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

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TifosoBonisolli
Posts: 69
Joined: 05 Jan 2016, 23:47

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

Postby TifosoBonisolli » 08 Jul 2016, 00:22

You're right about people damaging their credibility by making unsubstantiated statements. For example, there are actually more than just a few who claim that Santa Claus doesn't really exist. Nothing could be farther from truth! Actually, I met him personally last December at my local shopping mall. He clearly stated that he was real, and I had no sensory reason to suspect that he was lying to me. He wore a red cape and a white beard and was all ho-ho-ho.

Seriously: this picture https://static01.nyt.com/images/2013/06 ... log427.jpg is from the Met's Traviata, the lady with the wire is Diana Damrau. The management swears those body microphones are just for radio transmissions, and you may of course *choose* to believe that, once again. Fred Plotkin, who is a very polite man, is not so sure about it as far as the Met is concerned, and he has trained ears and has obviously (like me) heard quite many performances in other theaters where the singers were miked beyond doubt: http://www.wqxr.org/#!/story/126369-mas ... crophones/ and http://www.wqxr.org/#!/story/306794-ope ... agic-mike/. I can't say anything about the San Francisco Opera since I've never been to San Francisco. But I've heard a performance at the Met not too long ago where the singers of both principal roles were *not* miked because they both had huge voices: Sondra Radvanovsky and Aleksandrs Antonenko in Norma. And you could instantly hear the difference to normal Met productions (as well as to the rest of the cast): the way the sound reverberated in the theater was totally different. And let me just add that the management (and lots of "experts") will also assure you that the Met has excellent acoustics and doesn't need any sound enhancement. But I prefer (choose, if you like) to believe Jerome Hines, who certainly had a big voice. And yet he said in a long interview that he once gave together with Franco Corelli (who didn't raise any objections, either), that the (new) Met has poor acoustics and is difficult to fill even for a trained voice. So how do you imagine that a singer like Richard Croft was able to sing Loge there? And he could be heard, I swear it! (This is also an example that sound engineers at opera theaters don't overdo it, at least not yet; Croft's voice still seemed small. But it was audible, which would border on a miracle without technical support.)

Here http://intermezzo.typepad.com/intermezz ... hones.html you have an opera singer admitting to microphones being used in two world-famous opera theaters. And last not least, a schoolmate of mine is an opera conductor, and among old friends like us, he says unceremoniously that *all* opera theaters are today miking singers. Well, he may be wrong. From my own experience, I'm convinced that the State Opera of Banská Bystrica (in central Slovakia) doesn't.

TifosoBonisolli
Posts: 69
Joined: 05 Jan 2016, 23:47

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

Postby TifosoBonisolli » 08 Jul 2016, 00:27

Ah yes! And as far as Flórez, you don't obvously know the recording (made from the auditorium) of his first Duca di Mantova, sung in Lima, where the audience heard him chat during the overture because somebody had by mistake already switched on his microphone while he still sat in his dressing room. He was also miked last season at the Vienna State Opera, both as Duca and as Roméo; it was particularly weird because in both cases, they chose to mike him only in certain scenes, so both his volume and the way his voice spread in the theater varied grossly from one scene to another.

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Jimlejim
Posts: 98
Joined: 04 Jan 2016, 05:50

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

Postby Jimlejim » 08 Jul 2016, 00:48

This miking business should get its own thread. Why can't they just build better acoustics? If the likes of Hines and Corelli could not always project in these theaters...
Tenor freak. :D

aulusagerius
Posts: 13
Joined: 19 Jan 2016, 14:10

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

Postby aulusagerius » 09 Jul 2016, 13:31

OK, TB, whatever......you win

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LaGioconda
Posts: 53
Joined: 05 Jan 2016, 13:43

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

Postby LaGioconda » 13 Jul 2016, 15:19

TifosoBonisolli wrote:Ah yes! And as far as Flórez, you don't obvously know the recording (made from the auditorium) of his first Duca di Mantova, sung in Lima, where the audience heard him chat during the overture because somebody had by mistake already switched on his microphone while he still sat in his dressing room. He was also miked last season at the Vienna State Opera, both as Duca and as Roméo; it was particularly weird because in both cases, they chose to mike him only in certain scenes, so both his volume and the way his voice spread in the theater varied grossly from one scene to another.
Singers are certainly miked for any transmission: cinema, radio, you name it. And the sound you hear in transmissions/radio/cinema is certainly worked on and will not be the very same as you hear live in house during the transmission. What is being transmitted is being enhanced and worked on: balance among singers, balance in the orchestra among the instruments, balance singers/orchestra. Some smaller voiced singers can be pumped up a bit.
What you hear in the actual performance is a different story. Just because singers wear microports does not automatically mean, that there is sound enhancement in or into the house, though there certainly is of what goes OUT. So these are two different issues really.
I, too, am absolutely sure that there are many houses who also work with sound enhancement in/into the house, but nobody will admit that, least of all the singers....

Geoff
Posts: 153
Joined: 07 Jan 2016, 17:17

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

Postby Geoff » 14 Jul 2016, 01:30

Quite honestly, I couldn't give two hoots if microphones are used. Audiences pay their hard earned money to hear the best that performers can give and these days, microphones are so good that if they assist artists to reach out to audiences, then what is wrong in that ? The careers of operatic singers are precarious enough as it is, so what is wrong with a little help ? If a singer is sufficiently powerful enough to be heard enough without a mcrophone, as some dinosaurs and armchair critics would demand, then fair enough but please don't expect it of everyone.. Do we really want our singers to sing one performance un-micked and then be unable to perform for a number of days afterwards ? Not I !!

Regards,
Geoff.

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shutko
Posts: 48
Joined: 05 Jan 2016, 18:24

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

Postby shutko » 28 Jul 2016, 21:36

I cannot stand for microphones, there is always a noticeable difference in sound when I hear voice through a microphone, I came to hear the raw sound of the human voice, without any kind of resonating filter. I would prefer companies to use a smaller theater if a singer is unable to project in a large one.

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LaGioconda
Posts: 53
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Re: Pre-50's versus post-50's singing

Postby LaGioconda » 29 Jul 2016, 15:08

Geoff wrote:Audiences pay their hard earned money to hear the best that performers can give and these days, microphones are so good that if they assist artists to reach out to audiences, then what is wrong in that ? Do we really want our singers to sing one performance un-micked and then be unable to perform for a number of days afterwards ? Not I !!.
But that´s wxactly the point, isn´t it? I want to hear the best that performers can give - the best THEY can give... without sound enhancement. And if a singer looses his voice after ONE performance without "help" to make himself heard - then he should please save us our money and look for another profession - or go back and restudy.

Jim
Posts: 63
Joined: 17 Mar 2016, 13:58

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

Postby Jim » 13 Aug 2016, 19:35

This is a very vexed question. My preference is for singers to be able to sing without amplification. They should certainly be trained to do so. Therefore if a singer sings one performance un-amplified and then cannot sing again as with Andrea Bocelli (even amplified) I very seriously question whether or not they should be singing the role. I would also question the capabilities of their teacher.
Having said that, there is a situation where looks often mean more than ability to sing a part, in a particular venue, and miking may be the only option. Certainly, nowadays, the number of singers being unsuitably cast is enormous.
I don't have to like it though.
Jim

antfreire
Posts: 17
Joined: 05 Jan 2016, 22:02

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

Postby antfreire » 09 Feb 2017, 14:29

I think the problem with the volume of the voice of certain singers is not so much the singer's voice as the times we are living in. Today there are opera theaters of the size that it would not be thought of in the "good old times" like some people want to call it. Also the orchestras are not of the size of the ones that used to accompany Rubini or Pasta, and even De Lucia and Maurel. That's why the style has changed so much, because today singing in the low middle range for some tenors would be impossible if there is not some pushing to make it audible. That is why the singing school of today calls for a much lower placement of the larynx and a more marked yawning singing position, ex. Corelli, Kaufmann. And this is not so new since it was first adopted at the beginning of the XX century by the likes of Caruso, Zenatello and others. So claiming that today singers are inferior to the singers of a century ago is like saying that today heavy weight boxers could not last one round to John L Sullivan.


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