Saturday, March 07, 2009

Aria di Doretta

She was the best. I'm so glad this recording of Leontyne Price Rediscovered is out.

Well. Someone is "devastated" that I like this. La Rondine is definitely opera semi-seria, as they say in Gramophone. At a party Magda's guest poet has begun a poem, but has no ending. Magda listens to the song and then presents her own version with her own romantic ending. The song is a party piece, an entertainment.

I never critique based on technique, but Price in this piece is displaying her technique at its finest. This is how she sang. The context for this particular performance is an encore for a Carnegie Hall recital. The style is completely suitable for the piece and the context.

Renée, Angela and Kiri all do fine versions.

Renée likes to sing really slow.

It would be a serious challenge to top this version by Angela Gheorghiu.

This version by Kiri is wonderful.

But Leontyne is my girl. It can't be helped: she was my first.


Kaire said...

Why? Why is she the best?? There is no focus on the relevant high pitches, instead these pitches are masked by vibrato - pitch-wise the general impression is of floating instead of focusing. And it's rushed, way too fast. I am devastated of your opinion on the perfect performance of "Ch'il bel sogno di Doretta." P.S. Of course I am biased. P.P.S. I love your blog. Signed by: a 31-year old musicologist about to defend PhD on Arvo Pärt, yet hopelessly in love with Puccini. (Huge contradiction, yes!)

Dr.B said...

How interesting. Good luck, by the way. I'm getting nervous just thinking about it.
Perhaps I should put my reasons in the blog entry. And what are you biased in favor of?

Anonymous said...

I want this aria to be gently flowing (as opposed to getting it quickly over with). After all it is a telling of a story. I want the voice to have depth, implicit agenda perhaps, since the protagonist, Magda, has apparently given much thought to the course of action in this story. Often dreamed about it? In other words: when listening I want to perceive that this aria is light only on the outside ("oh, it's just a story I'm telling you, I'm just making it up for you"), and at the same time be assured that there is more to it for the character who is telling this story. And that "double-act" has to be conveyed through the voice. Fleming does it, and so does Gheorghiu.

Dr.B said...

My own experience of this aria would have begun with Leontyne's (it's on the blue album) and then proceeded to Kiri's. Both are performing it out of context as vocal show pieces, much as "O mio babbino caro" is performed. Angela's performance in San Francisco was my first viewing of the whole opera. As a role Angela owns this.
I favor the idea that each artist finds her own way.