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45068
Ed to Kristine
10-24-2014
07:04 AM ET (US)
Kristine, two great recordings of Ol' Man River to me were Paul Robeson and Frank Sinatra's 1946 recording.
45067
Kristine
10-23-2014
06:08 PM ET (US)
As for cinema sopranos, Grace Moore, Deanna Durbin come to mind, along with Jane Powell, Kathryn Grayson, Gladys Swarthout. Maureen O'Hara and Ann Blyth had operatic voices, but made few movie musicals. Margaret Dumont(who appeared with The Marx Brothers)had an operatic voice. She sang the first few notes of "Hail, Freedonia", in "Duck Soup". Adrianna Casalotti(voice of Disney's "Snow White")had an operatic voice. Jessica Dragonette, too. Lily Pons only made 3 movies.
45066
Kristine
10-23-2014
06:01 PM ET (US)
I remember Retired General- Secretary of State Colin Powell, in his autobiography, "My American Journey", mentioned Leontyne Price's brother, General George Price and that he had a booming voice. Was Leontyne Price married to baritone or basso William Warfield ? He sang "Ol' Man River" in M-G-M version of "Showboat"(1951-Keel, Grayson, Gardner). I think they(Price and Warfield)recorded a record album of songs from "Porgy and Bess", years ago.
45065
Dan Lawlor
10-23-2014
04:44 PM ET (US)
Matt: I attended a performance of "La Forza" with Leontyne Price and marveled at her voice...I don't remember the tenor, he was not one of my favorites unfortunately...
45064
matt minzer
10-23-2014
04:01 PM ET (US)
Hi Martino:
I AM SHOWING A 1982 MET DVD OF "FORZA DEL DESTINO" TONIGHT TO A LOVE OF OPERA GROUP HERE WHERE WE RESIDE STARRING LEONTYNE PRICE ETC. DURING MY WARM RELATIONSHIP FROM 1975-1985 WITH SARA TUCKER, THE WIDOW OF GOLDEN VOICED RICHARD (RUBY), SHE SAID THAT HER HUSBAND HAD GREAT RESPECT FOR AND ADORED THE AMERICAN PRIMADONNA FROM LAUREL, MISSISSIPPI-MS. PRICE.
THE CURRENT MET OPERA SIDE PUBLICATION "OPERA NEWS" HAS A SEVERAL PAGE LEAD STORY WITH PHOTOGRAPHS COMMENDING THE WONDERFUL TALENT OF LEONTYNE PRICE
I PERSONALLY ATTENDED THE SECOND PERFORMANCE OF MS. PRICE'S DEBUT ROLE IN VERDI'S "IL TROVATORE" DURING THE WINTER OF 1961 AT THE OLD MET. SHE SANG ALONGSIDE MY ALLTIME FAVORITE TENOR, FRANCO CORELLI AND I BELIEVE ROBERT MERRILL. THEY BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN. I WAITED FOR MS. PRICE AND FRANCO CORELLI AT THE STAGE DOOR AND GOT BOTH OF THEM TO SIGN MY PROGRAM WHICH IS HANGING IN MY OPERA OFFICE ALONG WITH A SIGNED COLLECTION FROM CARUSO, MARIO LANZA TO ANNA NETREBKO, ROLANDO VILLAZON AND PIETR BECAZLA.I BELIEVE THAT DAN HAS BEEN IN MY HOME AND HAS SEEN THE MANY OPERATIC MOMENTOS COLLECTED OVER THE PAST SIXTY YEARS.

I NAMED MY DOCTOR DAUGHTER LAUREL IN HONOR OF MS. PRICE'S BIRTHPLACE-LAUREL, MISSISSIPPI.

BEST,

MATT MINZER IN STILL TROPICAL SOUTHEAST FLORIDA.
45063
Ed to Martino
10-23-2014
02:03 PM ET (US)
Martino, what can I say? After reading your lengthy post on sopranos I find the one that really knocked me down was Pons,a true you know what. Wondering where Lanza fits in temper-land?
45062
Martino to Ed
10-23-2014
01:16 PM ET (US)
Stories about opera singers (especially tenors and sopranos) their tempers, vanity, flawed character traits and personality could fill the Library of Congress. Callas alone would be good for three or four books alone; Kathleen Battle, another couple volumes. And Lanza, stories both real, imagined and rumored, yet another few.

Here is a quote by Maria Callas that gives you a window to her soul: "Don't talk to me about rules, dear. Wherever I stay I make the goddam rules". Nonetheless, she knew who she was better than anyone, "I am not an angel and do not pretend to be. That is not one of my roles. But I am not the devil either. I am a woman and a serious artist, and I would like so to be judged". And yet another insight, "I would not kill my enemies, but I will make them get down on their knees. I will, I can, I must". Finally, the quote that explains it all: "I would like to be Maria, but there is La Callas who demands that I carry myself with her dignity".

Speaking of Battle, she was fired from the MET because of the rudeness she displayed towards her colleagues. Opera is after all a collaborative enterprise and requires some level of cooperation. She locked Carol Vaness out of her dressing room because it was bigger than hers. When scheduled to sing at Pres. Clinton's inaugural ball, she turned away the regular size limousine sent to pick her up because she wanted to arrive in a stretch limo. So on and so forth.

Robert Merrill, the great American baritone, was new at the MET and was scheduled to sing "Lucia" with Lily Pons, the established French rossignol. Robert introduced himself and told Pons how much he was looking forward to singing with her. After the pleasantries, she told him that he must understand that where she goes on stage, he must follow and to never move unless she moves. She warned him to pay no attention to what the conductor, stage director or anyone else says. She told him straight out that "Pons is the boss".

I read where even the usually modest and mild-mannered Leontyne Price, often had a way about her that made everyone (including her brother who was a US Army General), feel like a buck-private in boot camp. Although she adored Corelli (after settling a brief spat early on), Price was said to be yet another of those sopranos who did not care very much for most tenors.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and we have not even touched the tenors yet!
45061
David Weaver
10-23-2014
11:52 AM ET (US)
The film musicals from the 1930s to 1950s all seemed geared to high, thin soprano voices such as Jeanette MacDonald and Kathryn Grayson. Their voices, however, seemed well-suited to low, rich baritone voices - Nelson Eddy for MacDonald, Howard Keel for Grayson. Personally, my favorite screen soprano was Julie Andrews.
45060
Ed to Dan
10-23-2014
10:36 AM ET (US)
Sounds as though they all have tempers,sadly it goes with the talent, right? I guess maybe it's the voices that get to me, for example Kathryn Grayson's voice goes through me like a knife when she sang Thine Alone with Mario Lanza on the radio show,why must she have gone so high? Anyway great point made with Bonisolli. Best
45059
Fred Day
10-23-2014
12:25 AM ET (US)
Bonisolli may have been "a bit crazy", but he was very good. He had no fear of the high C, and sang it many times. He died the day after Corelli died. His two CD's of Neapolitan songs are particularly excellent. Ciao.
45058
Dan Lawlor
10-22-2014
10:37 PM ET (US)
Ed: have you ever heard of 'Il Pazzo' (the Crazy Man): Franco Bonisolli? He was dismissed by Karajan for throwing his sword into the pit in a fit of Divo temperament, and also for missing the high C in Di Quella Pira in Il Trovatore during performance, but at the curtain call, he hit it in an encore of just that note and held it, to prove he could do it. He was known not for the delicacy of his presentation but for sheer lung power...
45057
diane cox
10-22-2014
10:36 PM ET (US)
Anna Netrebko is a hoot however! She does great interviews.
45056
Ed to Diane
10-22-2014
09:26 PM ET (US)
Diane, I've always found sopranos to be more temperamental and high strung with attitude problems. I'll stick with what I like.
45055
diane cox
10-22-2014
08:05 PM ET (US)
I don't seek out sopranos to listen to either. Always the tenors for me.
45054
Dan Lawlor
10-22-2014
07:55 PM ET (US)
Ed: I was of the same mind for years...I hated Callas' sound...loved Victoria de los Angeles sound...and also Renee Fleming's...Zinka Milanov, Montserrat Caballe among others...never cared for Sutherland, but recently am enjoying her partnership in Norma with Marilyn Horne... they are growing on me...ha ha
Edited 10-22-2014 07:58 PM
45053
Ed to Dan
10-22-2014
06:40 PM ET (US)
Dan, I can't stand sopranosI guess it's a guy thing. Some are surely great but I'll stick with baritones and tenors .
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