Wagner Diction on 20071207

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rene+pape Rene Pape


This is a voice, who wants to sing Wagner, and he is now considered as a German Jewel. Thus, I am making my inquiry, and heaven knows that I am not insulting this German soul.

Is this a genuine Wagner diction? In these days, even without iPod-Touch in his hand, anyone can have access to the Youtube.com, so Barenboim can never say that he hadn’t any opportunity to experience what his audiences already knew. The legendary (male) Wagnerian Singers don’t pronounce Wagner’s Poetry as this German guy does, even in a rehearsal room. One can’t say that it is an old-fashioned fad, for it comes from the Wagnerian Voice, which is a successful outcome of our musicians’ physical ability, which healthy body consists of one brain and one heart, one tongue and one belly button, two nostrils and two nipples, ten fingers and ten toes, and so on. According to Ms. Nilsson, the secret to singing Isolde was not her secret relationship with the maestro, but “comfortable shoes” and her egotistic relationship with the baton technique.

Here my opinion goes. Please look at his singing muscles. He is born a musician, but still, he is not spitting his German diction from the core of his body. If he appreciates the ability of his lungs more, there will be a slight change in his singing posture and then a huge change in his German diction. Imagine his new air and another German diction. Does it sound more intelligent? It will sound more intuitive. You close your eyes and will fall in love with this guy, who is still under fifty. (Somehow, I can’t help imagining Garfield singing songs…) Sooner or later, he will be over fifty and then it will be impossible for him to achieve what he can achieve.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Gabriele+Schnaut+&search=Search Gabriele Schnaut

JIWON: They say that this is a huge, natural voice that can hardly be recorded properly in an opera house. I remember to read various articles about her, in which pros were united at criticizing her intonation problem or heavy vibrato, yet never know how to advise her better way to sing Wagner. IMHO, there is basically nothing wrong with her singing. What she needs to achieve is more techniques; much more delicate techniques; a more accurate, detailed embouchure change. It will lead her to enter the entirely different world. Then there will appear so many things that she should fix, including the personal habits, even her personality. I’m afraid to say that it will be very difficult to make it. If she is deadly serious about her Wagner-dream, she can make it, I believe. Mental therapy or physical therapy… Which one should come first?

JIWON: If above were the Voices from the Slytherin, below are from the Gryffindor.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Linda+Watson&search=Search Linda Watson

JIWON: Who is Linda Watson???

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Deborah+Voigt&search=Search Deborah Voigt

JIWON: When can I watch her recent singing? I just saw her photos after the surgery, in which lots of supporting muscles are still needed to regain her healthy voice.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Jane+Eaglen Jane Eaglen

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SRYmPKSWe7s Jane Eaglen as Donna Anna:

JIWON: This is Jane Eaglen, who I truly believe in. I want to ask her. Was she happy when she checked herself in the mirror while adding pounds of pounds? I can ask, because I know she is a woman. This voice should never gain a weight. I am not the only one, of course. Read them, please.

Comment 1: Marked as spamShe was so much smaller than she is now. She actually had a waist! Great singing!

Comment 2: Marked as spamI find it a bit sad listening to this. Her voice has spread so much now, and lost focus, beauty and nuance. She should never have moved so quickly to the heavy dramatic repertoire. She could have been another Margaret Price.

Comment 3: Marked as spamTrue that….

Comment 4: I have only seen her once live at her total peak 10 years ago and it was a nice size voice in the middle (I heard bigger but “bigger is not necessarily better”). However, the high register -though it kept its focus- it was rather not giving that blooming top notes that the middle register was promissing… I think she was a lyric spinto who had no choise because of her corpunence…

Comment 5: I’ve seen that happen a few times. Singers forced to sing roles that fit their looks rather than their voices. Ms Eaglen may very well have been a lyric spinto but who would hire her to sing that repertory?

Comment 6: Her voice is not in shreds. Don’t be ridiculous. She had bloody great teaching and knows exactly what she’s doing with her instrument.

Comment 7: Nice try, and I wish that were so, but I was at the performance and Jane was struggling mightily for anything above a G. Every high note was about a second and a half in length, the luster had pretty much abandoned the rest of her range. I agree that she has had great teaching and has great technique, which is what makes her a great professor of voice now at UofW. I do wish her well. It used to be one of my favorite voices.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=nina+stemme Nina Stemme

JIWON: I was surprised at the comments in this thread. All of them sound terrific and should be read. Have you ever seen this kind of from any of Meier Fan-club? It is not only academic, sophisticated, but also very intuitive. I believe Ms. Stemme herself should read all the comments and take them seriously, if she truly wants to be a Wagnerian heroine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8enypX74hU Wagner – Tristan und Isolde – Liebestod

JIWON: 4 comments to remember.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79Ifh54ywDY Nina Stemme sings Strauss / Antonio Pappano

JIWON: 2 interesting comments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZYobLznfOk Nina Stemme Final of Der Hollander

JIWON: 5 comments should be heard. Real loud.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T3shnV254w Mild und Leise – Nina Stemme

JIWON: 2 interesting comments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYNdStfYsWw Placido Domingo and Nina Stemme sing Otello

JIWON: One exquisite comment to study. Well… here Domingo again. It was du Pre’s book, in which I read about Barenboim’s friendship with Domingo. But then, Domingo’s Barenboim is very different from Barenboim’s Domingo. Whenever I find talented voice, I also find their partnership with Domingo, yet I never heard him recommend these voices to his maestro Barenboim, who is also his friend. Unlike Maestro Abbado, who was enjoying Barenboim’s failing by casting Meier in his farewell concert in Barenboim’s Berlin, perhaps to make fun of me or my Furtwangler writing to his BPO, it seems that Domingo treats Meier as Barenboim’s mistress, so he comes to Barenboim’s territory to play with his buddy’s girl and then returns to his territory to “sing” with his favorite divas. By The Way, Domingo Owes Me. How much is he going to pay me? Had he forgotten how he made a dramatic recovery after reading my analysis of “Hopeless” Domingo with Meier’s Delilah? But then, how he had behaved? Had he tried to save Barenboim’s failing?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdXLCy8QBgo Nina Stemme in Der Koenig Kandaules

JIWON: 1 impressive and 2 interesting comments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eZt_JlEyb8 Rosenkavalier – Hab’ mir’s gelobt (R. Strauss)

JIWON: 3 terrific and 1 interesting comments.

JIWON: To sum up, Nina Stemme is born a diva, whose singing is off the balance, and it is getting worse. This means, her dramatic singing will collect more opponents as much as earning more supporters. Though she is doing a very fine job, difficult as well, her minor characteristics will offer Meier fans good excuses for insulting whatsoever achievement of Meier’s rival. Fans usually want to act and think like their idol.  I hope Ms. Stemme to read all the comments here and think about WHY. Reviewers compare this voice with Jessye Norman, Leonie Rysanek, or Birgit Nillson. It is very true, however I think… Instead of sticking around Flagstad, she’d better listen to Nilsson and study her. There are things to learn from her (written) interview, in which she mentioned how she learned to fix her own vocal problem. If she understands Nilsson’s REASON, she can make a huge improvement. I may be wrong, but once she makes it, she will be one step closer to Flagstad, if she really wanted to sing like her. I believe that she’d better not open her mouth to speak during the training period.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Adrianne+Pieczonka&search=Search Adrianne Pieczonka

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF-N-dNFTBg Richard Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier – Hab’ mir’s gelobt

JIWON: She has the same problem with Nina Stimme. With a same training, she also can make a huge improvement. And she won’t sound like Flagstad. Why doesn’t she activate all the possible facial muscles to develop more of Kopf Stimme?

JIWON: Time for Michelle De Young and Ian Storey.

http://www.parterre.com/2007/12/barenboim-sings-again.html (08 December 2007) Barenboim sings again! : Brangäne, the Wagner “specialist” Michelle De Young, offered the worst vocal performance of the night,

Comment 2: I found the review very interesting and I think it describes truly what the production was. (……) I hope he will find the right singers for these operas if they exist today. Very awful was the Brangaene of Michelle De Young, I just couldn’t stand her ugly voice and her horrible technique.

http://groups.google.com/group/humanities.music.composers.wagner/browse_thread/thread/33175475bae8a356/92144a4229fea1b9?hl=en&lnk=st&q=storey+meier#92144a4229fea1b9 (December 7, 2007) Tristan und Isolde: I found Michelle DeYoung as Brangäne the less convincing of them all. Her singing sounded shrill and off-pitch at many places, a negative surprise for me since I heard her as Kundry 6 months ago, where she was in good voice.

http://operachic.typepad.com/opera_chic/2007/12/baci-classica-f.html (December 09, 2007) Comment: Thank you for the photographs of the opening night “Tristan.” Having heard a fair number of Brangänes in the theatre in my day (including Grace Hoffman and Tatiana Troyanos), and having been exposed to any number of directorial takes on (or swipes at) “T&I,” I am gobsmacked by why a director or costume and make-up people would think it in the best interests of the opera to turn Brangäne into a XX version of Fafner. My deepest sympathies to Michelle de Young. If, as the reviews have it, she did not sing well, do people think you can costume a woman to look like a monster when she is performing the epitome of a sororial role and expect her to sound like Sigrid Onegin? Some years ago, a friend of mine who was singing Brangäne hit the roof when she was asked to perform it wearing a contemporary business suit-in retrospect, she’s lucky she wasn’t costumed as King Kong…

http://www.metoperafamily.org/operanews/issue/article.aspx?id=3286&issueID=155 (December, 2007) Michigan-born Michelle DeYoung, is a free spirit who finds singing Mahler “fun.” ON visits with the mezzo, who makes her La Scala debut this month as Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde. : MD: I am a mezzo (…) [ON: Leaving aside present-day colleagues or anyone whose career is still active, who’s the one singer you wish you could have sung with?] – MD: Flagstad. I’d be satisfied if I could have heard her live, in the opera house, but, yes, Flagstad. I would have loved to be her Brangäne.


What is unique to her singing is that there are more than one way to improve. Why doesn’t she take a shortcut? However… I don’t understand why I have to give my advice when this lady is imitating Meier-like diction, which is the very basic reason causing her physical defect. Can’t she just throw away that sickish singing diction? It sounds shit. How come she could interview that Flagstad is her ideal female partner? In reality, she sounds like studying Meier’s recordings all day and memorized all about Meier. Even the deaf can explain how different Meier’s Wagnerian diction sounds from Flagstad’s, which is ringing her entire body. They can watch.

Whatever she is, I can’t watch her Scala production as long as she does everything with Meier. The moment I clicked her on the YouTube.com, she tried to sing and Meier was outsinging her, so I had to hysterically turn it off. How do I know Meier was outsinging? I grew up in her kind of ensemble, where outplaying was their favorite way of ruling the group. In American music schools, there were always want-to-be-pros, who played like Meier especially when they had a golden opportunity to play with someone-from-Chicago called JIWON. So sick of this kind of performance. No one can outplay his ensemble partners with unlimited volume. Sooner or later, one has to change his sound to rule his partners in a normal situation. When I happened to find an obituary notice of Astrid Varnay, her singing photo, and forumites’ comments, in which they remembered not only her fabulous singing but also her great manner to treat her talented juniors, I dropped my jaw because Barenboim’s Prima Donna was exactly opposite to this legendary Wagnerian Diva. But then, Meier’s manner is not same as Ms. Nilsson’s egoistic character, in which her vocal skill was the fundamental reason of her pride. Even in this situation, there is no change in Meier’s manners on the stage.

But I did hear her Stravinsky with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra two years ago. Speechless… No wonder this lady proved her worst performance on the night of Meier. Doesn’t she still realize that her voice sounds real different on the stage and should forget some of her rehearsals? I know it is impossible to fix her vocal/physical/mental problem while she is standing/sitting/walking next to Meier, though.

http://mostlyopera.blogspot.com/2007/12/review-of-tristan-at-la-scala-pure.html (December 7, 2007) Since every new Tristan seems to be judged by Lauritz Melchior standards, British tenor Ian Storey obviously fell somewhat short in the reviewers eyes, and I don´t particularly care for his voice either, but he has one very important advantage: He actually looks and acts like someone Waltraud Meier´s Isolde could fall in love with.

JIWON: It was the funniest comment from Meier Fan. It is none of my business when folks praise Waltraud Meier. It is still none of my business when they insult other talented singers, who can never blossom their talents due to the present Meier-Scandal. However, I feel very funny when they are yearning for the Heldentenor to match vocal techniques of their favorite sexy Isolde. While reading this reviewer, sigh…, I couldn’t help thinking… He is a young, passionate, and serious concertgoer, whose favorites include a real professionalism and intensity in music. What if he knows just a bit more about music, about the secrets of all those legendary musicians, Wagnerian (Dramatic) Divas and Heldentenors? Sigh…

http://lavocedelloggione.splinder.com/post/14998600#comment Comment #108: (#106 & #103). Se è per quello, anche *smalto* è piuttosto opinabile, e andrebbe allora esteso, come giudizio, a tutte le altre note (come giustamente osserva Max). Sbaglio o Storey, alla fine del 1° atto, ha avuto qualche dissenso? E infatti aveva mancato un paio di LA… Se la Waltraud non ha avuto buuu, forse è perchè, almeno tecnicamente, non era censurabile. Sull’interpretazione si può invece discutere, oltre ad avere preferenze (Stemme, Voigt, Urmana?)


This is another funniest comment from Meier Fan, whose nickname is Perfect-Wagnerite in Loggione’s Blog. His ideal Wagner conductor is Furtwangler and interpretation is his favorite word whenever he defends Meier’s vocal technique. What really means interpretation? The reason I can never accept Barenboim’s Meier is her sickish interpretation, which is based on her NO-Voice, and the best part of which is that trashy acting and comical diction. I can never accept Barenboim’s Meier because Barenboim himself always boasts his big mouth that there is absolutely NO compromise in the world of Barenboim’s MUSIC and criticize all the politicians, such as Prime Minister Sharon or President Bush, who were sincerely doing their job. I’ve been written this for ten years. If Barenboim felt sorry for the Miserable, who died due to the politicians’ sincere job, what about his poor Berlin singers, who died under Meier’s directorship? What about ALL the poor musicians, who had to give up their professional dream while his Zubin Mehta was enjoying unlimited fame as MAESTRO, under whose leadership countless trashy musicians were able to find their secure job? How many of them have I met in America? They looked so miserable, then I heard that they soon lost their job even after their travel to Chicago for their secret study with the CSO’s King. When I recall their performance, there was nothing wrong with their performance.

But then… this reviewer is not a pro, but just one of naive audience. While reading him and his friends in various places, I kept thinking. What if his Wagner could pick up just a bit more about music itself, what would have happened to this group? I was surprised at his huge knowledge, which was really appreciated by his friends here. In my view, he is still the only one, who could answer one of my curiosities; why no one had ever listened to one American orchestra member, when he pointed out one of real problems our present orchestras are suffering. My favorites are Mravinsky and Toscanini, but I had to remember his article while listening to Furtwangler’s Wagner.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2007/12/13/bmstorey113.xml (December 13, 2007) I saw the second night’s performance, and admired his conscientious articulation of the text and sensitive acting – Storey is tall and handsome and moves well on stage. Vocally, however…

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article3086987.ece (December 23, 2007) There were no boos for Storey, but then Tristan is a rarity at La Scala. This was the first production since 1978. He might not have been as warmly received at Barenboim’s home house, the State Opera in Berlin, because he needs to work on his German text, which was admirably clear, but sometimes unidiomatic. His throaty, slightly greying tone lacks… (……) Meier, his Isolde, is one of the most experienced on the circuit, and remains perhaps the role’s incandescent interpreter today.

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/opera/article3153314.ece (January 9, 2008) The La Scala audience – famously temperamental – gave him a warm reception. Storey was praised by British critics for his clear diction, stamina and sincerity…

http://www.herefordtimes.com/leisure/htleisurefront/display.var.1921879.0.countys_favourite_tenor_takes_la_scala_by_storm.php (December 21, 2007) The working relationships he has developed with conductor Daniel Barenboim, director Patrice Chereau, James Vaughan and Waltraud Meier, his Isolde, have been one of the great joys of the project. “It is great working with people of this calibre, just incredible. It’s been tough, but hugely rewarding.”…

http://www.ianstorey.com/ Future plans include: Tristan with Waltraud Meier at La Scala; Siegfried in Valencia and Florence with Zubin Mehta

JIWON: I feel no need to watch this Tristan on the YouTube.com. Of course, I have things to advise him how to improve his Wagnerian diction. But concerning his future plan, in which Barenboim’s Mehta is supposed to encourage his bravery, Storey himself will beg me for No Comments.

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