Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Healing Voice

I was 'put on hold' on the phone today. What passes for modern music played, or rather assaulted my ears, whilst I waited. Thankfully it was just a few moments but the damage to my sensibilities was done. Our civilisation's decline is screetched at us by teenybopper 'Divas' who have never taken a singing lesson in their lives and rely almost entirely on strutting their pudendas across the stage as they warble. My ears needed healing. Thank goodness my eyes were spared.

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.



  1. G-ds beauty is all around us...isn’t it, my friend? It is his fingerprint to let us know He is still here. Even if the world can get ugly at times. The rain will still fall to replenish the earth in the morning, the rays from the sun will gleam through the clouds. Each day we are renewed to write the story He put us here for.

    On another note, I prefer this music!

    Great article☺️

    - Shiloh

    1. Dramatic !! I guess there is not much written about Vlad's orchestra, but they whack out a good tune. I am pleased you liked the songs.

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  3. i really love all you helpful hints! I enjoy reading your posts… Thanks so much for sharing :)

  4. I had a message from...... Moira Greyland Peat who says:

    She is delightful. Respectfully, I adore Sutherland. I’ve had to revisit her work a lot lately, because I am training another coloratura whose voice is very similar to hers, and helping my gal relearn her top notes only began to make sense when she was able to hear that Sutherland did not get loud, or “push” at any point, because that will never make those notes better.

    So what is developing is a meltingly beautiful upper range, and fine sensitivity for Bellini, and of course, her highest notes have gone from absent, to unspeakable, to pushed, to decent, to reliable, and finally to absolutely stunning.

    She is 76. Singing well is not age-dependent. It is fitness-dependent, breathing-dependent, and stamina-dependent. Breath that is even slightly inadequate causes very slight tightening of the vocal folds and it eliminates a lot of the “singer’s formant” or ringing quality and overtones that are expected and essential in an opera singer.

    I have her working during ensemble rehearsals next to a lirico spinto, whose voice DOES get loud, and works beautifully at a volume which would completely thrash a lyric coloratura’s upper register.

    And Garanca is lovely. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Many thanks Moira. An appreciation in depth from a fine musician / singer.

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    1. Thank you. But.... I don't think you have quite grasped the meaning of 'fastidious'.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..