domingo, 10 de noviembre de 2013

Guide Opera Titans - Top 10 Divas and Divos

 Warwick Thompson gives his personal choice of 10 singers past and present who have shaped the course of opera over the past century
 Recording Superstar
This Italian tenor was the first star of the gramophone, and the first recording artist to sell a million copies. Little wonder. His sensational voice, huge power, and subtle artistry are still a benchmark for all subsequent tenors. He premiered roles for all the major composers of his day, including Puccini
 Kirsten Flagstad (1895-1962)

Ideal Wagnerian
Norwegian soprano Flagstad was about to go into retirement when she was hired to sing at Bayreuth (the spiritual - and actual - home of Wagnerian opera) in 1934. With her clean, pure sound, tireless stamina and ear-shattering decibels, she shot to immediate superstardom as one of the greatest Wagnerians ever heard. The retirement plans were shelved

Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938)

Bass Boost
When the tall and imposing Russian bass Chaliapin came on the scene, his resounding voice and natural acting skills earned him plaudits everywhere. When he sang in Europe, it also stoked a new public interest in Russian operas, many of which have star roles for a bass singer
 Joan Sutherland (1926-2010)

La Stupenda
Australian soprano Joan Sutherland was dubbed ‘La Stupenda’ when she appeared at La Scala, and for good reason. She possessed both a large, luscious voice and an agile quicksilver technique - a very rare combination - and it made her perfect for the coloratura repertoire of the early 19th century. She helped to revive operas which had been thought unsingable or dull until she showed how great they could be.

 Maria Callas (1923-77)

Singing Actor
The American-Greek soprano is generally regarded as the greatest singing actress of the 20th century. Her voice was unconventional - it could sometimes sound heavenly, sometimes mottled and shrill - and it declined early. But she brought an intelligence and unrivalled intensity to everything she did on stage, and even appeared in a major non-singing role in film

Birgit Nilsson (1918-2005)

Maximum Volume
The natural heir to Kirsten Flagstad, Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson was a success in roles that demand a colossal size of voice, such as Wagner’s heroines and Puccini’s Turandot. As well as power, she had a shining open-throated sound and great warmth, plus a fearsomely intense stage presence 
 Luciano Pavarotti (1936-2007)

Household Name
With his silvery tone, easy top notes and vocal agility, Pavarotti was ideal for lighter roles and became the most commercially successful tenor of the 20th century. With canny management, he also became a household name famous outside the realms of opera - even if his battle with his waist

 Plácido Domingo (b.1941)
The most versatile tenor, with the longest career, in history. Domingo started as a baritone in operetta, moved up to sing light tenor parts, then heavier roles, and even added Wagner to his repertoire. He now sings major baritone roles again, conducts operas, and administrates an opera company. A phenomenon, and a legend in his own lifetime

 Cecilia Bartoli (b.1966)

Mezzo with the Mostest
Italian mezzo-soprano Bartoli continues to astonish opera-goers with her dazzling ability to leap up and down scales at what seems like the speed of light. She now searches out lost or forgotten repertoire to challenge her stupendous technique and showcase her beautiful sound.

Jonas Kaufmann (b.1969)

Crown Prince
Combining the holy trinity of good looks, charismatic stage presence and a powerful and versatile voice, German tenor Jonas Kaufmann seems to be the crown prince to Domingo’s Superman. Superb in Italian opera, the almost baritonal heft to his voice means he has been moving into Wagner territory of late, proving he has the staying power to make a lasting career at the top of the pile.

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