Author Topic: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD  (Read 123710 times)

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #460 on: September 07, 2019, 02:30:15 AM »
French did not come naturally to Callas (she has an accent in interviews and there are a couple of diction blots in her Carmen), but in her two EMI recitals she has worked on words and music in such a way that you’d never guess she’s not a native. Irreplaceable artistry.

Interestingly Callas was Legge's first choice for the Beecham Carmen, but she refused, saying her French was not yet good enough to sing a complete role. I love De Los Angeles, but I do think her Carmen is all too ladylike (you just can't imagine her ever pulling a knife on a fellow worker) and I often wonder what a Callas/Beecham Carmen would have been like.

I'd like to hear that Vanzo disc. He was a much underrated (and under-recorded) artist.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #461 on: September 07, 2019, 09:05:06 AM »
One of the problems with Vanzo’s discography is that it’s often hard to figure what’s what in terms of dates and provenance. Small, cheapo labels pick up stuff from commercial recital discs, radio recitals, integral sets, private performances and the like and fail to give these useful indications. Since Vanzo was much in demand in France he recorded some items many times over.

In the 1950s it was quite common for an operatic soloist to give mini concerts in a casino (Deauville, Monte Carlo, Vichy etc), record a 30 minute program on the radio, pair with another singer in a Salle Favart concert, record a whole opera for radio broadcast, do it commercially with different singers/conductors, etc. Vanzo recital discs usually cull from various sources to assemble a program. It’s almost a detective work to identify the recorded items properly.

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #462 on: September 07, 2019, 09:36:48 AM »
Here’s a YT clip of Vanzo’s A te o cara. Listen to the way the high C# blooms in the head voice. I get a brain freeze every time I hear it. BTW Vanzo is the only tenor to sing it softly, all others I’ve heard attack it ff. I couldn’t find any source that showed dynamic marks here.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6L7m0JUJ_oo
« Last Edit: September 08, 2019, 03:04:17 PM by André »

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #463 on: September 08, 2019, 10:37:28 AM »


La Gencer in what she does best (Donizetti heroines) is a wonder to behold. Her Com’è bello from Lucrezia Borgia is simply divine. Caballé went one step further in cultivating those breathtaking pianissimo high notes, but Gencer integrates them more meaningfully in the musical line.

In the Verdi arias one notes greater emotional agitation in an attempt to raise the drama to a higher temperature. In doing so she sacrifices some of the bel canto fabric that Verdi never tore in the first place (a common mistake). Her Forza Leonora is immensely distraught at the sight of a piece of bread. This is a bit over the top. Vocally she triumphs over the aria’s hurdles, the pianissimo high note on invan la pace and the venomous attack on MalediZione !, where too often one hears some generic ‘Ahhhh!!’.

Performances are from 1956 under Gavazzeni and 1974 under Basile. It is not clear if they are from recitals or from complete performances (this is a cdr copied by a friend, so no notes). Any info on that?

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #464 on: September 08, 2019, 11:15:48 AM »
Here’s a YT clip of Vanzo’s A te o cara. Listen to the way the high C# blooms in the head voice. I get a brain feeeze every time I hear it. BTW Vanzo is the only tenor to sing it softly, all others I’ve heard attack it ff. I couldn’t find any source that showed dynamic marks here.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6L7m0JUJ_oo


I've finally listened to this clip. Wonderful - and I think those soft head notes are probably much closer to what Bellini might have expected in his day.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #465 on: September 08, 2019, 03:22:15 PM »
I've finally listened to this clip. Wonderful - and I think those soft head notes are probably much closer to what Bellini might have expected in his day.

Rubini created the roles of Elvino (Sonnambula) and Arturo, so I would think that Bellini expected a tenore di grazia voice. The Wiki entry seems to confirm this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenore_di_grazia.

Vanzo is the real ticket here. It seems plain crazy that he would be the only tenor to sing the aria in the correct way. YT has a « A te o cara C# contest » that includes about 20 takes on that note, all taken ff. Vanzo is not included in it... ???

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RWOpbB1E-6E

It takes some fortitude - and a double scotch - to go through it all  >:D.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #466 on: September 09, 2019, 10:53:23 PM »


Essential listening, I'd venture to suggest, even for those who already have the Philips Originals box set I reviewed a few months ago. Here we have the whole of Baker's 1977 Beethoven and Schubert recital, of which three items appear on the Philips box, coupled to the Mozart items from her 1974 Mozart and Haydn recital, none of which do.

The prize of this CD is Dame Janet's superb rendering of Sesto's arias from La Clemenza di Tito. Not only is it a technical tour de force, the rapid triplet figures at the end of Parto, parto tossed off with breathtaking ease, but the range of expression is extraordinary and personal. I have never heard another singer differentiate so much between the repeated cries of Guardami!; in the first she pleads almost angrily, but in the second her tone changes completely, becoming meltingly beseeching, as if Sesto realises he has gone too far. Furthermore she has the ability to get to the emotional core of the music without ever disrupting its Classical style. Pure genius.

Elsewhere she is in enviable form in a programme that ranges wide, including rarities like Beethoven's No, non turbati and arias from Schubert's Lazarus and Alfonso und Estrella. Leppard's accompaniments, whether conducting the English Chamber Orchestra or on the piano or harpsichord are discreet rather than revelatory, perhaps happy, with such a patrician artist, to let his soloist take the lead.

The recordings, originally made for Philips in quadrophonic sound, are here issued in SACD, though I was listening in simple stereo. They are wonderfully clear and lucid.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas