century.  Today [...] there is a tolerance toward totally unrecognizable mumbled words.

A big +1 on this.
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

Offline Uhor

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2506 on: September 06, 2017, 01:35:28 PM »
Cowbellist? Cow? Pastoral tintinnabulator? Ruminant?...

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2507 on: September 07, 2017, 03:44:08 AM »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2508 on: September 14, 2017, 01:31:28 AM »
There are many distinctions that should be made in this discussion.  The arias operas of the 18th century demand a much slighter vibrato, more discretion and distinction in the singing.  Here an example from Grétry  'L'amant Jaloux' the aria "Tandis que tout sommeille"
First a performance exactly in the 18 th century style.  All is done with distinctinction and
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/taqlNE2cvkQ" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/taqlNE2cvkQ</a>
An now Roberto Alagna who transform this tender lullaby in a heroic 19 century aria
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/5Z09rdD2J0I" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/5Z09rdD2J0I</a>
Pretty bad, I would say.

Pretty bad is an understatement. It's awful.
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

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