The singing voice is a marvel. Can be. My phone call was to my pharmacist and later in the day after picking up my meds (I am an old and knackered Knight, remember) I sought some healing salves for my aural sense .... I sought visual too.
Older era music can lift my soul and heart, and coupled with modern technology (which does not improve the aforesaid teen divas' efforts) can provide a gentleman's pleasure.
So, a short post, of just three short songs with beauty, sensuality and delight. Let me start with Elīna Garanča recording Dopo l'oscuro nembo (from Adelson e Salvini) - by Bellini.
Dressed for work, not 'Performance'. To me, she is the epitome of the Opera Diva.
You could put her in a muddy field in the rain, wearing just a work-worn smock, and the Angels would gather to listen to her sing. The orchestra fits, but for some pieces the voice itself is all you need. Several, harmoniously, can render an orchestra redundant. So...
Miserere mei, Deus - by Allegri - sung by the Tenebrae Choir.
OK, one more. A 'proper' performance. Renée Fleming performing Casta Diva (by Bellini, again) in the Palaces of the Czars in Saint Petersburg in 2009.
This is an astonishing rendition of this aria. Such a wonderful interpretation of this difficult piece of music. Everything that is required is in place: the support is solid, the resonance full, the registers blended, the dynamics carefully controlled, the timbre is beautiful and finely textured, the central coloratura section is sung in one breath; the line remains seamless, and the text is gently inflected with colour and real sentiment. People have to remember that here, in 2009, Fleming was 50, and so of course not a match for the singing of her absolute prime (nor perhaps for the up-and coming Elina). Neither Caballe nor Sutherland maintained their voices in this immaculate condition at this age.
OK, your taste may not be mine but we can all do with extending into areas (and arias) where we have not previously ventured, and leave modern trash .... er... tracks, behind us.
My ears are back in working order again.
And have a drink.