Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...


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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So, You Think You're a Tenor...

I really love and hate reality competition shows like "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance". On one hand, it's great to see people that would not ordinarily have a chance to shine in the vocal or performance spotlight become superstars. But I think it can become overdone, and in some cases, one particular piece of music becomes worn out. So, to that end, I'll present the case for "So You Think You're a Tenor".

In the last few years, the show "Britain's Got Talent", and it's American step brother, "America's Got Talent", have showcased a number of talented and incredible performers, especially in the vocal arena. This last year, Susan Boyle was the latest vocalist to achieve worldwide acclaim by blowing away the likes of Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan with incredible voices despite rather regular, humdrum appearances.

The current trend seems to be those that think they can sing "Nessum Dorma" from Pucini's opera "Turandot". The song is, by ear, a beautiful song, the music well constructed in a way hardly done anymore. While one Brit pulled it off, and made my skin breakout in goosebumps, no one in my mind can come close to Luciano Pavarotti:

OK, maybe Pavarotti, Domingo, and Carreras all together:

This American tried, did OK in my opinion, but did not have the crisp voice that makes the song:

So, you think you can do it like Pavarotti? I don't think so...

Brief aside -- if you read the description of the song, it's actually quite morbid, as most operas were in those days, I think. The story goes that Princess Turandot needs to guess the name of the Calaf, else have to marry him in the morning. The song title means "No One Shall Sleep" because the Princess, being the cold hearted bitch she was, told all her servants to stay up all night and find his name, or else they would all die.

I think, after time, "Nessum Dorma" will be overdone and boring, but Luciano is, by far, the king of this aria. Hands down.

Further on the "...Got Talent" show, this performance was more impressive to me. Natalie from London, a mere 10 years old, doing Alicia Keys, was great. and more inspiring than any of them. And there are other examples of this type of performance all over YouTube.

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