Yesterday, in an afternoon recital raising money for a great project in Equador in Pawlings New York, I dedicated the music to Maria Callas who crossed over in 1977 on that very day September 16.

To Beverly Sills who was being remembered at the Metropolitan that day, and to my dear friend just recently crossed, Luciano Pavarotti.

Heaven is sounding pretty amazing these days. Think of it…..

Robert Merrill, Franco Corelli, Luciano, Beverly, Renata Tebaldi, Franco Bonisolli, so many people are “away”.

With each passing a little bit of history and example is gone too. That is going to mean a lot in a few years. The examples of what is correct and acceptable in music. The right color for a role is completely gone today as everyone sings everything. A soubrette, no matter how dark would never approach Il Trovatore or Norma. A voice for Wagner would be just that with rare exceptions if the color could pass for Italian.

Style? If they sing the notes and reasonably make it to the end most seem happy.

To have discussed music with Tebaldi, and Olivero, and Milanov, with Bergonzi and Pavarotti and so many fabulous singers from the past generation is to hear about a time when there was a more advanced expectation from both the singer and the public. A feeling of religiosity was pervasive, a “calling”….dressed as if going to church, respect.

Singers and conductors extolling one another to give their very best in service to the music. Conductors applying an overall knowledge of the piece and the voice so intense and deep that they embraced the different singers and their very different souls and colors and prezzi e preggi and found a way to stay to the composers wishes but still avoid a cookie cutter prison.

Expression and sincerity and imagination was key. Then it was left to the alchemy. A voice has it’s own unique effect. Some are good, some are great, and some communicate and some beguile. Some had beauty and some had magic.

How will all this play out?

“Modi, e trema!”

“Numi, Pieta'”


~ by aprilemillo on September 18, 2007.

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