Friday, May 27, 2011

Ten who didn't make the cut

These are ten excellent singers who didn't make the list of 14 for one reason or another. In the previous list all, with the exception of Cecilia, emphasize opera over all other styles of performance. Cecilia has invented an entirely different style of career from anyone we've seen before. She pretty much does whatever she wants and attracts audiences by virtue of her powerful musical personality. It was appropriate that Limelight chose her face for the cover.

  • Roberto Alagna is really strictly an opera singer and never ventures out into other repertoire (this means other classical repertoire). He is that rare thing, a French tenor very much immersed in the Italian style. His career is enjoying a resurgence because he appears to be exactly what Peter Gelb is looking for as his leading man for French operas such as Carmen and Romeo et Juliette. He looks good in closeups but falls out of the top group because he occasionally sings out of tune.

    • It is hard to understand why the tenor Marcello Giordani isn't more famous. After all, he is a true Italian tenor. We've seen him in Simon Boccanegra, Turandot, La damnation de Faust and Ernani where he has brought us fine performances, but our heart has not skipped any beats. His voice and his style are first class, but he misses only the divine inspiration. Perhaps he should try the Bjoerling trick where he pretends to be about to lose it, adding the element of danger.

    • I'm quite fond of the dramatic soprano Maria Guleghina who is famous for performing the impossible roles of Turandot, Abigaille, and Lady Macbeth. Someone has to do it, and she manages this extremely heavy repertoire without showing any vocal stress. For me she delivers where others fail, but her style of heavy soprano is not in favor now.

    • The coloratura mezzo Vivica Genaux is gorgeous and charming, has wonderful technique, looks good on the stage, but has no madness.  If one simply is not mad, where is one to find it?

    • Matthias Goerne is a marvelous German baritone who has made his name in Lieder.  If he wishes to rise any further, he would need to excel in some opera repertoire.  I fall in and out of love with him.  Perhaps this is as far as he will rise.

      • Susan Graham is wonderful but similarly lacking in madness. 

      • Véronique Gens is a French soprano of the very French lyrical sort.  This can absolutely not be viewed as a criticism, but French singers are always at a disadvantage. 

      • Lyric soprano Christine Schaefer is not lacking in madness.  I will make the wild guess that she is exactly where she wishes to be, admired for her creativity and musicianship and not for her ability to seem just like everyone else.  She has the most wide ranging career of any singer active today.

      • Baritone Erwin Schrott is continuing to rise.  It is too soon to predict how far he will go.

      • Dramatic soprano Nina Stemme has only just begun her rise.  Her Walküre Brünnhilde was marvelous, and there is no reason she will not become the outstanding Wagnerian of her generation.  She approaches Wagner from a new direction, a direction for our times, and will make him her own.
      There are probably a lot of people who could go into a list like this, people whom we love to hear, but do not love quite enough.

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