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Review: ‘Semiramide’ Returns to the Met, Unglamorous but Excellent

Semiramide

  • NYT Critic’s Pick

By ZACHARY WOOLFEFEB. 20, 2018

 

 

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Angela Meade starring in the title role of “Semiramide,” as the queen who murders her husband and unwittingly tries to marry her son. Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

There is a quiet, noble experiment going on with the Metropolitan Opera’s first revival in 25 years of Rossini’s “Semiramide,” which opened on Monday and runs through March 17.

 

The Met has lately embraced bel canto works it long ignored — “Anna Bolena,” “La Sonnambula,” “La Donna del Lago,” “Armida,” “Guillaume Tell,” “Le Comte Ory” — and has even made hits out of them. But it has done so almost invariably with stars to anchor the productions. Renée Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Natalie Dessay, Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez, Diana Damrau: These are the kind of names who have tended to bring operas by Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini to the Met.

 

There’s no one on that level of renown in this “Semiramide.” So the question is: Can one of the grand, stylized ocean liners of early-19th-century opera flourish — can the Met, with 4,000 seats to fill and an audience raised with a great-performers fetish, survive — with a cast that isn’t particularly glamorous but is, merely, excellent?

 

The ticket sales are not, so far, inspiring, but the performance often is.

 

Based on a Voltaire tragedy of ancient Babylon with nods to “Hamlet” and “Oedipus,” the plot is a heady mixture of romantic intrigue and jockeying for power that unfolds in a sprawling pageant of arias and duets. In the title role of the queen who murders her husband and unwittingly tries to marry her son, the soprano Angela Meade gives her gutsiest Met performance since “Norma” in 2013, her coloratura fireworks amplifying her pride, guilt and fear.

 

 

Even with 45 minutes cut from the score, this is a long opera — the conductor Maurizio Benini led a crisp, clear rendition that nevertheless struggled to find variety in the 105-minute first act — and a long part. But if Semiramide seems to tire Ms. Meade no more than it did when she coolly dazzled in it at Caramoor in 2009, her tone has shed the overly pearled sheen it had then; its silver is now warmer.

 

Semiramide: “Ah! quel giorno ognor rammento” Video by Metropolitan Opera

As Arsace, the Assyrian commander whom Semiramide chooses to marry before learning she is his mother, the mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong has her first really major turn at the Met, which hasn’t seemed to know what to do with her talent. Her voice is more clarinet than trumpet, but it’s agile, even and velvety.

 

Semiramide: “E se ancor libero” Video by Metropolitan Opera

Javier Camarena continues a brilliant run of bel canto performances in New York. Rossini tenors have often been caricatured as pinched and nasal — you try to hit those high notes! — but Mr. Camarena is melting and nuanced, clarion in coloratura, his sound sunny and earnest. There’s no one better.

 

 

Ildar Abdrazakov was forceful as the sneering Assur, but his tone grew gray and woolly in its depths, when it should be its richest. Ryan Speedo Green sounded fuller and more opulent as the high priest, Oroe. Sarah Shafer was sweet and tender in her Met debut as the much-fought-over Princess Azema.

 

Photo

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Ms. Meade, center, in the Met’s production of “Semiramide,” which shamelessly courts camp. Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

The ghost of the murdered king does spiritual battle with the characters, but a more benevolent spirit seems to preside over this revival: that of the musicologist Philip Gossett, who died last June.

 

“It is not likely that any one takes ‘Semiramide’ very seriously in these days,” a blessedly unsigned New York Times review said of an 1894 Met performance. If many people now do, Mr. Gossett, as much as anyone, is responsible; among other services to music, he and Alberto Zedda created the critical edition the Met used when it presented “Semiramide” in 1990, for the first time in nearly a century.

 

Directed then by John Copley (who returned to supervise this revival before being fired a few weeks ago for making what the Met called a “sexually demeaning remark” to a chorister during a rehearsal), the production shamelessly courts camp.

 

A stage full of Babylonian ruin and rubble is frosted in tarnished gilt. The costumes (by Michael Stennett) time and again challenge your notions of how many different kinds of fabric can coexist in a single gown. The efficiently gaudy show doesn’t have a deep thought in its head but, in its bombastic way, it’s modest and true.

 

Semiramide

Through March 17 at the Metropolitan Opera; 212-362-6000, metopera.org.

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Interesting. Wonder why my hero Anthony Tomassini wasn’t the reviewer.

 

I remember Angela Meade very early in her career. A HUGH beautiful voice totally out of control. She improved greatly by the time the Audition video came out. Can’t wait till this hits their on demand library.

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Here are clips from the current MET production:

Meade in final embellished repeat of the cabaletta "Dolce pensiero" to the aria "Bel raggio lusinghier". Mead is decent here, and even utilizes some of Joan Sutherland's embellishments. Plus, to her credit does hit a nice high E at the end!

 

The final section of the cabaletta to the duet "Serbami ognor"... not exactly in the same class as the legendary duo of Sutherland and Horne in this piece. Plus, the cut toward the end is a bit jarring. This excerpt occurs only about 12-15 minutes later in the score and Meade's voice seems to have deteriorated by then.

 

I rest my case, and this is not even the duo in their absolute prime!

 

A clip from when the production was new in 1990 with June Anderson (as a less full figured Semiramide) and Horne. Again the comparison is not favorable...

 

Sorry, but I am a tough grader and I call 'em as I hear 'em! Still, I am happy that the MET has revived this vocal feast of an opera.

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From Operawire.com

 

Of Rossini’s opera’s “Semiramide,” his final Italian work, is often considered one of his finest.

 

You probably would not draw that conclusion from the performance at the Metropolitan Opera on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018.

 

The opera, which tells the tale of the “battle” for the throne of Babylon in the wake of its fallen monarch Nino, is a rather long affair with a ton of characters and an expansive plot that relies heavily on strong direction both on the stage and in the pit.

 

The Met’s current revival, the first performance in 25 years, was lacking in both areas.

 

Let’s start on stage, where the biggest issues were to be witnessed. By now, most people know of the John Copley controversy that forced the director out in the middle of the production. One might argue that his absence left a gaping hole in the collective brain interpreting the work, but then that would call into question the directorial abilities of Roy Rallo, who is billed as the revival stage director.

 

Directionless Rossini

 

You don’t need a great director to realize that if two characters are in conflict, they should probably not be standing on opposite sides of the stage and looking away from each other for a full five minute duet; this was the case in the scene in which Assur and Arsace, great rivals for the throne, face off for the first time. Why not have them pace around one another, their gazes locked throughout? That would hint at some tension. Other major dramatic moments were rendered incomprehensible by this kind of park and bark approach, such as the final trio, in which (SPOILERS) Arsace accidentally kills his mother in the dark tomb. The characters state that they can’t see in the darkness, but we don’t see it. They just stand there and when Arsace is asked to walk over and stab his mother, it lacks credibility. Why not have them walk around and through their body language create the sense of being lost so that the audience can truly believe that they have no idea where they are. As staged, Arsace looked purposeful in murdering his mother, which contradicts the intention of the actors.

 

It is also quite questionable why a massive set such as this one is often misused, the full depth often ignored by the performers, who tended to stay close to the prompter’s box. The chorus often walked onstage rather unceremoniously and then off. The sets themselves, by John Conklin, are massive and emphasize the broken state of Babylon through their cracked tiles. But it was hard to truly immerse oneself in the production when the curtains went up and down incomprehensibly throughout. When the curtains dropped, one imagined that some massive stage change was going on behind. But when they came back up, the sets were pretty much unchanged. They aided in the transitions from scene to scene but did little to enhance the drama and in some cases, distracted from the singing. One case in point would be during Idreno’s first aria, where the second half of the passage was met by a rising curtain to reveal the backdrop of the main set. What dramatic purpose did it serve? None that I could decipher. This occurred time and again throughout the opera, making one wonder, why not just leave them on the same stage the entire time without all this shifting around? Especially when the stage wasn’t really being used in any effective fashion to begin with?

 

Poor direction or clarity of vision in a production can be often overlooked in a bel canto work simply by showcasing great singing. One such example would be the Met’s “I Puritani” production, which is nothing special visually but has featured top-end artists over the years that make you forget about the production itself and surrender to the beauty of the music.

 

On paper, this “Semiramide” should have been otherworldly. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be with most of the artists seemingly miscast.

 

To be continued...

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Lagging Behind

 

Nowhere was this more present than with Ildar Abdrazakov, who scored solid success with comic Rossini at the Met last season in “L’Italiana in Algeri.” But from his first entrance as Assur, you could tell this would not be the best of nights for the bass. The role’s opening passage for the bass demands a ton of coloratura passagework that is aimed at matching the previous vocal gymnastics of Idreno. It’s a voice face-off if you will, and Abdrazakov and his thicker bass, tasked with taking on a more flexible tenor in Javier Camarena, lost. The passages were labored and he often seemed like he was constantly playing catch-up with conductor Maurizio Benini, who conversely was looking to adjust with him from measure to measure. It wasn’t a comfortable listening experience and hinted at a long night.

 

That turned out to be true for Abdrazakov, as try as he might to give Assur aggressive qualities (he was undeniably at his best during the recitatives), couldn’t quite manage to find the flexibility or lightness in his voice for the surging Rossini vocal lines. And like his colleagues, this most committed of actors, didn’t do much in the way of interacting with them throughout the night.

 

Angela Meade is one of the mainstays at the Met over the last few years, getting opportunities to constantly diversify her repertoire. While Semiramide was a bold move, it might not have been for the best. Her coloratura didn’t always work, particularly in the second part of the aria “Bel Raggio Lusinghier.” No one expects vocal perfection at all times, but Meade smudged some of the runs rather noticeably and was even more uncomfortable in the phrasing of the cadenza, where she seems to have lost her vocal control. She did better in the repetition of the cabaletta section, though the high E that she added in didn’t quite sound comfortable either. Overall, she sang with elegant legato throughout, but for whatever reason, her top notes tended to sound shrill and often flat in their pitch, no doubt a result of a wide vibrato that is persistent in her voice. It works wonders in music that calls for explosive emotion, but in something more refined like Rossini, it often feels out of place. No doubt her instrument will be more effective in her assignment next season in Boito’s “Mefistofele.”

 

More Effective Singing

 

Camarena is one of the finest tenors in the world and he sang quite well on this evening, his two arias featuring blossoming vocal lines, confident top notes, and vibrancy that filled the theater quite well. His coloratura passages were solid through and through, though there were moments in his entrance where they weren’t quite as polished as latter instances. That said, dramatically he wasn’t quite compelling, Idreno lacking a true sense of personality in the proceedings. A lot of this has to do with his overall dramatic integration in the production. With so many cuts, all we know of him is that he might or might not want the throne, but that he does want Azema. This might come down to the libretto, but the direction did little to try and clarify any of it and Camarena was abandoned to his own vocal fate. His most effective moment was during his aria, “La Speranza più soave” as he managed to build up Idreno’s rage with every phrase, his singing growing more accented and pointed. It was one of the few moments in the opera where a musical passage explored a character’s evolving emotions.

 

From his first moment onward, Ryan Speedo Green’s booming bass was simply a revelation. It’s a coarser sound, but it grabs you and holds your attention with its richness and size. Oroe is perhaps not a massive assignment, but he is slowly establishing his presence at the Met and will no doubt be a major star in years to come.

 

Star of the Night

 

That said, the true star of the night was Elizabeth DeShong as Arsace. From the first note to her last, she suited the vocal lines perfectly. The coloratura was pure and clean at all moments, and she seemed to be exploring its expressive qualities throughout. In her opening aria, it took on a more gentle touch as Arsace thought of Azema. In the confrontation with Assur, the voice was more accented, exploring the tension and hatred Arsace feels for Assur. In moments with Semiramide, it took on a nobler quality, the voice filling out to match Meade’s far more voluminous quality. DeShong’s lows were splendid and even if the voice doesn’t possess the biggest sound, it has a clarity that is simply stunning in its beauty.

 

Jeremy Gaylon’s lone appearance as the Ghost of King Nino was effective, the bass’ sound coming across powerfully into the cavernous theater. In her Met debut, soprano Sarah Schafer was unfortunately deprived of her lone aria. The number of times her character’s name was mentioned over course of the evening (and it doesn’t get mentioned all that much) likely exceeded the number of words she got to sing overall.

 

The chorus saw many of its passages cut out of the opera making its presence more noticeable for its awkwardness in the staging than for its vocal brilliance. It was rather shocking that it got left out altogether from Idreno’s final aria.

 

Imbalanced Rossini

 

Benini’s cuts may have spared the audience a longer evening, but his overall choices also bore the brunt of the discombobulated evening. Rossini’s operas hinge on the contrast between extremes of slow and fast music. Cut down on one and you automatically weigh heavily in the other direction. When most of the music getting chopped up is the faster music, then the overall work feels slow and lacking in momentum. The strettas were chopped up all over the place and to compensate, Benini attempted to perform them at a far faster clip than one might expect. The result? Sloppier performing from the larger ensembles. The orchestra, a fine ensemble that can be truly sublime on its best nights (see “Parsifal”) wasn’t as refined as one would hope for Rossini. The woodwinds, always so crucial to the composer, were noticeably out of sync in major passages of the overture. There were some solid moments however as Benini showed no restraint in the recurring Rossini crescendos layered throughout the opera. They offered momentary excitement and anticipation but were no major respite for the evening as a whole.

 

This was just the first performance, and as I have noted before, the production will likely grow as the ensemble gets more comfortable. Will this be a defining night at the Met? From the looks of the first production, it has a long way to go before it gets there.

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I have a feeling that the above assessment is more accurate account of the reality of the situation.

 

However, the reviewer speaks of the character Azema (Sarah Schafer) being deprived of her lone aria. There may be quite a few cuts in the score, but that is not one of them as the character does not have an aria!

Edited by whipped guy
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Another quarter heard from:

 

FINANCIAL TIMES

 

 

Semiramide, Metropolitan Opera, New York—monumental sets and a vocal powerhouse

 

 

Spectacle triumphs over dramatic detail in this production of Rossini’s opera

 

 

George Loomis February 20, 2018

 

 

After 25 years, the Metropolitan Opera has revived John Copley’s production of Rossini’s last and most expansive Italian opera, but its return was not without incident. Overseeing the revival, the 84-year-old director made a sexually offensive remark to a chorister, according to the Met, and soon, like other prominent figures in the arts, was out of work.

 

 

Copley might have given the staging an extra edge, but I doubt it. In this vintage production, with monumental sets by John Conklin, spectacle counts far more than dramatic detail; Michael Stennett’s costumes alone would probably bankrupt a smaller opera company. It’s miles apart from the Royal Opera House’s recent production by David Alden, set in a modern Middle Eastern dictatorship. But it does allow this stupendous work, first seen in Venice in 1823 before Rossini shifted operations to Paris, to function on its own terms.

 

 

Angela Meade is a vocal powerhouse as the repentant Babylonian queen Semiramide, who schemed with Prince Assur to murder her regal husband, Nino. Semiramide has a falling out with Assur in a scene that has some of Semiramide’s most intense utterances, and Meade handles them with aplomb. But her upper tones tend to spread at full voice, and I kept wondering what Joyce DiDonato, much acclaimed at the ROH, would have done with the role.

 

 

Elizabeth DeShong sang with lovely, well rounded tone and fine technique in the trouser role of Arsace, who becomes an instrumentality of revenge after learning he is Semiramide’s and Nino’s son. Despite weak low notes, Ildar Abdrazakov was an impressive Assur, especially when, his world collapsing, he is plagued by a vision of Nino’s ghost. As the Indian Prince Idreno, Javier Camarena wowed the audience with his high notes.

 

 

Semiramide requires time, and here it lasted little more than a Mozart-Da Ponte opera. Most of Rossini’s complex musical numbers suffered from internal cuts, whereas it’s better to cut whole numbers, such as one of Idreno’s two arias, and keep others intact. Maurizio Benini’s often sluggish tempos didn’t help, and the singers insisted on interpolating final high notes whether they could sing them well or not. Poor Rossini.

 

 

Three stars

 

 

 

 

To March 17, metopera.org

 

As luck would have it, I’ll be somewhere over the Pacific when this is broadcast Live in HD on 3/10. Moreover I doubt I’ll be sufficiently over the jet lag to drive 150 miles and rent a room to see the rebroadcast later in the week. Hoping it hits The Met’s on-demand catalog before long.

 

In the mean time I can settle for the Anderson/Horne performance from 12/90.

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To be fair and balanced one more from New York Classical Review. It just proves that everyone hears things differently, not to mention sees things differently! This reviewer saw the murder of Semiramide as credible while another thought that the staging of the accidental murder of the title character by her son was ineptly staged!

 

Met’s “Semiramide” delivers a visual and bel canto feast

Tue Feb 20, 2018 at 2:31 pm

By David Wright

 

 

While figure skating was in full swing at the Winter Olympics Monday night, over at the Metropolitan Opera a cast of singer-athletes was performing impressive vocal triple-triples in Rossini’s Semiramide.

 

John Copley’s spectacular production, returning to the Met stage for the first time since 1993, offered ancient Assyrian splendor to match the composer’s fabulously ornate arias and lusty choruses.

 

But make no mistake–in a score conceived in the two traditions of opera seria and bel canto, spectacle and stage action took a back seat to the voice, the voice, the voice.

 

Soprano Angela Meade anchored the cast with a fearless performance in the title role of the morally compromised and lovestruck queen, issuing a blizzard of sixteenth and thirty-second notes and dizzying leaps with expressive power to back them up. Her ode to love “Bel raggio lusinghier” bubbled and soared with little apparent effort.

 

Meade shared the bel canto spotlight with a cast that was equal to their challenging tasks and sometimes much more–as when Javier Camarena, introducing himself as the Indian prince Idreno in “Là dal Gange,” lit up the house with his agile, vibrant high tenor.

 

The main burden of action and expression in Gaetano Rossi’s libretto fell not so much on the title character as on Arsace, the victorious general–object of the queen’s affections (though, unbeknownst to anyone including himself, actually her long-lost son), suitor of the princess Azema, and eventually the reluctant instrument of the gods’ retribution on the sinful queen.

Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong shouldered this task with occasional excursions into a shining top range but mainly a strong lower register that gave heft to her gender-crossing role. Rossini stirred the general’s fealty to the queen and her passionate desire for him together in the radiant quasi-love duet “Serbami ognor,” which Meade and DeShong turned into a memorable efflorescence of trills and scales Monday night.

 

If bass Ildar Abdrazakov offered a shade less power and ease in the bel canto idiom than others in the cast, he more than made up for it with menacing stage presence as the ambitious prince Assur. Besides strongly contesting other characters in his drive for power, Abdrazakov eloquently conveyed Assur’s agitation and despair in his so-called “mad scene,” actually a Macbeth-like confrontation with an apparition foretelling his doom.

 

Presiding over the whole drama, at beginning and end and at key moments along the way, was the imposing physical and vocal presence of bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green as the high priest Oroe. In a plot swirling with conspiracies, mistaken identities, and love triangles and polygons, Green’s steady performance provided a gods’-eye view.

Conversely, the ghost of murdered King Nino, symbolizing everything that was rotten in the state of Assyria, sounded suitably hollow-voiced in bass Jeremy Galyon’s frightening appearance at the end of Act I.

 

As the comely Azema, object of three princes’ affections, Sarah Shafer sang her few lines prettily with a firm vocal core in her Met debut.

 

The Met chorus, prepared by Donald Palumbo, had plenty to do all evening, not only bolstering the grand temple and palace scenes, but supporting and commenting on many of the arias as priests, soldiers, ladies-in-waiting, etc. Splendid or discreet as necessary, the choral singers fully inhabited their role as an essential element in the drama.

 

The orchestra did likewise under Maurizio Benini’s direction, enhancing the arias with Rossini’s many felicities of scoring and infectious rhythms. Although the famous overture sounded a little rushed and unhinged in spots, other orchestral interludes were rich in scene-setting atmosphere.

 

Not that the scenery itself needed much setting, with John Conklin’s monumental sets and Michael Stennett’s opulent costumes providing a visual feast. John Froelich’s shadowy lighting of the final tomb scene made the climactic murder-by-mistake believable, and Act I’s final palace scene glittered with more gold than a Trump Tower bathroom.

 

Semiramide will be repeated 8 p.m. Saturday and March 3 and 17, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 6 and 14, and 1 p.m. March 10. metopera.org; 212-362-2000.

Edited by whipped guy
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Well, I am doing to display the shallow side of this opera lover. A very shallow side!

 

Even if the singing and conducting are substandard just getting a look at Ildar Abdrazakov will somewhat make up for it.

 

77041-semiramide-met-opera-c-ken-howard--1--resized.jpg

 

Plus, in the 1990 MET DVD the bare chested bodybuilder supers who were hired to accompany Assur and Arsace were hot as hell! Especially smoking were the two guys who were associated with Arsace who were bigger and more muscular than those of Assur thus foreshadowing which of the two would gain the throne at the conclusion of the piece. Let's hope that the person in charge of casting those supernumeraries this season had a "Queer eye for a hot guy" to paraphrase the title of a thread in the TV section of this forum!

 

A scene from 1990, if you look closely there are two hot guys kneeling on either side Marilyn Horne. They hand Arsace the sword that will be used to implement the revenge of the murdered King Nino in the final scene.

 

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Don't shoot the messenger. I found this on YouTube. The title is "Operatic Disasters Angela Meade Ruins More Rossini". In any event here is a montage of what I assume was the opening night performance that is reviewed above.

 

 

I will leave it up to you to simply listen and decide for yourself if the title of the video is accurate. I direct those who can read music to a copy of the vocal score: http://imslp.org/wiki/Semiramide_(Rossini,_Gioacchino)

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Don't shoot the messenger. I found this on YouTube. The title is "Operatic Disasters Angela Meade Ruins More Rossini". In any event here is a montage of what I assume was the opening night performance that is reviewed above.

 

 

I will leave it up to you to simply listen and decide for yourself if the title of the video is accurate. I direct those who can read music to a copy of the vocal score: http://imslp.org/wiki/Semiramide_(Rossini,_Gioacchino)

I noticed how intrusive Meade's vibrato often was on the opening night Sirius broadcast. It often sounded as if she was trying to push too hard for (volume? tone?) but at times her voice sounded a bit threadbare, other times better. Maybe just opening night jitters? Or perhaps her technique with this particular role is just uneven? I don't know yet but certain passages were difficult to listen to for me.

 

TruHart1 :cool:

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I noticed how intrusive Meade's vibrato often was on the opening night Sirius broadcast. It often sounded as if she was trying to push too hard for (volume? tone?) but at times her voice sounded a bit threadbare, other times better. Maybe just opening night jitters? Or perhaps her technique with this particular role is just uneven? I don't know yet but certain passages were difficult to listen to for me.

 

TruHart1 :cool:

I trust @TruHart1's assessment as I find that he is always quite fair in his evaluations. I normaly don't like to listen to a performance of a production that I plan to see, but like Lot's wife I did sneak a few peeks or rather a few listens. The HD is not until March 10 so there is hope that things will improve by then.

 

Still the very astute TruHart1 hits the nail on the head. Rossini himself said that an even technique is paramount to performing his music and in that regard Semiramide is one of his most demanding roles. Plus that technique should be apparent throughout the singers entire range such that the voice should be able to smoothly negotiate all the daunting fioritura. While in the past Meade was able to control her voice she obviously does not currently have the basic technique at her disposal to regulate what has become an increasingly recalcitrant instrument. Perhaps she never had a good technique and in her younger days was able to pull things off by shear will power. I hope it is simply a bad patch that she is currently having. Time will tell.

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The above was recorded as part of Sutherland's "Art of the Prima Donna" album in 1960. She was in her thirties at the time. She sings the aria in the original key of A major. Here she is 23 years later at about age 57 or so. She sings the aria in A-flat and the cabaletta in G-flat. Plus her embellishments are different and probably more in tune with Rossini's overall style. (Indeed Meade uses some of them in her rendition,) However in spite of that concession to her age, Sutherland's technique is intact, her scales totally in order, and while there is a slight beat on sustained notes there is no wobble. The voice is obviously darker in color, but sounds as if it belongs to a mature forty-something year year old singer. Interestingly Mead is about 40 years old.

 

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The above was recorded as part of Sutherland's "Art of the Prima Donna" album in 1960. She was in her thirties at the time. She sings the aria in the original key of A major. Here she is 23 years later at about age 57 or so. She sings the aria in A-flat and the cabaletta in G-flat. Plus her embellishments are different and probably more in tune with Rossini's overall style. (Indeed Meade uses some of them in her rendition,) However in spite of that concession to her age, Sutherland's technique is intact, her scales totally in order, and while there is a slight beat on sustained notes there is no wobble. The voice is obviously darker in color, but sounds as if it belongs to a mature forty-something year year old singer. Interestingly Mead is about 40 years old.

 

A really wonderful performance but I do recall my friends and I speaking (perhaps laughing) about how awful that lime green gown was and how it must have been designed by a man who hated women. Sutherland continued to sing until she and her husband, Richard Bonynge decided she would retire, with most of her voice, minus maybe a few less high notes, still intact. She never lost her amazing ability with crystal clear fioriture!

 

TruHart1 :cool:

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