Discussion of historic singers: Francesco Merli, Giuseppe De Luca, Richard Tauber, Conchita Supervía, etc.
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as critic Michael Scott put it "a baby born in a stable is not a horse" implying that as in the case of Werther here for example you don´t necessarily have to be French born to catch the style of the music and the essence of the character. I find the Russians to be able to relate to this more easily somehow (Sobinov, Rogatchevsky or Smirnov come to mind in the French repertory), I find Italians singing French opera in Italian to mostly sound a bit heavy-handed sand overly extrovert, though they try hard as does Bergonzi here. Lazzari fares a little better, but none makes it sound so utterly natural and effortless and catch the poetry as Tito Schipa - though past his vocal prime - does.
I think I agree with you. French is not the easiest of languages for non-French singers so if I may, I would like to offer a yardstick by way of the superb Alain Vanzo. Non-French voices would do well to listen (and learn) from this exponent of elegant singing in French (his own language of course).
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