Author Topic: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD  (Read 86359 times)

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #360 on: May 03, 2019, 01:20:53 AM »


Recorded in 1976, when she was already 35, this was Ileana Cotrubas's first and only recital disc. The playing time of the original disc being somewhat short, Sony have here added excerpts from the excellent complete recording of L'Elisir d'Amore also under Sir John Pritchard, Depuis le jour, from the complete Prêtre recording of Louise and O mio babino caro from Maazel's Gianni Schicchi.

As Cotrubas herself says in the notes, Leonora's Pace, pace was somewhat unexpected, a role that Cotrubas was never likely to sing on stage, and it really does need a fuller tone. I'm not sure if she ever sang Liu or Magda, but she could well have done and the other arias are all from her active repertoire.

It opens with a charming performance of Norina's Quel gaurdo il cavaliere from Don Pasquale, a role she sang at Covent Garden at around the same time. She was a highly successful Susanna ay Glyndebourne in 1973 (alongside Te Kanawa's beautiful Countess and Freredica Von Stade's radiantly ebullient Cherubino, performances which catapulted all three to stardom) and she is quite delightful in her Deh vieni.

The other side of her personality is captured in a deeply felt Ach ich fühl's, and the natural morbidezza (an Italian word without any direct translation) which suited her to roles like Mimi and Violetta, is here displayed in her singing of the Puccini arias (Si, mi chiamano Mimi, Liu's Tu, che di gel sie cinto, and Ch'il bel sogno di Doretta from La Rondine. Though there is a hint of strain in the upper reaches of Gilda's Caro nome, the aria also suits her well, and it here emerges as a dreamy reverie rather than the coloratura showpiece it often is.

The L'Elisir d'Amore are lovely in every way, as is Lauretta's O mio babino caro, and Depuis le jour well captures Louise's quiet intensity and mounting rapture.

A lovely memento of a well-loved artist.


« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 01:23:30 AM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #361 on: May 09, 2019, 11:00:06 PM »


Berlioz's Les Nuis d'Eté has always been a favourite work of mine. I have ten recordings and have heard quite a few more and this famous recording, one of the earliest, made in 1954, has always rightly been considered one of the best.

The voice itself is a beautiful one, firm and even throughout its range,and she is thoroughly in control of its resources. There is a great deal of pleasure to be had merely from the sound of the voice and the way she weights and measures phrases, but she is also keenly responsive to the poetry, ideally melding the needs of the musical line to the meaning of the words.

True, Villanelle has always seemed a tad too slow to me, a little lacking in gaiety, but it is close to the metronome marking of crotchet  = 96, so perhaps the fault lies with Mitropoulos, who fails to make the woodwind light enough. Elsewhere he provides excellent support and speeds are judiciously chosen.

The rest of the disc is taken up with more Berlioz (beautifully sung performances of La Captive, Le jeune pâtre breton and Zaïde conducted by Jean Morel) and orotorio arias by Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn. True, these latter, conducted by Max Rudolf, have a slightly old-fashioned, somewhat Victorian air about them, but they are impeccably sung and her diction is exemplary. These were recorded a few years earlier, in 1951, and the voice is at its freshest and most beautiful.

The disc comes with copious notes and photos, but, regrettably, no texts and translations.

« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 11:02:53 PM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #362 on: May 10, 2019, 09:27:06 AM »


The 1960s and 1970s were halcyon days for opera on disc. New recordings of both repertoire and rediscovered works appeared on an almost monthly basis, alongside recital records by major artists. Duet recitals, though not as frequent, were also a feature of this time, and could sometimes provide more variety in the juxtaposition of two different voices.

This 1969 duet recital finds both singers at the height of their vocal powers and provides a feast of great singing. It doesn't quite get off to the best of starts however, with a performance of Serbami ognor from Rossini's Semiramide in which Caballé's scale passages are less than perfect, and which does not erase memories of Sutherland and Horne in the same music.

Vocally the duet from Anna Bolena is much better, and Caballé is here very touching in the section (Va, infelice where Anna forgives Giovanna, maybe not as moving as Callas with Simionato, but then, who is? Their voices blend well in the Norma duet too, and the Aida finds both singers alive to the drama, and it is great cause for regret that Verrett never got to record Amneris in a complete recording.

The principal pleasures of both the Barcarolle from Les Contes d'Hoffmann and the Flower Duet from Madama Butterfly are primarily vocal, and it is certainly wonderful to bask in the sheer beauty of two such gloriously rich voices in full bloom. The disc finishes with the great combative duet from La Gioconda, with the two ladies striking points off each other in splendid fashion.




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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #363 on: May 11, 2019, 08:15:53 AM »


In 1965 Elena Souliotis burst into the operatic firmament like a shooting star. The star's trajectory was swift and by 1971 it had pretty much burned itself out. In fact the recordings she made for Decca pretty much sum up the path of Souliotis's career. The best of them are the 1965 recording of Nabucco under Gardelli, made when she was only twenty-two, and this recital disc made the followiing year. By the time of the recording of Macbeth, made in 1971, she was sung out, and it is salutory to compare the recording of Lady Macbeth's opening aria heard here to the one on the complete set. The problems hinted at in the recital (the occasionally unsupported middle voice, the chest voice and upper registers not properly integrated) have now become major issues. Her voice aged twenty years in five. Macbeth was the last major recording she made for Decca, though she did pop up again in 1991, singing the Zia Principessa to Mirella Freni's Suor Angelica. Hearing the two singers together, you would never for a minute think that Freni was the older singer.

But back to the recital in question, and listening to it now, even with the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to understand why she created such a stir at the time. It was becoming obvious that Callas was leaving the stage (indeed she made her last ever stage appearance in 1965) and people were looking for a singer of comparable dramatic flair. Souliotis, spelled Suliotis back then, certainly seemed to fit the bill. It was not a plush voice, but had a penetrating thrust and power, good flexibility and she sang with real dramatic conviction.

The first item, and the first side of the orignal LP, is the closing scene from Anna Bolena, a Callas speciality, and one would have to admit that there are times that she sounds as if she is ghosting the performance by the older singer. On the debit side also is her lack of a trill. The cabaletta is famous for a rising series of trills, delivered with incredible accuracy and tremendous force by Callas, but Souliotis doesn't even attempt them. Aside from these flaws, though, the performance is alive to the drama, the melismas in the cavatina beautifully spun out, and the cabaletta thrilling in its rhythmic thrust. Callas may still reign supreme, but I'd still rate this performance more highly than those by Sills, Sutherland, Caballé and Gruberova.

Next up is Lady Macbeth's entrance aria, which is thrilling, if a little vulgar. Comparisons with Callas are again inevitable, and it has to be said that in Callas's performance, particularly in the complete live recording under De Sabata, we get a greater sense of Lady Macbeth's vaulting ambition. Her chest voice is also better integrated, whereas with Souliotis it tends to be a feature unto itself. I like the Luisa Miller aria, though a little too mich of Lady Macbeth creeps in and she tends again to overdo the chest voice. On the other hand, Morro, ma prima in grazia from Un Ballo in Maschera is feelingly sung and actually quite beautiful.

Still, there is the overriding sense that, though there is enormous potential here, this is a voice that is as yet unformed. Singing so many performances of Abigaille at the tender age of twenty-two can't have been good for her. Callas sang the role only once, at the age of twenty-six, but never touched it again, calling it a voice-wrecker. Maybe she was right. The role's creator, Giuseppina Strepponi, who became Verdi's mistress and later his wife, also sang the role a great deal and she was also sung out by the time she was thirty-one.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 08:22:51 AM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #364 on: May 11, 2019, 09:04:47 AM »
Yes, a sad story. She also did a Norma that was not well received. Despite the failings, I like her Lady Macbeth more than the critics did and more than certain contemporary singers. There is also a Cav which I enjoy. She was like an athlete whose best was done before her life was one third over.

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Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #365 on: May 11, 2019, 09:15:24 AM »

The 1960s and 1970s were halcyon days for opera on disc. New recordings of both repertoire and rediscovered works appeared on an almost monthly basis, alongside recital records by major artists. Duet recitals, though not as frequent, were also a feature of this time, and could sometimes provide more variety in the juxtaposition of two different voices.

This 1969 duet recital finds both singers at the height of their vocal powers and provides a feast of great singing. It doesn't quite get off to the best of starts however, with a performance of Serbami ognor from Rossini's Semiramide in which Caballé's scale passages are less than perfect, and which does not erase memories of Sutherland and Horne in the same music.

Vocally the duet from Anna Bolena is much better, and Caballé is here very touching in the section (Va, infelice where Anna forgives Giovanna, maybe not as moving as Callas with Simionato, but then, who is? Their voices blend well in the Norma duet too, and the Aida finds both singers alive to the drama, and it is great cause for regret that Verrett never got to record Amneris in a complete recording.

The principal pleasures of both the Barcarolle from Les Contes d'Hoffmann and the Flower Duet from Madama Butterfly are primarily vocal, and it is certainly wonderful to bask in the sheer beauty of two such gloriously rich voices in full bloom. The disc finishes with the great combative duet from La Gioconda, with the two ladies striking points off each other in splendid fashion.

It is a pity that Verrett was given so few opportunities to record recitals, there are only a very few, some hard to come by. A great Lady Macbeth, recorded twice, Eboli, the live recording is the one to have with Corelli and Janowitz. There is a very good Orfeo and Dalila and the mezzo parts in Ballo, Rigoletto and Norma. There are others, but why so very few recitals?

Mike
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #366 on: May 11, 2019, 09:48:30 AM »
It is a pity that Verrett was given so few opportunities to record recitals, there are only a very few, some hard to come by. A great Lady Macbeth, recorded twice, Eboli, the live recording is the one to have with Corelli and Janowitz. There is a very good Orfeo and Dalila and the mezzo parts in Ballo, Rigoletto and Norma. There are others, but why so very few recitals?

Mike

To be honest, I think that Verrett was under-recorded generally. She never made a commercial recording of Carmen or Dalila, both of which were signature roles for her. It occurs to me that actually very few mezzos made many recital records. I don't recall much from Bumbry, who is on quite a few complete operas during that period. Caballé, on the other hand, recorded quite a few, as did Sutherland. Maybe there was a feeling that operatic mezzos didn't sell as many records as sopranos.

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Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #367 on: May 11, 2019, 03:20:55 PM »
To be honest, I think that Verrett was under-recorded generally. She never made a commercial recording of Carmen or Dalila, both of which were signature roles for her. It occurs to me that actually very few mezzos made many recital records. I don't recall much from Bumbry, who is on quite a few complete operas during that period. Caballé, on the other hand, recorded quite a few, as did Sutherland. Maybe there was a feeling that operatic mezzos didn't sell as many records as sopranos.

The likes of Rita Gorr or Viorica Cortez, both endowed with sumptuous voices and larger than life dramatic instincts were woefully shortchanged by recording companies  :(.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #368 on: May 12, 2019, 01:25:18 AM »


When I think of Régine Crespin I tend to think of suave sophistication, intelligence and cool reserve, qualities that make her the perfect interpreter of the songs of Ravel, Debussy and, especially, Poulenc and Ravel. But of course it was a large, refulgent voice and not one to be confined to the recital platform. The operatic stage would also seem to be its natural home.

Unfortunately too much of this French sang froid creeps into her performances of Verdi here. This Amelia is only slightly perturbed to find herself at the gallows at midnight, this Aida only mildly conflicted between loyalty to her lover and her fatherland. One feels that she wouldn’t want to get too upset in case she mussed her dress and beautifully coiffed hair, so just shrugs and walks away. In this she is the very antithesis of Callas who, famously, listened to this performance of Ritorna vincitor in a break during tense recording sessions of her final Verdi disc. Callas was so insensed at a performance that went against every grain of her dramatic being that she decided to sing it there and then, though the aria hadn’t been planned, and the result was a performance of blazing intensity a million miles from what we get here. Aside from being far too slow, Crespin never really gets to grips with Aida’s torment and anguish.

Of course Crespin’s singing is always musical, intelligent and well considered, the voice firm and well supported, but, for me, there is a lack of passion, a sense of detachment that doesn’t go well with Verdi. The best item is Lady Macbeth’s Sleepwalking Scene, though it is taken unconscionably slowly. Her tone well captures the feel of a woman  walking and talking in her sleep, and there are some fine details of interpretation. She takes a lower option at the end rather than attempt the top D fil di voce, and we note that the top of the voice can be unwieldy, steely and just under the note, as it is at the climax of Amelia’s Ecco l’orrido campo from Un Ballo in Maschera. In that respect Eboli’s O don fatale suits her better, and she does at last inject a bit more passion here, but the aria should be thrilling and it just isn’t.

Paradoxically Elisabetta’s great Act V aria from Don Carlo is taken rather too fast, and I also wonder why she didn’t sing it in French. In consequence the grand opening statement feels rushed, as does the end, and the aria loses its shape. This might have more to do with Prêtre than Crespin, whose speeds can be a bit hit and miss, and nowhere does he seem the right conductor for Verdi. It is interesting to note that, though he was a great favourite of Callas, she retained the services of Nicola Rescigno for her 1960s Italian recitals, using Prêtre only for the French recitals and her Carmen and second Tosca.

In general the Wagner items suit her better, though here too I would prefer to hear Schwarzkopf or Grümmer in the Lohengrin arias. Crespin convincingly conveys Elsa’s deam-like state, but she is far less personal with the text. There is no quickening of the pulse at the approach of the knight, and, yet again, it feels as if she were on the outside looking in. Her singing is tasteful, intelligent, musical and yet I don’t feel she is truly involved.

We get more propulsive singing for Sieglinde’s Eine Waffe lass’ mich dir weisen, and of course we are reminded she recorded the role in Solti’s Ring. She also makes a suitably seductive Kundry in the short extract from Parsifal.

That said, none of this is material I would choose to hear her in. For that I would turn to her superb performance of Ravel’s Shéhérazade with Ansermet (though not her Nuits d’Eté which also suffers from a lack of passion), to her singing of songs by Poulenc, Debussy and Satie and to some of the operettas of Offenbach that she recorded, music that responds better to her equivalent of the arched eyebrow.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #369 on: May 13, 2019, 01:05:22 AM »




Domingo recorded quite a few duet recitals in the 1970s, with Sherrill Milnes (1970), with Katia Ricciarelli (1972), with LeontynePrice (1974) and this one, with Renata Scotto, in 1978, which is, in many ways, the most successful.  For a start, the material is refreshingly unhackneyed, and, although we are vouchsafed only four excerpts, they are quite long (the shortest 8’52”), which makes for a more satisfying listening experience than lots of shorter pieces. The original LP had the French items, which are no doubt better known on the first side and the Italian ones on the second.

Scotto was at the high watermark of what was often referred to as her second career. In the 1960s she had recorded for EMI and DG, but signed to CBS/Sony in the 1970s appearing on many complete sets and recording recitals of Verdi and verismo. The voice was never a conventionally beautiful one and by this time could turn squally and shrill on top notes, but the compensations were many and included her superb musicality, her dramatic involvement, her attention to the text and her natural, unforced, excellent diction. As you can hear here, her French was less idiomatic than her Italian but you can at least hear the words clearly, and it is the French items I enjoyed most on this recital, though that could possibly reflect my preference for the material in question. I’ve never been a big fan of verismo.

Domingo is his reliable self, the voice in good shape, but at this time in his career his performances could seem a little generic, and there is not much difference between his Roméo and his Des Grieux, his Loris and his Giorgio, however musical his actual singing.

Both singers are attentive to the different styles required of the composers in question, but it is Scotto who is better at vocal characterisation, adopting an appropriately more seductive tone for Manon than she does for the girlishly innocent Juliette.  Her Fedora also sounds more mature and commanding than her Luisa in the Mascagni opera, which is a sort of verismo mirror piece to Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable duet recital, both in terms of the singing and the music tackled, and it is an excellent showcase for both singers.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #370 on: May 15, 2019, 05:43:55 AM »




Quite aside from David Daniels's pre-eminence as a Handel singer, he could also be credited with treading where few countertenors dare to go. In this mixed recital he adds to the more usual countertenor repertoire of seventeenth and eighteenth century song, Lieder by Beethoven and Schubert, French chanson by Gounod and Poulenc and English song by Vaughan Williams. Other recitals will see him venturing out into American song and Broadway, and he even made a recording of Berlioz's Les Nuits d'Eté. He has never been one to cofine himself to the usual areas of countertenor repertory.

To all he brings great beauty of voice, a superb legato, a fullness of tone rare in countertenors and an innate musicality. This fullness of tone is not a mere fabrication of the gramophone as I saw him live on many occasions and can attest that the voice rang out freely in all the venues I heard him. In addition he has a winning personality with a rare gift of communication, which comes across in all his discs.

Many of the songs here are concerned with night (the disc, after all is called Serenade) and the pervading atmosphere is therefore one of quiet reflection, but gaiety puts in an appearance too, and we note the singers facility in fast moving music, without a hint of an aspirate. We also note how the singer's expression changes from one song to another, making us feel we can see as well as hear.

We start with a group of Lieder framed by Beethoven's and Schubert's setting of Adelaide, both beautifully sung. He gives the girl's voice a suitable urgency and death a darker more consolatory tone in Der Tod und das Mädchen, but the prize of this group is his wonderful performance of Nacht und Träume, his legato impeccable , the long line firmly held. This is beautifully ccomplished singing and absolutely no allowances need to be made for the limitations of the countertenor voice.

From here we move to a group of songs by Caldara, Gluck, Cesti and Lotti, the more usual repertoire for this type of voice. Caldara's Selve amiche soothes the soul, whilst Lotti's Pur dicesti, o bocca bella is irresistibly light and charming. The Gounod and Poulenc items are all superb, the Vaughan Williams beautifully characterised, finishing with a movingly heartfelt Hands, eyes and heart.

The final items bring us back to more familiar countertenor territory, with joyful performances of Sweeter than roses and I'll sail upon the Dog Star, followed by an eloquently comforting Evening Hymn, which brings to a close an eminently satisfying recital. Martin Katz is throughout a worthy partner.

As I said earlier, I saw Daniels live on many occasion, and this recital replicates to perfection what it was like to hear him in the concert hall. There was never any difficulty hearing him and he had the rare ability of drawing the audience in, of making each person feel he was singing just for them.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #371 on: May 15, 2019, 11:33:45 AM »
Yesterday I listened to the Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor. I found 2 performances by Callas on youtube, one from the Met in 1956, the other one uncredited, but I suspect it was from the Berlin performances. The youtube description ascribes it to the «  Aria Collection vol 4. »

I confess to be a huge fan of this scene, it is dramatically static but musically it is the incarnation of mental schizophrenia, with the mad Lucia conversing with the voices within her head when she duets with the solo flute. It is eerie and chilling, and musically transcendent.

The 1956 Met performance

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3y_EJ_LKsxU

She was ill at the time but very few allowances need to be made. She attacks the high notes forte and the sound does waver but every time she fines it down to a lovely and dramatically effective piano.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rv1nmNJQgNk
. Callas displays a mix of astounding vocalism and almost supernatural dramatic powers. It is simply impossible to match that.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #372 on: May 15, 2019, 12:04:31 PM »
Yesterday I listened to the Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor. I found 2 performances by Callas on youtube, one from the Met in 1956, the other one uncredited, but I suspect it was from the Berlin performances. The youtube description ascribes it to the «  Aria Collection vol 4. »

I confess to be a huge fan of this scene, it is dramatically static but musically it is the incarnation of mental schizophrenia, with the mad Lucia conversing with the voices within her head when she duets with the solo flute. It is eerie and chilling, and musically transcendent.

The 1956 Met performance

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3y_EJ_LKsxU

She was ill at the time but very few allowances need to be made. She attacks the high notes forte and the sound does waver but every time she fines it down to a lovely and dramatically effective piano.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rv1nmNJQgNk
. Callas displays a mix of astounding vocalism and almost supernatural dramatic powers. It is simply impossible to match that.

Yes the second one is Berlin, and it's staggering, even if she does end the cadenza on the lower Eb.

Robert Sutherland, her accompanist on the ill fated final concert tour, recounts how, whilst they were rehearsing, someone sent Callas some records of the Berlin Lucia, and they finished early one afternoon to listen to the recording. At the end of the Mad Scene, Callas turned to Sutherland and asked him what he thought. He was a bit at a loss for words, especially as they were both well aware of her present vocal state, so he just said, "Well it's marvellous singing, Madame Callas." Marvellous?" she retorted, "It's bloody miraculous!" and laughed, but then added, "And to think I went back to my dressing room and cried, because I thought I hadn't sung well enough."

She must have been imagining something beyond the realms of possibility.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #373 on: May 16, 2019, 04:46:08 AM »




When this recital first appeared in 1975, Scotto had been absent from the catalogues for some time. She was principally known on record for her Butterfly under Barbirolli (recorded for EMI in 1966) and for Mimi, Violetta, Gilda and Lucia (all recorded in the early 1960s for DG).

Butterfly was her calling card for many years, and the recording has remained one of the most recommendable (though, save for Liu in the Molinari-Pradelli Turandot, recorded in 1961, she appears not to have made any further complete opera recordings for EMI until she recorded Abigaille under Muti in 1977).

She first made her mark deputising as Amina in Edinburgh for Callas, who, in poor vocal health at the time, had refused to sing an extra uncontracted performance that La Scala had tried to thurst upon her. That was in 1957 and it would appear that, though she had considerable success on stage, recording companies were not so quick on the uptake. She herself has admitted that she could be a bit prima donna-ish in a "my way or no way" sort of manner, until she met her husband, Lorenzo Anselmi, who, according to Scotto, helped her to become more professional, and think more about the music.

She was at first known as a coloratura, but even in the early 1960s, John Steane notes that her high notes did not seem to come easily and could have a hard and pinched quality. She also had a great success as Butterfly, the role in which she had made her Met debut, but it soon became clear that this was the only repertoire Bing would call on her for. He refused to offer her anything else so she was absent from their schedules for a long time, returning in 1974 to sing Elena in I Vespri Siciliani, under Levine who became her champion. For many years, she was the Met's house soprano, singing a completely new repertoire, which included Verdi roles like Leonora in Il Trovatore, Desdemona, Luisa Miller and Lady Macbeth. 

This Verdi recital also marked the beginning of a new, fairly intensive recording schedule for her. In the ten years since her recording of Madama Butterfly the hardness on top has become more noticeable, and many of the louder notes above the stave are quite strident. There are however compensations in her musicality, her dramatic awareness, her deep legato and the firmness of the line. Then there is the added attraction of her attention to detail and her intelligent use of the words, though occasionally there is a lack of spontaneity. Art does not always conceal art.

There is a good mixture here of the familiar and the not so well known. In the former camp would be Lida's aria and cabaletta from La Battaglia di Legnano, a fairly conventional piece whose cabaletta is nonetheless energetically exciting, and which Scotto attacks head on. There is a slight suspicion that the voice is a little small for the other early works here (Nabucco and I Lombardi), but she has an innate feeling for Verdian style and the cavatinas of both are beautifully moulded, the cabalettas propulsive and exciting. The voice takes on a lovely melancholy tinta  for Elena's Arrigo, ah parli a un core, which lies mostly in the middle register,  though she eschews the written low F# in the cadenza, taking a higher alternative, and sings a bright and breezy Merce, dilette amiche. Best of all, probably because neither takes he much above the stave, are Violetta's Addio, del passato, the reading of the letter absolutely heart-wrenching, and Desdemona's Willow Song and Ave Maria, which is alive to every dramatic contrast, her singing full of anxious foreboding. Soon after this she would make a most touching Desdemona both on stage at the Met and on record in Domingo's first recording.

Some may prefer a richer voice for this music, but few who are more vocally endowed sing with such specificity, such attention to the meaning of the text, such musicality and appreciation of Verdian style. Where other sopranos, like Souliotis and Sass, can be accused of being copycat Callases, Scotto can be said to have absorbed the lessons of Callas without losing her own individuality. This is a very good recital.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #374 on: May 16, 2019, 08:44:39 AM »
One of my favourite Verdi recitals. Possibly because of its less than full size voice for Abigail’s aria she seizes it by the throat and totally subjugates it. That death-defying octave plunge is awesome. Every time I fear her vocal cords have snapped ???.

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #375 on: May 16, 2019, 08:57:07 AM »
I haven't listened to this in a few years, I may even not have gone through all of it  ::). Time to make amends and go through it again. Contents are very well chosen and plenty of air time is devoted to her greatest roles (3 discs each of various performances of Lucia, Norma and Violetta). Most of the material is from live performances, but commercial discs are used to complete the portrait and contrast the public vs the studio performances. Most of it is in good sound, although some are of the antediluvian kind, such as the Turandot bits that end disc one. The booklet is informative, well documented and illustrated. 126 double size pages.



Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #376 on: May 16, 2019, 05:19:02 PM »


The first time I heard Maggie Teyte was when I was just starting to enjoy French song. I was learning Duparc's Chanson triste and a friend played me her recording of the song with Gerald Moore at the piano. I was absolutely entranced and it has remained my yardstick ever since. First of all the flowing tempo they adopt is aboslutely right (so many take it too slowly) and she responds perfectly to all Duparc's markings - floating the tone beautifully on the mon of mon amour (it is marked doux by Duparc) an effect I have tried, not too successfully, to emulate myself. Her high A is clear, clean and true, but she takes the lower option on the words de tes bras, dipping down into that gloriously rich lower register she had. As you listen, you feel the song is addressed to you personally and you want to just lie back in the warm embrace of her comforting words. The French christened her L'Exquise Maggie Teyte, and the adjective suits her perfectly.

She was born in 1888 in Woverhampton, but went to Paris in 1903 to study with the famous tenor Jean De Reszke. She made her first public appearanc in 1906, singing Cherubino and Zerlina under Reynaldo Hahn, making her first professional appearance in Monte Carlo the following year. She then joined the company at the Opéra-Comique in Paris and was shortly after chosen to replace Mary Garden in the role of Mélisande, for which she was coached by Debussy himself. She is the only singer ever to have been accompanied in public by Debussy himself, and she is an invaluable link to so many musicians of the past. Despite her early success however, she didn't really establish herself with the main opera houses, and went into semi-retirement after her second marriage (to Canadian millionaire Walter Sherwin Cottingham) in 1921.

In 1930 she tried to resuscitate her career, but ended up singing in variety and music hall (24 performances a week!) until, in 1930, she made some recordings of Debussy songs with Alfred Cortot, which were so successful that she then became known as the leading French song interpreter of her time. She also sang at Covent Garden in such roles as Butterfly, Hänsel and Eurydice in Gluck's opera, as well as Manon in English (with Heddle Nash).

The present set concentrates on recordings of French song with orchestra and piano made between 1940 and 1948, making her 60 when she recorded Ravel's Schéhérazade, not that you would ever suspect it. The voice is still absolutely firm with no trace of wobble or excessive vibrato, top notes pure and true (a thrilling top B flat in Asie), the inimitable lower register gloriously rich.

It starts with a rather hectic recording of Berlioz's Le spectre de la rose. The fast tempo was presumably adopted so that they could fit the song onto a single 78, but it does remind us that it is in waltz time and she brings a peculiarly intimate touch to the closing lines,which are sung with an ineffable sadness. Absence is sweetly touching.

Occasionally her attention to the meaning of the words can get in the way of the music, and the tempo fluctuations in Fauré's Après un rêve are just too much, the general speed much too slow, but the accelerando on Reviens, reviens just too much. On the other hand the tempo for his Clair de lune is absolutely spot on with a moment of pure magic as she infuses her tone with warmth at Au calme clair de lune and Gerald Moore switches to a more free flowing style in the accompaniment.

Over the two discs there is scarcely a performance that doesn't warrant attention, but I single out for special consideration Duparc's gorgeous Phidylé, which is lazily erotic as it should be (note her telling observation of the diminuendo on baiser - most singers miss it completely) and the aforementioned Chanson triste, the former with the LSO under Leslie Heward, the latter with Gerald Moore on the piano. Also on disc 1 is a superb performance of Chausson's Chanson perpétuelle, whilst she breathes new life into Hahn's popular Si me vers avaient des ailes.

In all she remains inimitable and individual, though, it seems these days, only known to connoisseurs. This set is no longer available, nor are the Debussy songs she recorded with Cortot. John Steane says in his wonderful book The Grand Tradition,

Not only is her actual singing so good, but she has something personal to say in all she does, and voice and style are instantly recognisable.

There are other examples of her art more readily available on other lablels but this old EMI set is a treasure and I urge Warner to reissue it along with the Debussy songs with Cortot. It should be in the collection of anyone who is interested in French song.
I've long been curious about this singer and having identified a cheap copy of this on Amazon, I pounced. I can't say I love the voice quite as much as you do. The style of singing from these earlier periods is not always to my liking, and I feel she has more vibrato at times than you. But that aside, she is really quite a thoughtful singer and oozes French singing at nearly every turn. Hahn's Si mes vers avaint des alles was so good that I repeated it several times before moving on. I think it was my favorite track of the set. Clair de Lune is generally as good as advertised too. In general, I preferred the slow songs where she could luxuriate in the moment. Sometimes it was just a turn of phrase that captured the attention.  There were times I wish she would have pulled back just a bit or floated the note a bit more (for example at the start of Debussy's Romance or Faure's Le secret). But once she settled in, I was captivated.  There were times I almost felt she was singing just to me, and I don't think there can be higher praise than that.

Thanks for drawing attention to this sometimes forgotten singer.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 05:20:34 PM by mc ukrneal »
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #377 on: May 16, 2019, 11:31:50 PM »
I've long been curious about this singer and having identified a cheap copy of this on Amazon, I pounced. I can't say I love the voice quite as much as you do. The style of singing from these earlier periods is not always to my liking, and I feel she has more vibrato at times than you. But that aside, she is really quite a thoughtful singer and oozes French singing at nearly every turn. Hahn's Si mes vers avaint des alles was so good that I repeated it several times before moving on. I think it was my favorite track of the set. Clair de Lune is generally as good as advertised too. In general, I preferred the slow songs where she could luxuriate in the moment. Sometimes it was just a turn of phrase that captured the attention.  There were times I wish she would have pulled back just a bit or floated the note a bit more (for example at the start of Debussy's Romance or Faure's Le secret). But once she settled in, I was captivated.  There were times I almost felt she was singing just to me, and I don't think there can be higher praise than that.

Thanks for drawing attention to this sometimes forgotten singer.

I am so glad you enjoyed her.

On the subject of vibrato, I just want to make it clear that I was referring excessive vibrato which can turn into a wobble. Teyte's singing is so firm, her production so solid, that there is no suspicion of wobble even at the age of 60.

If you feel like investigating further, then you could do no better than this Decca set of recordings made rather earlier than the EMI set.



A particular favourite of mine is Tu n'es pas beau from La Périchole, which dates from the early 1930s, which is disarming in every way. I just love those dips into chest voice. Admittedly there is quite a lot of lighter fare here (Deep in my heart from The Student Prince, Coward's I'll follow my secret heart), but I enjoy it very much.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #378 on: May 17, 2019, 03:37:14 PM »


Superb programming, interpretation and vocal execution. Hannigan and her partner create the perfect musical and psychological setting for these sometimes elusive pieces. 31 songs divided in 6 groups. One can savour each separately, or assemble one’s own mini recital.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #379 on: May 19, 2019, 04:47:29 AM »


This well-filled four disc set was issued to time in with De Los Angeles’s seventieth birthday in 1993, when, incredibly, she was still active on the concert platform, having made her stage debut in 1941. I don’t know when she officially retired, but she died just over ten years later. The set dates from the good old days, when notes texts and translations were included. Not all of this material is that familiar, so they are absolutely essential. Nowadays you are lucky to even get a web link to them.

The set concentrates on the recital side of De Los Angeles’s career and all the recordings date from the 1960s and early 1970s, with two discs of song with orchestra and two with piano or, as in the case of Falla’s Psyché chamber ensemble.

Disc 1 covers French song with orchestra (though not her wonderful recording of Les Nuits d’Eté, which was recorded for RCA). We start with one of the most recommendable of all versions of Ravel’s Shéhérazade, in which she is a vivid narrator, taking an almost childlike pleasure in the sights she describes. In the Cinq Mélodies populaires grecques she is the epitome of a young village girl, whilst the Deux Mélodies hébraïques bring out a more seductive quality in her voice. Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer exposes the occasional fragility in the voice, but is still a beautiful performance.

Disc 2, which concentrates on Spanish song with orchestra, would probably be my favourite of the four. It almost exactly reproduces a disc called The Maiden and the Nightingale, released in EMI’s Great Recordings of the Century, though it omits that Granados title track. Favrouites here are the Montsalvatge Cinco canciones negras; wonderfully soothing in the Cancio de cuna para dormir a un negrito and irresistibly playful in the Yambambos of the Canto Negro. I also love Mompou’s El combat del Somni, especially the soulful Damunt de tu nomes los flors. Another joyful performance is Rodrigo’s De los alamos vengo, madre. We are reminded that De Los Angeles probably did more than any other singer to put Spanish song on the map.

Disc 3 brings us more French and Spanish repertoire, this time with piano accompaniment, or chamber ensemble as in Falla’s Psyché. Though her French isn’t entirely idiomatic, she is an ideal interpreter of Debussy, Ravel, Fauré and Hahn. The performance here of Falla’s Sietes canciones populares españolas, with Gonzalo Soriano at the piano, is not generally considered her best, and it is true she is not as fierily earthy as Conchita Supervia, but equally valid in its more playful style.

Disc 4 is more mixed, and presumably covers material likely to turn up in her recitals as openers or encores. I have always treasured her performances of Fauré’s Chanson d’amour, which is sung with a delightful smile in the voice, and her ideal performance of Clair de lune, which captures to perfection its ancien style, but includes a wonderful change of colour when the accompaniment switches to a more fluid figure at Au calme clair de lune. All the piano accompaniment on this disc is provided by Gerald Moore and it also includes a group of duets (from Purcell to Tchaikovsky) with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, finishing off with a couple of extracts from Moore’s farewell concert at the Royal Festival Hall, with Schwarzkopf joining the pair for Mozart’s La Partenza.

To get a fuller picture of this lovely artist, one would ideally want some representation of her operatic career, but this one captures well many elements of the recital side of her career. As in all such compilations, I might cavil at some of the choices, but the programme over the fours discs is varied and enjoyable, and De Los Angeles always brings her inimitable individual stamp to all she sings.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas