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UBC Theses and Dissertations

New York critics review Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi : a study in critical approaches to the inter-relationship of singing and acting in opera Van Campen, Mariko


The following study is an analysis of New York reviews of performances of Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi which attempts to discover what opera critics feel to be the most effective artistic balance between singing and acting in opera. Callas and Tebaldi have been chosen as the subjects of the reviews because of their renown as singers, the closely coinciding circumstances of their careers and the polarities which they represented in the issue of acting versus singing in operatic performance. The primary data of the study (largely opera, concert and recording reviews) has been taken from distinguished American journals, such as Saturday Review. The New Yorker. Musical America and The New York Times. Secondary information has been extracted from "news" journals, such as Time and Newsweeky and books, most of which were written by critics who figure prominently in the main body of the analysis. The information (consisting of news stories, personal interviews with the singers, and discussions of critical obligations) has been included in order to gain a broader perspective on the critics, the singers and the concept of acting in opera. The general conclusion reached in this study is that though most critics demand much musical and little dramatic finesse in operatic performance, they are capable of profound appreciation of a singer's histrionic talent and will overlook many vocal flaws when it is manifest.

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