I love the treasure trove that is YouTube. I was looking for Tetrazzini the other night and found the brief and charming clip of her singing with a recording of Caruso. So many of these voices I am wholly familiar with, but have never seen the singer outside of still photos. There's a lot of Mario del Monaco on YouTube - wonderful to see. He was criticised at the time for lack of modulation, but I love his power, and besides, my very first opera record was Mario del Monaco's Pagliacci (from a junk store or a garage sale I think).
Because I'm like the Coneheads (no, I'm not from France but I prize "low tones) I am usually content to follow Ruggiero Raimondi around, as well as other fabulous basses and baritones (those Bulgarians...). I'm not a big soprano person - anyway, I like men. Opera has suffered a little lately from the very stupid idea that singers need to conform to society's idea of physical beauty - not only the women, but the men, too. Why anyone should want that garbage to slop over onto our opera stages I have no clue. There will always be a place for charisma and stage presence, but those are separate from mere adherence to body shape, although it seems not everyone knows that. I'm happy when there is a nice physical presence that matches that we think fits the role, however, that takes a backseat to voice quality, or at least it should.
posted by - 12:13 PM