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RIP Giulietta Simionato

One of the great singers has died, age 99. Take a moment to honor the artistry of Giulietta Simionato.

(The fact that Mario Del Monaco is inexplicably costumed as Fred Flintstone shouldn't detract from the vocal wattage.)

And don't miss this Anna Bolena duet with Callas.

Back in my youth, Simionato, while I venerated her, seemed to me a lighter and more elegant singer than the force-of-nature Ebe Stignani, another idol. Listening now, I'm reminded of just how substantial a vocal presence she was, with a dark lower register that sounded formidable without descending into caricature, and a stunning legato. And if I just unexpectedly spent a lot more time this morning revisiting these and other favorite old recordings than I had planned, I can think of no better way to honor the memory of a great artist.

By Anne Midgette  |  May 5, 2010; 11:36 AM ET
Categories:  random musings  
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For many years I have revisited most of Giulietta Simionato's recordings.
One favorite of mine is her recording of Donizetti's "La Favorita".
I also would like to mention the fact that she, like the other great italian mezzo Fedora Barbieri are great artits in their own right.
The fact that they colaborated with Maria Callas, is inmaterial to me.

Posted by: Zurga | May 6, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

As a tribute, I am now listening to her interpretation of Orfeo (Gluck) from a Salzburg, 1959, conducted by Karajan with Jurinac as Euridice and Sciutti as Amore. The legato is indeed remarcable, but also her gift as interpreter: you can feel her pain from the first measure when she exclaims "Euridice."

Grazie mille di cuore!

Posted by: cicciofrancolando | May 6, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

cicciofrancolando, I agree with you about her interpretation. The Aida clip I posted is an interesting example. I bet some people would see it as an example of old bad park-and-bark, but though the physical gestures (both hers and Del Monaco's) are highly stylized, they're in the service of a deeply felt interpretation. You just have to listen, rather than merely watch, to get it.

Posted by: Anne Midgette | May 6, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree; in fact I didn't even look at the video clip, prefering to simply listen to the music. The interpretation is in the voice.

Posted by: cicciofrancolando | May 7, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

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