Best rendition of Visione Veneziana: Siepi?

Discussion of contemporary singers: Jonas Kaufmann, Juan Diego Flórez, Anna Netrebko, etc.
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Best rendition of Visione Veneziana: Siepi?

Postby Pawelot » 09 Jan 2016, 13:20

This hauntingly beautiful Italian song is one of my favorites. Siepi's sumptuous voice naturally imbues it with the romantic melancholy it requires and the tempo is just right. This is one of those songs that just doesn't sound right sung by higher voices. Only baritones with dark timbres can get away with it, and tenors sound rather silly. Even Di Stefano's beautiful timbre cannot redeem how odd it sounds in high voice. Perhaps if sung softer it could be better. Di Stefano's rendition is also more speedboat than gondola. Who knows of a rendition can top Siepi's?

Grandi cumuli di rose,
di giun chiglie, di verbene,
di gerani e tuberose,
la mia gondola contiene,

Essa fifa nell'aurora
che sorride sul canale,
che i palazzi grigi sfiora
col suo bacio d'immortale.

Presso ad una testa bionda
che frale verbene affonda
e di rosa s'in corona
il mio capo s'abbandona.

E la gondola ci culla
tutti e due soave mente;
ma la pallida fanciulla nulla
vede e nulla sente.

Chiuse son al lunghe ciglia
sovra il mattutino;
ella sembra una giunchiglia
sotto il cielo cilestrino.

Nel l'aurora fra gli odori
dei bei cumuli di fiori
questa gondola mi porta,
con la mia diletta, morte.

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Re: Best rendition of Visione Veneziana: Siepi?

Postby Jimlejim » 09 Jan 2016, 18:16

Boring song. Not enough high notes. :D
Tenor freak. :D

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Re: Best rendition of Visione Veneziana: Siepi?

Postby TifosoBonisolli » 10 Jan 2016, 00:33

It may be difficult to top Siepi in terms of sheer beauty of tone production. But frankly, certain objections against his interpretation of "Visione veneziana" can be made. It's actually a teeny bit boring :) - because it's too obviously sad from the very beginning. The secret about interpreting "Visione veneziana", in my opinion, is that the song must seemingly be all about sun, youth, beauty... and when it comes to the girl, you must be sure that she is just sleeping. The singer must fool you to the very end. And the end must come as a bone-deep shock: "morta". No shock in Siepi's version, there's nothing left to scare you: his lachrymose, introvert mood has made everything clear, much earlier.

What's the best version for my ears has not been online: a live rendition by the immortal Muslim Magomaev - although two other versions sung by him are already available on Youtube (and although those two are fine, as well), I think this particular interpretation is clearly superior. I've now uploaded it on Youtube for you:

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Re: Best rendition of Visione Veneziana: Siepi?

Postby Pawelot » 10 Jan 2016, 01:27

I have a very hard time getting accustomed to his voice in this song, but I do hear the artistic merit you describe and I appreciate it to some extent. However, it's too croony and parlando in the verse for me and too outward in the chorus. The gondola needs legato. ;) I am not sure the type of contrast you seek is necessary, or is needed in a rendition like Siepi's. It's sufficiently dreamy and not just sad, while the descent in pitch does its work in the end. So I feel Magomaev overdoes it. Still, it's interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Best rendition of Visione Veneziana: Siepi?

Postby LaGioconda » 02 Feb 2016, 16:47

I like the song a lot.

Also find the very young Di Stefano doing a most charming and intimate version of it. - Don´t mind the high voice here.

Late Ruffo is impressive, too - in a very different way. I also like Afro Poli´s rather intimate and more "medium-sized" version.

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