Thursday, July 10, 2008

Italian tenors

My friend R says that Americans prefer Pavarotti, but Italians very much prefer Domingo. I speculated that this was because Domingo is a dramatic tenor and Pavarotti was a lyric tenor.

In Italy the ideal is still for the heavy, dramatic tenor. The artistic ideal seems to be Mario del Monaco. They want plenty of squillo. I hear this preference in the singing of Giuseppe Filianoti, the Edgardo in Lucia, and Luca Canoncici, the tenor in Traviata on Tuesday. Now I have nothing against a little squillo, but neither one of these guys has a voice that could be called a dramatic tenor.

I want more than squillo. I want the tenor to be able to sing a long phrase without running out of breath or going off pitch as they get toward the end. I want music, not just sound. Is this too much to ask?

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