Archive for the ‘ruža pospiš – baldani’ Tag

Rare Gems: A Dramatic Soprano Meet ‘n Greet

Underrated. Forgotten. Neglected. Unknown.


Spanish Soprano Angeles Gulin

Call them what you will. Re-discovering such divas has always been the pride of Opera Queens the world round, just like hipster punks staking their claim on discovering the coolest, unknown bands. But, back in the day it took the divining powers to wade through the sea of “pirates”! Today, we all know a quick click on youtube takes us places that it would require months of recording research to get to in the past.

So, I’m pleased to share a series of some notable, and some great “would be stars today” divas, suffering from varying degrees of neglect in posterity. No, I’m not talking about Gencer, Cerquetti, Souliotis, or Deutekom…they’re too easy, and hardly forgotten any longer. I’m focusing on dramatic and spinto sopranos (plus a bonus mezzo and baritone), billed by me as Divas With Cojones! Since they are among the rarest operatic fachs these days, and offer the most visceral thrill, they also deserve our greatest honor and sentiment. I hope these discoveries provide you the same pleasure they do me.

Why aren’t they household names?


They were either of a more eccentric type, dimmed by health problems, from smaller countries that offered less intl. exposure, or denied recording contracts of perhaps more “refined” singers. All this contributed to their lack of attention or fame, but conversely they now offer more unique pleasures. I just started to scratch the surface when I touted lesser known contemporary divas Anne Schwanewilms and Paula Almerares.

So, I now introduce (or, perhaps reintroduce) you to these fine Wagnerians, Verdians, and Mozarteans:

Anita Välkki (b. Sääksmäki, 1926)


This Finnish hochdramatische’s (heroic-dramatic) tone and tireless technique bears a resemblance to another more famous Scandinavian, although it’s even more dark and pleasing to my ears. Judging by these samples, it appears that perhaps only a lack of a leading role in the Solti Decca Ring (ie: Third Norn, instead of Brünnhilde), or the rumored onset of a short top (evidenced by later mezzo roles) kept her from becoming the household name that Nilsson did. What a crime. Amazingly, she began her career as an actress, and in operetta.

Enjoy her and the outrageously loud prompter in this “In Questa Reggia,” from Turandot (Puccini):

ThisO Don Fatale,” from Don Carlos (Verdi) is an unexpected treat, outside her fach, but VERY satisfying!

And, finally, Brünnhilde’sHo-jo-to-ho!,” from Die Walküre. This also offers some great video clips of her offstage, and of NYC.

Continue This Engaging Meet ‘n Greet!

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