September 29, 2022

Why the soprano? Most people might agree that she occupies a very powerful place in classical music. From an imperious onstage presence to an frequently comparable personality offstage, the exceptional diva has an air of daunting mystery approximately her.

And even as it may be much less so these days, the first-class soprano can occupy the equal pedestal as many Hollywood actors. We worship and adore them for who they’re and what they do, however we’re ultimately terrified of them.

So who’re – or have been – the most opulent sopranos of all time? A tricky one, to be sure. When we asked 22 foremost opera critics for his or her pinnacle ten sopranos our very last list contained over ninety one-of-a-kind singers.

Many names, of direction, had been right away recognisable, a massive number now not alive and numerous had been what you may call ‘forgotten gem stones’. Now, you’ll discover that have meant the maximum to them, excited them and moved them. So take a seat lower back and allow the show begin as we list the best sopranos of all timeMore like thisWhat is a soprano?The 20 Greatest Tenors of all TimeThe exceptional sopranos ever20. Elly Ameling (b1933)

In 20th role is Elly Ameling. Born in Rotterdam in 1933, the legendary Dutch soprano charmed audiences international with her Lieder recitals for over 4 decades, before retiring to train.

Though I never heard her live, Elly Ameling changed into the consumer saint of my musical teens. I can’t recollect the recording I heard first – her mild-as-air overall performance of Schubert’s Seligkeit, her deeply-felt St Matthew Passion, her creamy Mozart Concert Arias, or her hilarious rendition of Cole Porter’s ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing’ – but my love of her voice has never faded.

In Schubert, Mozart, Haydn, French Song, and specially in Bach, she turned into the usual-bearer for light sopranos: a singer with a herbal smile in her voice, and one that could trade from a beam of girlish glee to comfort.

In many years steadily intoxicated by using larger voices, the candour, delicacy and attraction of her singing become uniquely touching. And how will you no longer love a soprano who desired the intimacy of Lieder recitals to the tough glamour of opera? Anna Picard

In her personal words: ‘I felt moved at the beginning of the concert, once I got a heat reception. This took place when I did my first recital at Alice Tully Hall in 1970 and I didn’t understand what became occurring. I thought they preferred my dress.’10 girl composers you must knowSix of the most inspiring women in song19. Rosa Ponselle (1897-1981)

nineteenth location at the best sopranos ever listing goes to Rosa Ponselle. For a lot of folks who skilled both singers live, Rosa Ponselle turned into even more, both as a voice and as an artist, than Maria Callas.

After a teenage profession as a vaudeville singer, Rosa Ponselle, on the age of 20 and without a previous operatic enjoy, made her debut on the New York Met in 1918 within the leading role of Leonora in Verdi’s La forza del destino, partnering Enrico Caruso. Apart from three seasons at Covent Garden (1929-31) and one at the Maggio Musicale in Florence (1933), her operatic appearances were all with that business enterprise.

She created unforgettable impressions in such operas as Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine, Ponchielli’s La Gioconda, Montemezzi’s L’amore di tre re, Verdi’s La traviata and Bellini’s Norma. Her recordings monitor the liquid gold of her voice, heady in emotional energy, with a matchless experience of line and legato.

Bass Ezio Pinza recalled performances when, ‘in place of considering my very own position, I would be lost in the darkish splendour of her voice’. For Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, she turned into ‘last perfection’, at the same time as for Callas she become ‘the best singer folks all’. George Hall

In her very own phrases: ‘Believe me, I labored tough, so tough that I never honestly had a lifestyles of my own in all the years I become making a song. You additionally ought to be someone who is inclined to suffer, to feel the pain that goes with all of it.’A brief guide to Verdi’s RequiemThe 20 Greatest Conductors of all time18. Renata Tebaldi (1922-2004)

Renata Tebaldi is next in 18th region. Renata Tebaldi changed into the leading Italian soprano of the Fifties and Sixties in the Verdi and Puccini repertoire. She had a creamy voice, in which the listener should bask.

Tebaldi started her profession in Italy as World War II changed into finishing, and got here to global stardom singing under Toscanini at the re-beginning of La Scala in 1946. She used her voice skilfully, and have become the main Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello (one zero one performances) and Mimì in Puccini’s La bohème (111 performances), and he or she particularly restricted herself to the past due nineteenth and early twentieth-century Italian repertoire.

She discovered how to be an adequate actress, but especially acted with the voice, and in certain roles she have become a interesting dramatic presence. Famous for her heat coronary heart, perhaps also for her ‘metallic dimples’ (Rudolph Bing), she became adored on two continents and had a protracted and pleasurable profession. Michael Tanner

In her very own phrases: ‘I know that my voice has entered into the hearts of many human beings and has caused lovely reactions. Therefore, how can I not be glad about this extremely good present?’Nine of the best present day woman composersThe 20 Greatest Symphonies of all time17. Christine Brewer (b1960)

First heard as a Mozartian, Christine Brewer has retained the ability of her lyric voice whilst including to its strength.

A peerless Isolde in Wagner’s Tristan, she is now in her high. At the peak of the hoo-hah over Deborah Voigt’s dismissal over weight troubles from Christof Loy’s manufacturing of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, it turned into extraordinary that no one asked Christine Brewer what she idea approximately the Little Black Dress that induced all the problem.

But the quietly-spoken Mid-Westerner has little hobby in building a media profile, and would be the closing to criticise a soprano for placing on weight or losing it. If her very own body has held her lower back on stage, she has triumphed inside the live performance hall. Brewer’s amazing, lustrous, clean sound is startling sufficient in Wagner, Mahler, Berg and Britten.

Married to ideal diction, meticulous shading and extremely good phrasing, it’s miles a miracle in Schubert and Strauss. Less steady personalities would have lost the plot with a voice like this, yet Brewer never takes her superb sound as a right and prioritises text and melody. She is a conscientious and generous musician. Anna Picard

In her personal words: ‘The commonplace threads in singing roles like Isolde, Elizabeth I [Gloriana], Leonora [Fidelio] etc is that I locate the vulnerability in these girls – I try to discover what makes them take dangers, after which I take the ones risks.’The nice productions of Wagner’s Tristan und IsoldeTop 20 Britten recordingssixteen. Elisabeth Schumann (1888-1952)

These days, Schumann is seen as a gourmet’s singer, but her call changed into once inseparably connected with such Mozart roles as Susanna, Blonde and Despina, and Strauss’s Sophie.

My advent to ancient recordings got here via Elisabeth Schumann, and there could not have been a better one. My mother, who had never forgotten a Johannesburg recital Schumann gave rapidly before her untimely dying in 1952, cherished her facts; and though as a young boy I first discovered the non-stereo sound a little off-putting, the soprano’s unique tone quality shone through.

She added tangible human spirit to the whole lot she sang. No less a discerning lover of the soprano voice than Richard Strauss adored her, persuading her to enroll in the Vienna State Opera in 1919. He also accompanied her in his songs on a 1921 excursion of the United States, the united states wherein she become to settle while she determined to go away Nazi-occupied Vienna.

Though the sadness of exile mixed with a few inevitable loss of bloom may also have affected her 1938 recordings of Brahms Lieder, those continue to be amongst her maximum haunting monuments on disc. John Allison

In her personal phrases: ‘The masterworks of track encompass within themselves a few mystery powers.’An introduction to Debussy’s Pélleas et MélisandeThe 20 Greatest Tenors of all time15. Karita Mattila (b1960)

Known as the ‘Finnish Venus’, Mattila is a degree animal whose performances bring conviction unsurpassed within the opera house these days.

The Cardiff Singer of the World opposition may also have had its hits and misses, however it can rarely have were given off to a better or greater prophetic start than via making Mattila its first-ever winner in 1983.

Though Mattila is now instantly recognisable from her striking stage presence and Nordic-tinged voice, she took her career slowly and wisely, shying away from elements that could have broken her voice, and it became as a Mozartian that she became well-known. The turning factor changed into Chrysothemis in Elektra, Strauss’s drama of obsessive own family vengeance, at Salzburg simply over a decade ago.

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