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I am a singer-researcher with expertise in Karnatik Music and Early Opera. I discuss intercultural music-making contexts. My work is available at www.charulathamani.com and at www.youtube.com/isaipayanam

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Passing of a Legend


The passing away of Carlo Bergonzi recently, marks the end of an era in Opera. One of the foremost Verdian tenors of the 20th century, Bergonzi will always be remembered and admired for his velvety timbre, impeccable taste, unsurpassed lyricism. Bergonzi's musicianship was exemplary, a master of technique and taste. Listening to Bergonzi sing, is like attending a masterclass in voice production, breath control, legato, colouring, one could go on and on...

While Bergonzi's interpretation of lyrical roles was the gold standard for many, including Edgardo (Lucia), Riccardo (Un Ballo), both Rodolfos (Boheme and Luisa Miller), Alfredo (Traviata), Pinkerton (Butterfly) and others, he still had the heft for successfully essaying heavier roles like Radames (Aida), Manrico (Trovatore).

Bergonzi was an exponent of the old-school "stand-and-deliver" style, with minimal emphasis on acting, preferring to act through his voice, with finely chiseled detail in his interpretations. We attended a performance of L'Elisir d'Amore at Munich this summer, where the very fit tenor actually climbed a lampost on set and delivered "Una furtiva lagrima" perched at the top! Bergonzi's performances were in contrast low on stage antics and maximal in musicality.

His career, spanning half a century, is a shining example to all singers, his last major public performance being at the age of 75! 

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