Monday, 22 March 2010

Best soprano - vote

Rolando Villazon was recently elected the greatest living tenor on stage, whether some of you (including myself) like it or not..At least we´ll know in a couple of weeks exactly how great he is at the moment.

Now it is time to elect the greatest soprano on stage - ie. best currently active soprano. The vote will be between the sopranos listed below, UNLESS I receive alternative suggestions within the next two days, after which the vote shall begin.

Anna Caterina Antonacci
Diana Damrau
Natalie Dessay
Renée Fleming
Angela Gheorghiu
Anja Harteros
Soile Isokoski
Karita Mattila
Waltraud Meier
Anna Netrebko
Adrianne Pieczonka
Dorothea Röschmann
Christine Schäfer
Nina Stemme
Deborah Voigt
Eva-Maria Westbroek

44 comments:

Dr.B said...

Waltraud Meier and at least one other are mezzos. Nevertheless, when she is on I think I prefer Anna Netrebko. It's a pretty fabulous list, though.

mostly opera... said...

Waltraud Meier may be discussed, agreed. However, I think whoever sings Isolde should have the potential to be included.

None of the others may be categorized as a mezzo, I believe? Antonacci has done some in-between roles, but is, at least imo, clearly a soprano

Tristan54321 said...

As many of the listed sopranos (agree that Meier and Antonacci are mezzos, despite the fact that they sing some soprano roles) are focussing on German repertoire I would suggest to include a few (more) sopranos focussing on Italian repertoire: Gruberova, Devia, Cedolins and Dessi.

yvette said...

I know June Anderson is not often on stage lately, but she still 'counts'!
And for the Italian school so to speak
I really love Patrizia ciofi,( her Lucia, Violetta, Gilda... and soon I will see her Ophelie). She has her own ways on stage, very moving, with no pathos, charm I would say.

Anonymous said...

I think MARIA LUIGIA BORSI should be on this list too. And how can you forget Barbara Frittoli? Antonacci is NOT the only good Italian soprano out there..... she sings mezzo roles by the way, although a great artist, I would put her on the mezzo-soprano ballot.

Anonymous said...

I think MARIA LUIGIA BORSI should be on this list too. And how can you forget Barbara Frittoli? Antonacci is NOT the only good Italian soprano out there..... she sings mezzo roles by the way, although a great artist, I would put her on the mezzo-soprano ballot.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but where is Edita Gruberova??

She is still active, she is still in her prime, she should be on the list as well!!

For me she is the best.

Anonymous said...

X2 on Gruberova. She's the female Domingo and never seems to get old. And surely both Irene Theorin and Katarina Dalayman should get a shout as being the leading Wagerian soporano presently?

Alex said...

This must be a German Opera only blog. Where are the Italians: Frittoli, Dessi, Devia, Borsi, Ciofi, Cedolins etc etc ???
Antonacci is a wonderful artist but I would not consider her a 'soprano'. She's a mezzo... just look at her repertoire.
These Italian sopranos may not occupy every market but these are the best sopranos of Italian Opera without a doubt. Let's not be racist please!

Anonymous said...

Sondra Radvanovsky!!!

marcillac said...

Frittoli clearly belongs on the list by virtue both of her excellence in her repertoire and her general, and I think justified, prominence.

It also seems that otherwise the list is fairly well balanced. It is fair to note the absence of more Italians and Italian-oriented singers but might perhaps be convincingly explained by their lack of elevated merit. Schewanewilms (whom I'm less than enthusiastic about and Herlitizius (whom I like more) are also omitted event though can certainly be described as important proponents of the German repertoire.

HairMan said...

I've hesitated in speaking up for the following names because the list looks pretty daunting with reputations galore...but going on recent performances I've heard, and most importantly, enjoyed - I think the list would look a touch more interesting with Aleksandra Kurzak and Marina Poplavskaya added to it.

They may not have the weight of a hefty record label behind them, or (thankfully) a power crazy, myopic management team, but they are well worth catching on stage given that they are performers who give intriguing and (yikes!) entertaining performances.

Alex said...

This is the most ignorant comment yet regarding the absence of Italian sopranos on the list:
"explained by their lack of elevated merit".
This is so stupid......
The problem here is completely different:
1) Italians enjoy singing in Italy where the audience still understands opera due to a long tradition of music and great singers.
2) In Italy there is an Opera house in every city, so singers travel less, the money is pretty good and they stay closer to home.
3) Some of the greatest singers of this century were Italians that did not want an international career, like Giacomini. Domingo recognized Giacomini's talent but Domingo was a businessman and wanted the money too. Giacomini loved the music and was happy with less.
4) Audiences, in the US and Austria for example, believe almost everything the DG puts under their noses. (Decca seems more reasonable)
5) The Italian government does not invest in talent like the Russian government does.
6) If Andrea Bocelli is appreciated as a tenor in the US, Germany, UK etc this should say something about the people's capacity to judge singers. In Italy, on the other hand, he is not appreciated at all.
7) Italians can have a great career in Italy without ever stepping foot in another country.

There are so many factors, but to say about Italian sopranos: "convincingly explained by their lack of elevated merit" just proves that you have not done your homework.
Let's be frank, Italian singers are victims of racism in todays theaters; they are avoided whenever possible.
Riccardo Muti thinks that Netrebko is terrible and refuses to work with her (publicly announced). His opinion deserves an open ear.
Every singer has defects:
Netrebko has poor intonation.
Gheorghiu has poor rhythm and a bad Italian pronunciation.
Frittoli is not very expressive.
But if we look at only those singers that the recording industry has blow out of proportion, these votes are completely useless.

This vote be on sopranos roles, not in general.
Who sings Mozart is not necessarily a soprano Puccininano.
Wagner is not Mozart. There must be a better way to vote on singers without generalizing.

I agree that Marina Poplavskaya should be on the list along with Maria Luigia Borsi.

Anonymous said...

Krassimira Stoyanova!

Patricia Racette.

Veronique Gens.

Gandharva said...

Why don't we just include any singer from any role, from any opera, from anywhere in the world in the last year?

I'm sure everyone has their favorites and their nationalistic pride (although charges of racism are a little over the top), but the poll is for the single best soprano on stage. I'm sure Stoyanova is a fine singer, but does she really belong on a list with Fleming, Mattila, etc.? The nominations are great, but you can't let the final list get out of hand. You have to narrow the field to no more than 20 (and even that is probably too many). It has to be the best of the best.

Then do a best of German repertory, a best of Italian, a best of Russian, a best bel canto, a best dramatic, a best song cycle or lieder - so many possibilities.

Make the tough choices, Mostly. Don't dilute the list.

Anonymous said...

Irene Theorin? Violeta Urmana? Julia Kleiter? Annette Dasch? Kate Royal? Malin Hartelius????

mostly opera... said...

@ everyone: thanks for all the suggestions, HOWEVEVER I will narrow the list down to maximum 20 singer, perhaps fewer, taking into considerations the suggestions from you obviously. The perfect vote is something we shall never see - so we´ll have to settle for some (hopefully) qualified fun in the meantime..
I sort out the list tomorrow, after which voting begins.

Anonymous said...

Well, yes, actually, based on past experiences in the theater and on recordings I would say that Stoyanova does belong on a list with Mattila and Fleming. Fleming doesn't do much for me in general, Mattila and Stoyanova both do, which just goes to show.... nothing. There is no such thing as "The Best." It is subjective.

Anonymous said...

What of Sondra Radvanovsky? I can't think of many better Verdians currently singing today... and her career is just going up and up, what with premiering Aida this year, followed by Norma, Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena AND Elisabetta in 'Roberto Devereux'!!

curzon said...

Antonacci has always refused to be tied down to vocal categories or even fachs. I have just seen her do Alice in Paris and any singer who counts Medea, Rodelinda and Elvira in their rep deserves to be considered amongst sopranos.

Pepa said...

I think at least these should be added:
Violeta Urmana, Sondra Radvanovsky, Patrizia Raccete, Katarina Dalayman, Edita Gruberova, Patrizia Ciofi, Maria Guleghina, Tamar Iveri, Sumi Jo, Aleksandra Kurzak, Camilla Nylund, Irene Theorin, Marina Poplavskaya and of course Barbara Frittoli.

Pastor Bob Leroe said...

I'd vote for Susan Graham; I really enjoy her recordings and she's a great actress as well, at least in the videos I've seen.

Telramund said...

I vote for Nina Stemme, my very best soprano of this time !

Molly said...

What about Patricia Racette? I saw her several weeks ago at a recital here in DC and she was WONDERFUL! Also, or course, Renee Fleming is fantastic. I saw her at Carnegie Hall 2005 concert and she was incredible. And of course, Karita Mattila is amazing. I am watching her right now in Don Carlos and her performance is so moving.

LSV said...

Deborah Voigt

Anonymous said...

will you vote the best baritone too?

asperias

Anonymous said...

i would vote for Roschmann.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, EMILY MAGEE is missing. She just sang an amazing Kaiserin in Zurich, a role very few are able to sing as beautifully as she did.

Anonymous said...

What about Danielle de Niese, at 30 the star soprano with the full package, with a huge fan base behind her?

Graham E said...

Inessa Galante - top of the list!

Anonymous said...

Was Alexandra Kurzak omitted because she is too young? Controlled liquid notes and fabulous acting skills should count for a lot.

Anonymous said...

I like the italian soprano singer Maria Rota

Anonymous said...

Sumi Jo!

Anonymous said...

Why isn't Cecilia Bartoli on the list? I'm not sure I'd vote her as #1, but she should be on the list.

Anonymous said...

Simone Kermes

Anonymous said...

Elisabete Matos should definitely be considered; she's singing great roles everywhere and her recent appearence in MET proved that.

Philip Knijff said...

I would vote: Eva Maria Westbroek.

Outback Writer said...

Delighted to find this blog, as I love opera. I trained as an opera singer in Australia but wasn't good enought to make it. But I used my experiences at opera school and wrote my first novel, which I called Vissi d'arte.

I'll be watching this blog with great interest.

Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Jackie Evancho, at only ten years of age, already has a wonderous ability to bring intense pleasure to many who have never before appreciated the beauty of operatic music.

Anonymous said...

NATALIE DESSAY! while this is a fantastic list, shes definitely the greatest. Voice is superb, like delicate crystal, and acting TOPS all of these. Acting to me is sometimes more important than just hitting all the notes right. love you Natalie <3

Anonymous said...

Eva-Maria Westbroek!

Anonymous said...

Eva-Maria Westbroek is my favorite soprano !

Doru said...

Angela Gheorghiu!

Anonymous said...

Aleksandra Kurzak !!!

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