a57se wrote:Caruso was 'vulgar' to those who held the aesthetic prevalent in the late 19th century but not necessarily to those who were shaping the music of the day, namely Verdi, Puccini etc. You, tifosobonisolli, seem to hold the same aesthetic. That is your individual taste and I respect that. I don't share your taste.
Sorry indeed, but this would mean making your life too easy. It's not all a matter of taste! It *is* a matter of taste whether you call Caruso's (or Paoli's, or Ruffo's) singing "vulgar" or whether you prefer a gentler wording. It's *not* a matter of taste but a simple fact that Caruso's messa di voce, his top range, his voix mixte, his coloratura could not compare with his relevant contemporaries, and it's *not* a matter of taste that this deterioration of vocal technique reduced the possibilities of nuanced musical expression. It *is* again a matter of taste if you say "I prefer that inferior vocal technique as long as it comes with Caruso's vocal acting and his histrionic (as opposed to musical) expressivity". And it's *not* a matter of taste but plain wrong to claim that "Verdi, Puccini etc." advocated Caruso's and not de Lucia's or Anselmi's or Escalaïs' vocal culture. You're partly right for Puccini, who occupied a middle position in that respect; you're wrong for, as I explained earlier, Mascagni (one of the etceteras), whose model tenor de Lucia was (same goes, by the way, for Leoncavallo); and you are totally wrong for Verdi, for whom even de Lucia would have been a far too modern ("vulgar"?) singer.
As far as preferring inferior vocal technique plus more exciting vocal acting to the standard of the late 19th century (singing close to perfection, interpretation close to noninvolvement), that's of course a legitimate position, and other than what you assume, I'm in many ways inclined towards that position, too, my personal "Golden Age" being the 1920s and 1930s. (Though I admittedly prefer singers, and there were dozens and dozens of them, who did both the singing and the vocal acting better than Caruso. It just isn't necessary to push and bite the tones so as to give an adequate portray of a role - just think of names like Schipa, Muzio, Inghilleri, Endrèze, Kozlovskij, Wittrisch, Gigli, Baugé, Pernet, Domgraf-Fassbaender, Bohnen, Reizen, Supervia... I could go on with that list forever. It is true, however, that vocal acting comes at the extent of vocal refinement TO A CERTAIN EXTENT. But measuring - and limiting!! - that extent is the crucial question...) Actually, I can even enjoy many post-WWII recordings. I just wouldn't dream of negating that the vast majority of post-WWII singers (and in fact many post-Caruso singers, already prior to WWII) were/are vocally vulgar (or however you prefer to name it gently), even though I may enjoy or even adore them. They sure have other qualities, and your or my personal taste may value those qualities higher. But that doesn't make the concerned singers' legato or coloratura the teeniest bit better.