You really have to hear and watch the young Birgit Nilsson negotiate the difficulties of Wagner's Liebestod in concert with orchestra to appreciate the enormous control she has technically. It has many close-ups of her face, which demonstrate the accurate techical adjustments to maximize the inner height and flow of air behind her "mask" -- which keep the continuity of the air stream in the right place for continued resonance without engaging other unnecessary muscles. Watch particularly the physical calm of her body, the changing facial muscles and mouth position as the pitches and words flow in a continuous vocal line; each note perfectly supported and positioned. And the side view at the final phrases -- at around 4:50 -- is most instructive. Definitely the LEXUS of vocal techniques.
We are about to open Donizett's DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT with Manon Strauss Evrard in the title role. Although both the voice and the repertoire are bel canto rather than Wagnerian I think there are many similarities of technical prowess -- Manon's moving much faster and in a much more varied way as the repertoire demands of course. But here we have an equally prodigious vocal talent and technique in its early stages, but one driven by a totally engaged and fast-paced physical and musical vocal personality. Very interesting. Don't miss it! Starting Nov 14 in Virginia.
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