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Coloraturi judahis
Fri May 4 2001 12:31
I am seeking to get CDs of some of the coloaraturi of the mid 1900's, i.e, especially Mado Robin and Bidu Sayao. Anyone know where? Several web searches have proven fruitless. I have one Mado Robin CD from LaserLight and one Bidu Sayao, the latter must have been well along in her career, since she "chickens" on the high notes and hides an octave lower. (I read that her manager tried to shield her for much of her career from hitting "too many" high notes). Any fans out there of these two? Any modern colaraturi tht anyone can recommend that can come close to these two? Just for fun: who was "better", Sutherland or Callas? I like Callas for her range, her rich timbre, and her histrionic acting, and Sutherland for her powerful high notes. Any comments by others? Also Sutherland seems to be difficult to find out there on CD - a lot more Callas. Anyone know where more sources for Sutherland on CD? While I am at it, there also seems to be a dearth of DiStefano CD's. Anyone out there know of a good source? For my money, no one comes close to the intensity of DiStefano (except Lanzo in his earlier years). Pavarotti admires him greatly.
re: Coloraturi lacroix44
Tue May 8 2001 20:39
It should be pretty easy to find recordings of Bidu Sayao - The Columbia Masterworks Heritage Series had two, terrific Sayao CD releases. The first included her very famous Villa-Lobos recording, the second recording included Opera Arias and also featured Debussy's "La damoisselle elue." While I know that Sony Classical has pulled the plug on this fine series, you should be able to find copies of these two CDs in any venue that sells used CDs.

Also,there are also endless sources for Opera performances with Sayao. As I don't know where you live, I cannot advise you where to look or call. Give me an idea of region - I can e-mail you sites to check out or places to call.
re: Coloraturi Julian Thake
Thu May 31 2001 21:30
On the Sutherland/Callas issue, Callas for me every time. Sutherland may have made a more beautiful sound for much of the time, but I'm afraid that to my ears she couldn't act her way out of a paper bag. With Callas one always got a true artistic experience (even if not a uniformly pleasant one) and, in fact, a good deal more beautiful sound than it seems fashionable to credit her with these days.

Small linguistic point - to be correct, the Italian plural of "coloratura" is actually "colorature". Better, I feel, to stick to the English plural form and put an "s" on the end when English is the language in use!
re: Coloraturi J Hill
Sat Jun 2 2001 14:03
Indeed, "coloraturi" had me thinking of Farinelli & co. when I saw it. Finding CDs for them really would be something.
re: Coloraturi sarahm
Thu Jun 7 2001 23:18
You can find a lot a wonderful work by Stefano in complete operas with Callas. I've only seen one or two cds with just Stefano in Vancouver.

Callas over Sutherland any day! There's a great new dvd from EMI of Callas in Paris in 1958 singing parts of Norma, Il Trovatore and Tosca.

re: Coloraturi mcintosh
Wed Jun 13 2001 13:17
Hi all and how do you do
Lovely conversation. A similar one on Callas and Sutherland happened here in Luzern Switzerland recently - went in to the early hours without being resolved:-)
For my opinion it's Sutherland every time because of a thirty year career and the way she and Richard Bonynge developed her voice and the repertoire over the years. She is still working (judging competitions) and have you read her autobiography? It is a wonderful book and also for young singers there could not be a more authoritative source for making your way through the world.
Lots of CDs of both Callas and Sutherland in London so an online version of anything should find them.
Let's keep this one going!
Best wishes
re: Coloraturi Julian Thake
Wed Jun 13 2001 22:18
OK, Jane, for the sake of keeping things going then - what "development" do you hear in Sutherland? I hear pretty much the same (admittedly beautiful) tone from one decade to the next, one role to the next - no characterisation worth the name. What in your view have I - and apparently the majority of us on here - missed?
re: Coloraturi mcintosh
Sun Jun 17 2001 05:19
Hello again
Oh this is going to be fun!

First of all, may I say that I have a slight problem referring to these two magnificent women by their surnames. Sometimes the respect we owe to these musicians gets a bittie lost. I think of Dame Joan Sutherland OM, AC, DBE as such and would probably stand up (as some people do for the Queen) if she ever walked in the room. Obviously canít do that for Maria Callas but I would if I could. That said, I use the forum standard and revert to Sutherland and Callas and get down to this delicious business.

Carrying on the respect theme. Let us remember that Sutherland once sang Clotilde to Callasís Norma. From what they both actually appear to have said (as opposed to what newspapers said they said) they had mutual respect for each other as musicians.

Words are not going to do all that much in this discussion and as we all like to listen as well as discuss I suggest we let the music take us forward. So I suggest we compare two of Sutherlandís recordings as a real basis for debate.

But first I ask you some questions to try to set an agenda of sorts. I ask:

Who else could sing Handel, Mozart and Verdi as easily as the coloratura requirements of the soprano leggero?
Who was ever as faithful to the music she sang?
Who had such a vocal strength across such a range?
Can you fault her technique - ever?
Have you ever failed to recognize her voice?

So, if we are going to be serious then I ask you, dear reader, to listen to two CDs - one is Deccaís Grandi Voci CD of 1959, 1960 and 1964 recordings with the Royal Opera House, the London Symphony Orchestra (when Richard Bonynge conducted) and the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra with Nello Santi. (A note on Santi - I saw him recently conducting Falstaff at the Zurich Opera House. Someone had left their mobile phone on and it rang - to the astonishment of all of us, as Zurich really is better than that. Santi waited until the end of the scene and then turned, majestically to request the audience to pay the respect due to the musicians by switching off their mobile phones. The house erupted in applause.)

Anyway, the point being about this first recording. It was made just after Sutherland had wowed London with her Lucia at Covent Garden (17 February 1959). Then if you take that CD and compare it with the Pasadena Concert in 1975, accompanied by Richard Bonynge on piano - I think we have a great basis for continuing this wee discussion! If you want to take it seriously that is:-)

Very best wishes to you all.
re: Coloraturi Julian Thake
Sun Jun 17 2001 10:39
I sense a challenge!

As a preliminary point, I agree in principle about referring to people by their surnames only. To my mind it's a particularly invidious practice in a political context, where its implied disrespect coarsens the tone needlessly even if one strongly disagrees with the person referred to. Here, however, I see it as merely a convenient shorthand - no disrespect meant to Dame Joan or anyone else.

Which brings me to the matter in hand. I do not have those recordings so I'll see about giving them a listen sometime. Meanwhile, however, I would say that the clue to my answer lies in the very wording of your questions. If one picks out some key words from them - "easily", "strength", "technique" - one sees both the admitted high points of the "Sutherland experience" and the reasons why I would prefer Mme.Callas every time. I would always prefer "authentically", "heart" and "characterisation" respectively and, to my ears - which, I freely admit, have no claim to universality but which do seem to have allies here - one gets these qualities from Callas but not from Sutherland.

You see, the one point on which, from my listening so far, I would respectfully but utterly disagree with you is that of faithfulness to the music. If by that you simply mean singing the right notes in the right order, then yes, Sutherland is magnificent. However, she has rarely (if ever) taken me beyond that level. By "faithfulness to the music" in an operatic context, I would mean not merely the notes but what lies between them. How to crystallise it? Character (or perhaps characterisation), humanity, emotional depth and truth. These I get from Callas in spades but from Sutherland in a blue moon.

Over to you! Correspondingly good wishes,

re: Coloraturi ibodysurf
Tue Oct 9 2001 04:44
Well, I'm coming into this late but I'm glad the question is still up for comment. On the Callas/Sutherland debate, aren't we glad we've had both? Of course. Do you really think that one singer sang every role better than the other, when they may have sung the same repertoire? I don't think so. Do we all hear the same sounds/drama as the other person? No.
But we can still have a favorite, can't we? Of course. Much of that depends on our experience, our age, what moves us at a particular time. I, for one, only aw Callas once, but at least I did see her on stage, even if she weren't in good voice. I saw most every role Sutherland sang from the late 60's on. I would go anywhwere I could afford to hear her. Why? For the SHEER GLORY OF SINGING! Almost no one has had the freedom and power of complete joy in the voice that Dame Joan could put forth. And not only joy! Listen to her Maria Stuarda and the "vile bastard daughter of Anne Bolyn" phrase! In one of the greatest phrases in opera, her first Traviata, listen to her plead "Amami Alfredo", with fuller, more passionate voice than anyone on record. It is SO rich. See Dame Joan RUN across the stage while singing the mad scene of Lucia. Hear her first recording "O beau pays" of Hugenots, to say nothing of the depth of voice in "Ocean, thou mighty monster" and the I masnadieri and Attila arias on her Verdi album. The VOICE! Listen to the extended voice in the final aria (forget the title) of Elixir.
Yes, Callas was wonderful, a dramatic and theatrical queen of the stage, and if the role called for that kind of personality, could anyone top her? (How about Suliotis in Nabucco or Anna Bolena? Yes I know she didn't sing it as carefully to the score, but if its drama you want ...)But Callas as an innocent, touching bel canto heroine? Sonnambula? No, doesn't make it.
So there's my two cents, but now I have to go. The library is closing. Hope I haven't upset anyone. We all love opera.

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