Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Crooning Puccini

I was in my friendly neighborhood Borders looking for items to order on Netflix ("Il bacio di Tosca"), and suddenly someone was crooning "Recondit armonia" from Tosca. I gave an involuntary shudder, and wondered who it might be. I thought, after reading Alex Ross, what if we had no idea how Caruso sang this, or Pavarotti, or even Salvatore Licitra? Would we be ok with the idea that someone sang "Tosca, sei tu" as though he were Dean Martin? Or someone from your high school?

In the past styles of singing changed, and since no one knew what they had been before, they thought nothing of it. There is even a theory that Rossini gave up composing because he simply couldn't stand that pushed up tenor sound that suddenly became popular. He liked a lighter sound.

What about a Tosca production with Josh Groban and Sarah Brightman, with mikes and the whole nine yards? Would we old timers give up opera forever?

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