Don Juan's Reckless Daughter

Pretentious and unflinching fan boy of the things I love- Opera, Music, Art, Tennis, Joni Mitchell, Literature.

All things lead to my blog.

Coloratura mezzo Cecilia Bartoli singing Handel’s melancholic masterpiece ‘Ombra mai fu’ from his opera Xerxes.

Beautifully engaging, mellow timbre and gorgeously light trills.

The glorious voice of dramatic mezzo Giulietta Simionato singing Eboli’s show-stopping aria ‘O don fatale’ from Verdi’s opera Don Carlo.

Perhaps the most hybrid mezzo role Verdi ever wrote. Whilst I consider Azucena the Verdi ‘mezzo-assoluta’ role that requires every demand of the mezzo fach, the role of Princess Eboli is more consistently verged on dramatic soprano territory. Whilst the roles still requires dense low notes and a rich, agile middle in the ‘Veil song’. the climatic aria’s tessitura is taxingly high with a series of sustained High B5’s/Bb5’s and A5’s that have to be sang with a ringing soprano quality. Such is the difficulty many mezzos either transposed the aria down (Marilyn Horne) or simply omitted the high notes (Fedora Barbieri).

Simionato though has the ideal vocal characteristics for Eboli. A sumptuously homogeneous range top-to-bottom, with immaculate shaping of the line and an upper register that erupts with thrilling soprano-esque resonance. One of the most exciting voices you’ll ever hear sing anything.

Anonymous asked: Don't you find it interesting that you and so many others (myself included) find Price to be a wonderful Butterfly.. Yet she hated to sing the role. It's fascinating.

Did she really? I know she hated Mimi but strangely enough enjoyed singing Tosca (a much overrated role).

Further proof that a great singer can still inject life into a role they dislike. If anything it’s the ultimate test of a true artist. Callas really loathed Tosca too, and yet it’s one of her most acclaimed roles.

Price is glorious in Puccini’s operas. One of only about 4 singers who can sing Verismo well.


Italian-born soprano and future First Lady of Argentina Regina Pacini sings Tosca (1906)

A pupil of Mathilde Marchesi, Pacini made her debut in 1888 (aged 17) as Amina in La Sonnambula. She soon embarked on a successful international career, appearing in various European and South American countries. In 1907, Pacini married Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear, an Argentinian politician who eventually became President of his country in 1922. As First Lady of Argentina (1922-1928), Pacini dedicated herself to cultural efforts; in 1938, she founded the Casa del Teatro in Buenos Aires, a retirement home for actors similar to Milan’s Casa Verdi.

The great, great Leontyne Price singing Butterfly’s entrance scene ‘Ancora un passo or via’ from Puccini’s masterpiece Madama Butterfly.

Price is perhaps my favourite Cio Cio San, even if I adore Callas’s full recording of the opera. Amazing clarity of sound, maintaining such ethereal control of the line right up to that sunbeam of a High Db6. 

Price’s singing was so alive with passion. A vocal goddess.

Donna Summer- Last Dance.

Donna Summer was a fucking incredible singer. My most favourite element of her voice is her ability to take the chest/mixed belts so high without having to resort to head voice/falsetto to support tones- and she sings them with strength and colour too.

Talent worthy of a diva.

The immortal La Divina Maria Callas singing Leonora’s great arias ‘D’amor sull’ali rosee……Miserere’ from Verdi’s opera Il Trovatore.

Singing that eclipses any other vocal imagining of Leonora. A gargantuan swell of a voice commanded to undertake the most beautifully intricate lines Verdi ever wrote with the ease of a virtuoso. Amazing expanse of a middle voice, fully supported with a seminal mixture of colour, supremely accented trills, portamento that sounds like she simply isn’t breathing and a display of vocal dynamics that is quite unbelievable. Going from a High C in mezza forte into a blast of a Db6 with immense heroic impact, creating a musical language of emotions all of her own.

Callas is the voice of Opera. She makes everyone look so tiny in comparison.

Sunflowers - Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Gustave Klimt & Gustave Caillebotte

(via storiesfrom-thecity)