Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

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Pantenor
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Re: Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

Postby Pantenor » 07 Jan 2016, 20:37

Do you think that if we inverted the issue it would stay the same? Imagine historic singers were recorded on modern equipment and modern singers on old equipment? And imagine that the modern singers would be the historic ones and vice versa. Would we still laud the historic and complain about modern singers? I think there are so many great modern singers. Florez shouldn't sing Rossini's Otello perhaps, but he sure is at home at most of Rossini, and quite frankly, better than anyone else I've heard on record.

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Aureliano
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Re: Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

Postby Aureliano » 07 Jan 2016, 21:04

There are in fact many explanations, a number of which have been touched upon by people here. Certainly recording equipment and the recording process in general makes a difference. Certainly vocal technique is not the same (for the most part) although many voice instructors in modern times will claim the contrary. Aesthetic preferences have changed; even the demands on the singer have changed - with respect to travel, the kinds of roles that are essayed, the expectations of directors, conductors and the like. I would argue, however, that certain opera singers today (if they were so inclined) could make recordings on old gramophone technology and may indeed be able to satisfy the nostalgia-holics amongst us. Certain harmonics are enhanced and a lot of non-harmonic noise and breathiness is not picked up in the old recording process. Of course, I don't want to be an apologist for modern technique. I think for the most part vocal production has shifted very dramatically away from the traditions of the Italian school of singing personified by teachers such as Cotogni, and towards a looser, "warmer", more personal kind of voice that appeals more to the lay person. Which is a great shame because the 'miracle' of the operatic voice is precisely that alchemy of bell like squillo that can seem so inhuman, and yet can carry with it so much musical expression.

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shutko
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Re: Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

Postby shutko » 07 Jan 2016, 21:45

Aureliano wrote:There are in fact many explanations, a number of which have been touched upon by people here. Certainly recording equipment and the recording process in general makes a difference. Certainly vocal technique is not the same (for the most part) although many voice instructors in modern times will claim the contrary. Aesthetic preferences have changed; even the demands on the singer have changed - with respect to travel, the kinds of roles that are essayed, the expectations of directors, conductors and the like. I would argue, however, that certain opera singers today (if they were so inclined) could make recordings on old gramophone technology and may indeed be able to satisfy the nostalgia-holics amongst us. Certain harmonics are enhanced and a lot of non-harmonic noise and breathiness is not picked up in the old recording process. Of course, I don't want to be an apologist for modern technique. I think for the most part vocal production has shifted very dramatically away from the traditions of the Italian school of singing personified by teachers such as Cotogni, and towards a looser, "warmer", more personal kind of voice that appeals more to the lay person. Which is a great shame because the 'miracle' of the operatic voice is precisely that alchemy of bell like squillo that can seem so inhuman, and yet can carry with it so much musical expression.
Yes it would be extremely interesting hearing modern singers on historic recording software, but great singing is great singing and I would like to believe that the recording software has nothing to do with it. There are tenors that have lived long enough to migrate to modern technology that still pack a punch (forgot the proper word) in their recordings like Corelli or Giacomini. I think I read somewhere that many tenors now cover their entire voices (not sure if Florez does), as opposed to historical singers who covered less. While this may maintain and make a more accessible voice, it makes the singer less personable.

And of course with the introduction of Caruso who centralized singing we lost a lot of the national styles of vocality like the Gallic voices of Vezzani or Scaremberg as opposed to the quiver of De Lucia in Italy and of course the many singers that were entirely unaffected by Caruso after his reign like Schipa, Martinelli, or Pertile.

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LaGioconda
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Re: Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

Postby LaGioconda » 09 Jan 2016, 12:08

Nonde wrote:Tell me a pre-50's tenor who can beat Juan Diego Florez in Rossini...
Fernando De Lucia, Giovanni Manurita, De Muro Lomanto, Dino Borgioli, Cesare Valletti, etc and then there are the Tells...

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shutko
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Re: Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

Postby shutko » 09 Jan 2016, 17:57

LaGioconda wrote:
Nonde wrote:Tell me a pre-50's tenor who can beat Juan Diego Florez in Rossini...
Fernando De Lucia, Giovanni Manurita, De Muro Lomanto, Dino Borgioli, Cesare Valletti, etc and then there are the Tells...
Very beautiful singers on this list, I definitely agree here...

a57se
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Re: Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

Postby a57se » 18 Jan 2016, 21:12

My Great Grandfatrher was an ENT at Columbia University at the turn of the Century (20th Century) and an amatuer Opera Singer. He wrote a text about voice production that was first published in 1915 entitled "The Natural Method of Voice Production in Speech and Song".
In it he describes the first attempt at Spectral Analysis of the voice (he enlisted the aid of a Columbia physicist to help him with this) and talks extensively about the technique of several opera singers from that time including Jean de Reske. He contrasts the sounds elicited using de Reskes' technique vs. the technique he advocated.
It is a very interesting read and is actually still in print as pedagogues today still find it useful I guess.

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LaGioconda
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Re: Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

Postby LaGioconda » 02 Feb 2016, 16:51

Yes it would be extremely interesting hearing modern singers on historic recording software, but great singing is great singing and I would like to believe that the recording software has nothing to do with it. There are tenors that have lived long enough to migrate to modern technology that still pack a punch (forgot the proper word) in their recordings like Corelli or Giacomini. I think I read somewhere that many tenors now cover their entire voices (not sure if Florez does), as opposed to historical singers who covered less. While this may maintain and make a more accessible voice, it makes the singer less personable.
[/quote]


There has actually been such an experiment with Neil Shicoff who recorded something acoustically - must have been 15 years or so ago in Vienna.

One never heard about the outcome......................
Has somebody heard about it?

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Aureliano
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Re: Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

Postby Aureliano » 13 Feb 2016, 17:12

Was this mentioned above? --> there was a documentary made in the UK with Villazon at the helm, and in that video he records his voice on gramophone technology and the results are very telling. While it didn't hide all his flaws, it did make his voice astonishingly more clarion and chiaroscuro when listening back to the result. I am sure the video is on youtube, for those interested.

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shutko
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Re: Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

Postby shutko » 17 Feb 2016, 19:14

Aureliano wrote:Was this mentioned above? --> there was a documentary made in the UK with Villazon at the helm, and in that video he records his voice on gramophone technology and the results are very telling. While it didn't hide all his flaws, it did make his voice astonishingly more clarion and chiaroscuro when listening back to the result. I am sure the video is on youtube, for those interested.
Someone mentioned it was Florez who did that stunt. I would like to hear it, though I don't expect it being an actual rule on the issue.

CVAULT1
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Re: Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

Postby CVAULT1 » 22 Feb 2016, 17:12

Some years ago, Roberto Alagna recorded some stuff by way of an acoustic horn. The difference in sound is pretty apparent....that's why it's not too fair to judge artists of the "scream into the horn" generation by their not-quite-accurate recordings.


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