Wednesday, October 17, 2007


One of the most thrilling and in some ways "miraculous" elements of the human voice is the inherent resonance, where in some cases, you cannot believe how a human throat can produce tones like that....4000 audience members..a barn in which to sing...a blasting orchestra....The other night at the Lucia I listened to the way Giordani produces the middle voice, or thinking of the Licitra Turiddu..I am not thinking necessarily of high notes as much as just the middle voice and the brilliance of the tone. Sometimes specific tones make me "jump" as if the artist is singing in my ear. I recall so vividly Mario del Monaco in act Four Norma, singing a very low note on "NO, si vil non sono" in the scene with Callas, and almost turning to my friend and telling him to stop yelling in my ear! Of course the training and the technique allows for these "miracles" to take place...and what a thrill to hear any of these voices resonate throughout the theatre. This thrill is not limited to loud voices, as the element of "forward placement" applies all over the vocal spectrum. I recall the wonderful Welsh soprano Rebecca Evans, singing a "Batti,batti" that floated up to the balcony like pure honey. There are also big voices that cannot seem to produce this kind of "grab you" feeling, such as Martina Arroyo, whose beautiful large voice never seemed to "get out" and so volume was not here an important factor, since the voice did not seem to possess that certain resonance (squillo is the term we use.). I am sure you can offer examples of where certain voices grab you the way I have described, or where you felt that the artist lacked enough basic resonance to make a strong enough impression. I never said that loud is good..I am speaking here of the forward placement in the "mask" and how it comes across to the listener in the theatre.

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