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Home > Author Archives: Niel Rishoi

Author Archives: Niel Rishoi

Burnished bass

Burnished bass

Burnished bass There are some singers that grab a hold of you from the very first time you hear them, turn you into a rabid fan, inform you of #art at the highest level as you know it, and mark you for life. I clearly remember the day I first heard the voice of Cesare Siepi.  In 1984, the then-new recorded format of the CD revolution was already firmly under way. Music shops were beginning to ... Read More »

The trouble with Norma

The trouble with Norma

The trouble with Norma The tides in casting Norma are gradually changing. If one looks at trends in the last 40 or so years, the most successful Normas are mainly those who’ve made not just bel canto, but Bellini as a mainstay in their repertoire.  The majority of the dramatic sopranos still attempting the role have been met with a poor reception. Yet “tradition,” of casting large-voiced dramatics with minimal skills in florid song, still ... Read More »

The priestess with the mostest

The priestess with the mostest

The priestess with the mostest You may find this difficult to believe, but Bellini’s Norma didn’t initially make a significant impression on me back in the early 1980s when I first started listening to, and collecting complete operas on LP and later, video.  The published listening guides I consulted, plus seasoned operagoers recommended Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas’s first complete recordings of the opera. Neither of them created any great reverence overall for the piece, ... Read More »

Laughing song

Laughing song

Laughing song We now come to the sorbetto portion of my Edita Gruberova 50th anniversary tribute (I am actually taking a break from being in the middle of a piece about her singing style, which is more complicated to try to explain clearly than I had fathomed). It can be confidently asserted that Gruberova is one opera’s most gifted comediennes.  Of whom can you summon up in opera who truly has a talent for mannered comedy ... Read More »

Sie ist eine Meisterin im Improvisieren!

Sie ist eine Meisterin im Improvisieren!

Sie ist eine Meisterin im Improvisieren! No 50th anniversary career tribute would be complete without covering Edita Gruberova’s legendary status as the premier Zerbinetta of her long reign in the role (from 1973-2009 – 36 years!)  Zerbinetta, opera’s first, unabashedly polyamorous good-time girl, was the role that catapulted Gruberova into international stardom. Though she first essayed it 1973, it was not until the Vienna State Opera’s 1976 production of Ariadne auf Naxos, designed by Filippo ... Read More »

Königin of Mozart

Königin of Mozart

Königin of Mozart The third installment of my 50th anniversary tribute to Edita Gruberova was impossible to narrow down to one selection. She recorded more of Mozart than any other composer, and, it may perhaps be said, whose music was a near-perfect fit for her type of voice; especially in the opera seria realm, she excelled.  She either sang or recorded Fortuna, Sifare, Giunia, Bastienne, Madame Herz, Sandrina, Elettra, Konstanze (twice on record, once on ... Read More »

The first time every I heard her voice

The first time every I heard her voice

The first time every I heard her voice The Summer of 1983 is when “it” happened.  That year was the period of when my interest in opera was taken to the next level. Prior to then, my experience in listening to opera was gleaned in arias, mainly by coloraturas, from old movies on TV, featuring the likes of Jeanette MacDonald, Deanna Durbin, Kathryn Grayson and even Lily Pons (in I Dream Too Much, where I learned ... Read More »

Sì bella, sì pura, del ciel creatura

Sì bella, sì pura, del ciel creatura

Sì bella, sì pura, del ciel creatura In observance of Edita’s Gruberova’s 50th anniversary in opera, I would like to offer a series of commentaries, over successive days, of my favorite performances. Bellini’s final opera I puritani is awash with one Bellinian trademark melody after another: every character has what you might call a “hit tune.” Or two. No less are the series of rousing, applause-engendering duets. If Pepoli’s risible libretto provides a weak basis for dramatic ... Read More »

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