Who are the great Verdian sopranos of our age?

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Who are the great Verdian sopranos of our age?

While it is easy to name the great Verdian sopranos from the 50s through to the 70s on record.  The 80's was always considered something of a wasteland.  Yet I was listening to the Levine Aida with Aprile Millo the other day and have also recently watched I Vespri Siciliani with Susan Dunn.  It occurred to me that they were pretty great although shortlived and we don't have such wonderful Verdian sopranos anymore.  Am I missing them?  Does anyone know of any great Verdian sopranos around today and whether they have any recordings?

RE: Who are the great Verdian sopranos of our age?

Martin,

a very good question. I'm racking my brains and can only come up with Sondra Radvanovsky, an excellent soprano in Verdi roles, rather than what I'd call a "Verdi soprano", a prerequisite for me being a certain "ping" in the sound, a good forward, open Italianate placement allied, of course, to a superb instrument. Radvanovsky is very good indeed, but I miss the "ping".

There are always exceptions to the rule (Leontyne Price didn't have an Italianate voice, but is unquestionably one of the great Verdi sopranos, and Callas is always hors concours), but I fear the classic school of Arangi-Lombardi / Cigna / Tebaldi / Cerquetti / Scotto may have shut up shop forever. The argument about national styles versus international standardisation rears its head again. (But I do not forget Milanov and Caballe, two non-Italian paragons).

Callas has a lot to answer for here. It isn't her fault, but the fashion for "chest upwards" rather than "head downwards" production began with her, and Radvanovsky, to my ears, follows this trend. She has a new Verdi recital out on Delos. I'm expecting my copy to arrive any day now, though it is available as a download.

And while we're on it, where are the Verdi spinto tenors? I haven't heard a decent Radames or Manrico in years!

Rob

RE: Home

Hi Martin and Rob,

I do like Angela Gheorghiu's disc of "Verdi Heroines" quite a lot.  And have her heard in a broadcast of "La Traviata" which I enjoyed.  I have some other discs of Verdi arias which I will take a look at later to jog my memory, but I know what you mean.

And as regards the tenors, I'm having a hard time finding someone who upon listening to them sing, sends thrilling shivers down my back (in terms of current artists).  I KNOW that they must be out there somewhere!  Maybe I haven't been doing enough listening lately to enough current recordings/broadcasts?  Last night, I put on a two cd set of Dietrich-Fischer Dieskau.  There were two tracks from "Don Carlo".  Ah the duets with Carlo Bergonzi!  What a wonderful baritone and tenor combo!

And Rob, I too have enjoyed Ms. Radvanovsky's singing (heard over the Met broadcasts). :)  Please let me know how you like that disc?

Best wishes,

Petra

 

 

 

RE: Who are the great Verdian sopranos of our age?

Dunn was short lived.  Millo made her debut in 1984 at the Met and sang until 1998 every season. Still singing now, and as of Nov. 2009 really quite impressive still.  There is no one I like today with the right size and style.  Those mentioned are lyrics and  or sing well but out of tune.

RE: Who are the great Verdian sopranos of our age?

Hi all - couldn't resist commenting on this one. I know exactly what is meant by that precise Italianate sound. I think AG gets pretty close. It's also perhaps worth pointing out that the sopranos who had that Verdi sound weren't always the finest singers (think of Herva Nelli for Toscanini, or even Zinka Milanov). The closest I think we have had for a while is Daniela Dessi, but anyone who has heard the recent Pappano Verdi Requiem will have heard a superb performance by Anja Harteros. I think she has it all, including the occasionally slightly acidic edge that true Verdian sopranos tend to have. By coincidence I'm watching her on a DVD as I type, but in a Wagner opera (Lohengrin). For tenors, I think we're in a very exciting time, but that's meat for another post... 

 

All the  best,

James 

RE: Who are the great Verdian sopranos of our age?

Hi Martin - yes, she wasn't right for Gilda, but Don Carlo is much more her thing. By the way, among the many promising Verdians to have briefly arrived and then seemingly disappeared, it's worth remembering the Tebaldi-like NIna Rautio, an exceptionally fine Aida at Covent Garden (though Cheryl Studer did the film of that production). I don't think she recorded any Verdi, but there is some Puccini - a good Manon Lescaut under Maazel.

All the best,

James

RE: Who are the great Verdian sopranos of our age?

I too like Nina Rautio's voice on the Manon Lescaut. Where did she go? There are some fine voices out there who could be described as Verdi sopranos. I'm thinking of Galina Gorchakova, Krassimira Stoyanova, Violetta Urmana and yes, Angela Georghiu in lighter Verdi roles.

RE: Who are the great Verdian sopranos of our age?

James wrote:

...it's worth remembering the Tebaldi-like Nina Rautio, an exceptionally fine Aida at Covent Garden...

Thanks for the reminder.  I was sure I had something of hers and then discovered that she sang some great Puccini on the Puccini Experience CD along with Gheorghiu, Johan Botha and Anthony Michaels-Moore conducted by Edward Downes.  This is something I hadn't listened to in years so it was good to discover it again.

I also looked on You Tube and found not only audio clips of Rautio's Aida but her Abigaille!!!  Perhaps that's why she was so short lived.  Nabucco does seem to "kill off" sopranos.  Interestingly from these clips she sounds more mezzo than spinto - a little like Rosalind Plowright who was fleetingly brilliant in Verdi.  

Incidentally the Nabucco at Covent Garden, 14 years ago, was Vladimir Jurowski's debut there.  I never thought he was that old!!    

RE: Who are the great Verdian sopranos of our age?

Google Jasmina Halimic. She recently performed Verdi's requiem here in Charleston and the voice is a genuine spinto voice. I haven't heard anyone in recent years who sounds like that. I heard Angela Gheorghiu's Tosca live at ENO and the voice is too small. This gal is the real deal. 

SouthernSid

RE: Who are the great Verdian sopranos of our age?

SouthernSid wrote:

Google Jasmina Halimic. She recently performed Verdi's requiem here in Charleston and the voice is a genuine spinto voice. I haven't heard anyone in recent years who sounds like that. I heard Angela Gheorghiu's Tosca live at ENO and the voice is too small. This gal is the real deal. 

Sid, I assume you mean the ROH not the ENO. I'm not sure if you concluded from the Tosca that her voice was too small for the big Verdi roles. I (and I suspect she) would agree with that, but it's certainly not a small voice and big enough for Tosca, even though she doesn't convince me in that role for other reasons.

I'll try your recommendation. The name I'd offer up is Sondra Radvanovsky - a beautiful and big voice with, to my ears, a great sense of Verdian line.

 

JKH

Yes, the Royal. Thanks for

Yes, the Royal. Thanks for the correction. She was sensational but I wouldn't classify her as a spinto. Netrebko's voice, on the other hand, has deepened enough in recent years and she could now probably sing meatier Verdi repertoire.

SouthernSid

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