Timbre of Alfredo Kraus: ugly or not?

Discussion of contemporary singers: Jonas Kaufmann, Juan Diego Flórez, Anna Netrebko, etc.
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Jimlejim
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Timbre of Alfredo Kraus: ugly or not?

Postby Jimlejim » 04 Jan 2016, 12:57

I've often heard from people that they find his timbre ugly, only willing to admit he was a great technician or elegant singer. I don't understand this. Even his voice isn't the prettiest, a good friend told me that Kraus sounded phenomenal live and I so I suspect it was a voice for the theater. Nevertheless, just listen to this and tell me his timbre is ugly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNwhHwFl_JE

Disclaimer: I love Alfredo Kraus. ;)
Tenor freak. :D

onionscd
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Re: Timbre of Alfredo Kraus: ugly or not?

Postby onionscd » 05 Jan 2016, 07:23

Never liked his voice. Not that his timbre was ugly, just that, in my ears he was a lightweight. I like my tenors to sound a little more robust: Bergonzi, Pavarotti - even Bjoerling had more weight. Of course, Kraus could hit high notes like nobody's business. But, to me there was no excitement to his high notes. Not the trumpeting sound, with lots of overtones which other tenors had or have.

My favorite (in his prime) was Bergonzi. His high notes were exciting. And, being a former baritone, he had some weight to his voice, from top to bottom.

SkibumTenor
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Re: Timbre of Alfredo Kraus: ugly or not?

Postby SkibumTenor » 05 Jan 2016, 09:57

I saw Kraus live at the Lyric Opera in Chicago in 1983 and was very impressed. He did not have the resonance of the good Italian and other Spanish tenors but it was not an ugly voice. He was heard very well in all areas of the house and he had a way of opening his voice up in the upper register that would fill every inch of the theater in a very thrilling manor.

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Jimlejim
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Re: Timbre of Alfredo Kraus: ugly or not?

Postby Jimlejim » 05 Jan 2016, 12:54

SkibumTenor wrote:I saw Kraus live at the Lyric Opera in Chicago in 1983 and was very impressed. He did not have the resonance of the good Italian and other Spanish tenors but it was not an ugly voice. He was heard very well in all areas of the house and he had a way of opening his voice up in the upper register that would fill every inch of the theater in a very thrilling manor.
Can you tell us more? I love to hear accounts from people who heard him live!
Tenor freak. :D

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Pawelot
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Re: Timbre of Alfredo Kraus: ugly or not?

Postby Pawelot » 05 Jan 2016, 13:01

The first recordings I heard from Kraus were from late in his career, and I did feel the voice wasn't very pleasing to the ear. A Dutch friend heard him live and said the voiced sounded very metallic and carried very well. I really started liking Kraus when I heard songs like Mediterráneo and generally his recordings from the 60's. I agree that the Les pêcheurs de perles stuff is hauntingly beautiful. His Je crois entendre rendition is in my top 3 renditions of that aria.

Here is the Mediterráneo rendition. The end is great.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qItQONBsxCU

Alvari
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Re: Timbre of Alfredo Kraus: ugly or not?

Postby Alvari » 05 Jan 2016, 14:15

I think Kraus' timbre wasn't rich or lavish, but it did have simplistic beauty much like Schipa's, especially in his earlier career like in the Traviata with Callas. In his later years I find his timbre a little dry for my personal taste, but I certainly aknowledge his greatness.

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shutko
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Re: Timbre of Alfredo Kraus: ugly or not?

Postby shutko » 05 Jan 2016, 18:30

I think the reason he was so popular in French repertoire is that his timbre appealed to French audiences much more than Italians. But in general no, his timbre was not very pretty and quite nasal, still a wonderful tenor though but the way he compared himself to Schipa was a bit too ambitious. :D :D :D Also a great singer doesn't exactly need a pretty voice there are many tenors with ugly voices, but are great vocal actors.

pagliaccio
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Re: Timbre of Alfredo Kraus: ugly or not?

Postby pagliaccio » 05 Jan 2016, 20:40

I never was a huge fan... He always forgot to remove his noseplugs, I think. (what are noseplugs? No idea)
It might sound good when singing french, though. To the french, anyway.

antfreire
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Re: Timbre of Alfredo Kraus: ugly or not?

Postby antfreire » 05 Jan 2016, 22:29

Kraus had a technique much of his own. He tried to place his voice behind his nose and make use of the resonance there. He did not produce a decent singer throughout his career of singing teacher which make me believe that, as Corelli once said, "I don't agree with the way he sings, but it has done well to him." I heard him live and the voice, although could be heard did not impressed me. His style and elegance were impecable.

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Jimlejim
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Re: Timbre of Alfredo Kraus: ugly or not?

Postby Jimlejim » 05 Jan 2016, 22:52

antfreire wrote:Kraus had a technique much of his own. He tried to place his voice behind his nose and make use of the resonance there. He did not produce a decent singer throughout his career of singing teacher which make me believe that, as Corelli once said, "I don't agree with the way he sings, but it has done well to him." I heard him live and the voice, although could be heard did not impressed me. His style and elegance were impecable.
If his style and elegance were impeccable, then why was Corelli not impressed? Did it have to be a huge voice?
Tenor freak. :D


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