What's the best voice you've heard live?

Discussion of contemporary singers: Jonas Kaufmann, Juan Diego Flórez, Anna Netrebko, etc.
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Lambert
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What's the best voice you've heard live?

Postby Lambert » 11 Jan 2016, 21:05

And why is it the best?

Geoff
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Re: What's the best voice you've heard live?

Postby Geoff » 11 Jan 2016, 23:26

How long is a piece of string ?
Regards,
Geoff.

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Aureliano
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Re: What's the best voice you've heard live?

Postby Aureliano » 23 Jan 2016, 17:09

Salvatore Fisichella, in his living room. I giggled like a little girl; then wept for joy.

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LaGioconda
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Re: What's the best voice you've heard live?

Postby LaGioconda » 02 Feb 2016, 16:45

I guess that would have to be Ramey in his prime, definitely some phrases of Gruberova. Christoff, though very late in his career.
A very late Bergonzi concert - as late as 2000 as a matter of fact. Not so much the voice as the spell of a singer. He sang a "Ah si ben mio" which made time stand still. Was an amazing experience.

Geoff
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Re: What's the best voice you've heard live?

Postby Geoff » 06 Feb 2016, 23:18

Jussi Bjorling, no doubt about it. I was 13 years old when I heard a recording of him singing 'Questa p quella'. I avidly collected his recordings from then on. For me, he is the king of tenors and always will be. Of course I later learned that he was spectacularly alcoholic which lead to two heart attacks and an early death. Even so, after all these years, for me he can do no wrong.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT09SI0LAjg
Regards,
Geoff.

oddjobman
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Re: What's the best voice you've heard live?

Postby oddjobman » 07 Feb 2016, 12:15

Aureliano wrote:Salvatore Fisichella, in his living room. I giggled like a little girl; then wept for joy.
I admire Fischella. For me, he is one of the most neglected tenors. He made his name as the replacement for Pavarotti in Il Puritani in Rome and he was called upon to do likewise in the Met. From what I have read, he did very well but was not asked to return. Does anyone know why he was never recalled?

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Aureliano
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Re: What's the best voice you've heard live?

Postby Aureliano » 07 Feb 2016, 19:17

His is a very interesting situation. Firstly, and I think this needs to be weighed heavily, he is a creature of comfort who really does not like to travel. He adores home, and he really preferred to stay singing in Italy, and very often in Palermo and Catania etc. as often as he could. Indeed, when you walk the halls of those houses you see his name everywhere, sometimes it seems on every second historic poster hanging on the wall.

That is not to say that if the Met wanted him to come back season after season that he would have turned them down. I don't know much about the Met situation. We do all know that there was big time competition in those years from some rather "important" tenors who enjoyed to carve out little monopolies for themselves.

There is also the issue of musicianship and stagemanship. I find Salvatore's musicianship and sense of style to be exemplary; but in truth, in reality, he was often at odds with conductors - almost following his own sense of style and tempo and not the musical directors. He would make a lot of mistakes when he sang. Live performances were not... shall we say: consistent from night to night.

I think for these reasons his career was more suited to the continent, and to Italy in particular. Unless you were a name/star like Placido or Corelli (for example) you had to fit into the kind of strict musical boxes the Met liked to create. I don't think Salvatore really fit in to that ethos.

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shutko
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Re: What's the best voice you've heard live?

Postby shutko » 07 Feb 2016, 22:24

This is particularly evident on recordings if one were to look up 'Fisichella' on youtube, they aren't the most flattering performances by modern standards (modern being with conductor direction rather than singer). They are definitely filled with merit, however, as the good performances are performed with ease. I could see how his style might be intrusive to the rules of the met... but certainly he is unfairly neglected.

oddjobman
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Re: What's the best voice you've heard live?

Postby oddjobman » 08 Feb 2016, 01:51

Aureliano wrote: We do all know that there was big time competition in those years from some rather "important" tenors who enjoyed to carve out little monopolies for themselves.
Another good tenor that suffered from the politics of opera is Gianfranco Cecchele. I read somewhere that he signed a contract with one of the big labels, only to find out that they will activate the contract only if Mario del Monaco do not take up the option of recording. Because of that he was tied down and could not work for other recording company. He was also involved in a fight with the La Scala management over an incident engineered by Domingo because the latter viewed him as a direct competitor. He took La Scala to court. It ended with him being banned from the major houses in Italy for a number of years.

If it wasn't for Youtube and the online private recording outlets, these great singers will never reach people like me who do not have the chance to hear them live.

oddjobman
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Re: What's the best voice you've heard live?

Postby oddjobman » 08 Feb 2016, 02:03

shutko wrote: I could see how his style might be intrusive to the rules of the met... but certainly he is unfairly neglected.
And he is a terrible actor which is another factor against him. Modern stagings and the Met in particular want singers who are good looking and can act to attract the 'younger' opera goers. Singing is not the most important factor in opera anymore as far as the Met is concerned. That is why we have the mediocre hyped as so-called 'superstars' of the modern era. The distinction between opera and musical is getting thinner and thinner by the day


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