Franco Corelli and a Revolution in Singing: Fifty-Four Tenors Spanning 200 Years, vol. 3
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This vol. contains interviews of Corelli, Bergonzi, Kraus and Alagna.
Bergonzi: “De Lucia, Pertile, Merli, Schipa, Gigli and Galliano Masini had their personal styles but weren’t faithful to the composer, because they in- troduced ritards, rests and effects. Del Monaco was the first singer to respect the composer. Toscanini and Bruno Walter were the only conductors who heeded what the composers wrote.” Bergonzi also declares, “The difference between my singing of Bohème and of Trovatore is the degree to which I cover. Rodolfo is a lighter role, so I cover less, but Manrico is more dramatic, so I cover more.” This statement proves controversial among others interviewed in this book. He describes his breathing method as well as the first five years of his career, when he sang as a baritone in casts that included Gigli and Schipa.
Kraus describes his vocal technique in detail, takes a stand against covering and for a variety of reasons excoriates Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti, Chris Merritt, Caruso, Gigli, Lauri-Volpi, Aliberti (with whom he was singing Lucia at the time), Caballé, Callas, Souliotis and Muti but extols Olivero, Schipa, Sutherland and Bonynge. He discusses being partnered by Callas in the Lisbon Traviata.
The origins of lowered-larynx techniques. Jean de Reszke’s larynx- lowering (with many gorgeous photos from The Metropolitan Opera Ar- chives). His autobiographical letter to Lilli Lehmann reprinted. Caruso’s technique. Melocchi’s teaching of Limarilli. Corelli’s real view of the Stanley method. Marcello Del Monaco’s pupils, among them Giacomini, Martinucci and Lindroos. A Corelli pupil, Enrique Pina, describes “floating” the larynx. Araiza’s describes combining larynx-lowering with mask placement. Aspira- tion. Matteuzzi and Morino—unaffected by Del Monaco and Corelli. Oli- vero attacks Del Monaco’s technique.
Roberto Alagna describes placing “behind the nose and between the eyes.” He explains that he sometimes switches to larynx lowering and re- corded an album with it. Like Corelli he learns technique by singing along with records—in his case Gigli’s above all—and recording himself doing so. He discusses tenors on old records as well as his personal life. Elena Filipova recounts how after learning larynx lowering from Rina Del Monaco (Mario’s wife) her career blossomed. Then she studied a more extreme version with Alain Billiard, lost range, agility and her pianissimo, and her career collapsed. She regained her voice from studying placements with Hilde Zadek. “She reintroduced me to my head resonance.”
Bill Schuman (today’s most prominent voice teacher) explains his tech- nique, which involves floating the larynx, mask placement and, for high notes, lifting the palate, top-of-the-head placement plus smiling and, for breathing, using the diaphragm as a pump. Also interviewed are three of his pupils, Met tenors Giordani, Costello and Fabiano as well as Valenti, whom Schuman dis- missed from his studio for concurrently studying a more extreme lowered-lar- ynx method with Arthur Levy. These tenors critique other tenors and describe their own singing. Also included is an interview with Virginia Zeani on Valenti.
Reviews of forty-seven CDs and DVDs of today’s top tenors, among them Kaufmann, who continues in Corelli’s footsteps, Cura, Villazón and Fraccaro, who continue in Del Monaco’s, Grigolo, Flórez, Brownlee, Banks, Filianoti, Cutler, Bros and Calleja, who continue in Kraus’s and Licitra, who continued in Bergonzi’s, as well as Galouzine, Beczala, Álvarez, Antonenko and Vargas, in such categories as “Four Lowered-Larynx Tenors,” “Mask-Larynx-Hybrid Tenors,” “Mask-Placement Tenors Who Don’t Cover” and “Mask-Placement Tenors Who Do Cover.”
Tenor Emilio Moscoso on lessons with Marcello and Mario Del Monaco.