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Old Fashioned

The Most Beautiful Faces in Opera

38 posts in this topic

This idea sprung out of nowhere; I thought it might make an interesting topic. Who do you think are the most beautiful opera singers in the world, past or present?

My picks are Maria Callas, Angela Gheoghiu, Elizabeth Futral, Hei-Kyung Hong, and Renee Fleming. Kathleen Battle would be among them if that other part of her didn't overshadow everything else.

As for the men, I'm sorry to say I can only think of a couple. Juan Diego Florez and Placido Domingo (back in his heyday).

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Franco Corelli was the complete opposite of the stereotypical short, fat Italian tenor. He was was tall, handsome, and sang gloriously.

Beverly Sills was beautiful. So was Renata Tebaldi, despite what Rudolf Bing called her "dimples of steel."

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Riki Turofsky (Canadian Opera Company and New York City Opera) is my pick.

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i haven't seen a lot of opera - indeed NONE in the last 10 years - so my frame of reference is out of date, but i immediately thought of kathleen battle. she always reminded me of fonteyn.

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Working now:

Natalie Dessay. French. Trained as a ballet dancer. Gorgeous. See her while you can because she is having recurrent vocal crises that might spell a very early end to what has been a fabulous career.

Denyce Graves. She has had a few PBS specials. She sang at one of the immediate post 9/11/01 memorials. Like Dessay, a knockout.

Hey-Kyung Hong. Easy to see her in NYC. The Met is her home company--she doesn't travel much.

Susan Graham Tall and voluptous, seems to work everywhere.

Karita Mattila. Finnish, sings in NYC a lot. Check out the cover of her recent CD "Live in Helskinki". A bombshell.

Anne Sofie von Otter. Swedish. Very rarely gets to North America, but an international star. See the her on the cover of "Ariodante".

Retired from the stage:

Shirley Verrett. Classic African American beauty.

Maria Callas. Fat Callas, Thin Callas, whatever.

Kiri Te Kanawa. Has been on PBS often. She still does some recitals.

Lucia Popp. The girl next door, if you lived in Prague.

Lisa della Casa. Swiss soprano in the 50s and 60s, had movie star looks.

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On this subject, I think beauty may be in the ear of the beholder.

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That's true FF, but I was actually merely choosing on looks. They are not all among my favorites. And oh my gosh! how could I have forgotten Tebaldi. She is actually one of my favorite sopranos, and yes, she is very beautiful. :o "Dimples of steel" is an insult?

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And then there was Roberta Peters - part of the "Terrible Trio" of the old Met. Robert Merrill, Jan Peerce, and Roberta. They were the most inveterate practical jokers in the company.

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Anna Moffo was (is? haven't seen her in a while) very beautiful, IMO. I think Beverly Sills looks great now, and I second Farrell Fan's nomination of Franco Corelli. I suppose Roberta Peters is beautiful, but she made the strangest faces when she sang. And how about Ruth Ann Swenson?

I heard that Lucia Popp passed away a few years ago...of cancer? I loved her voice.

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June Anderson is still the most beautiful of all & I've seen her up close & personal.

Lucia Popp, sadly, did die of cancer several years ago.

I remember the Carnegie Hall performance of "Semele" (oh, how I miss those series produced by Matthew Epstein with amazing casts, great conductors & terrific orchestras) with Battle as Semele singing the aria "Myself I do adore" dressed in a fabulous white gown & holding a mirror. I doubt there was one person in the house that didn't adore her right along with herself.

Shirley Verrett was just 70 & is still breathtaking.

Among the men: Alfredo Kraus was an elegantly handsome man (I am entirely partisan here) & Peter Hoffmann was quite the hottie.

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Originally posted by Old Fashioned

 "Dimples of steel" is an insult?

Bing used that in reference to Tebaldi's negotiation style when it cam to her roles, scheduling, others in the cast and even costuming. She simply didn't budge from what she thought was best.

Which made it very difficult for Schuyler Chaplin (probably spelled wrong), Bing's successor, to tell Renata that it was time for her to move to a less challenging rep.

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Geraldine Farrar. Mary Garden. Frederica von Stade.

I don't know that I would rank Tebaldi along with della Casa, Moffo, et al. here. Beautiful voice, yes.

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Yes, Hans, Anna Moffo is still beautiful, although she has had some health problems lately.

Surprised no one has suggested Angelika Kirschlager; she's truly lovely.

I thought Dessay's surgery had solved her vocal problems, no?

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Baritone & recent CBE Simon Keenlyside does not only have a voice to match his looks and physique (yoga? Pliates? body building?) , he moves well. The WINTEREISSE staging he collaborated on with Trisha Brown is being presented in August @ John Jay College as part of MOSTLY MOZART. It was performed in December '02 as part of GREAT PERFORMERS & I'm seeing it again.

Another beautiful face, though it is usually disguised in old-guy make-up, is bass Rene Pape. In April I saw him in person at a Met Guild Seminar & he looks younger than 38...he could easily pass for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s long lost Teutonic cousin! Pape's voice could end up being one for the ages. His acting, particularly as King Marke in TRISTAN, is convincing and moving. I don't know if it was intentional but his Orestes in ELEKTRA looked and sounded like the maenads were already driving him insane. He does GIOVANNI but will instead do Leparello next season @ the Met with another heart-throb, Thomas Hampson. ;)

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Glad to hear it, zerbinetta:). She has the most wonderful eyes.

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Elizabeth Schwartzkopf.

Eleanor Steber.

Anna Moffo (remember when she got in trouble for those risque roles?)

Lily Pons for figure, if nothiing else. Good gracious.

Corelli, of course. Sigh....although I am not a tenor groupie....

I always love Thomas Stewart (I happen to like the eyebrows.....)

Sherrill Milnes

Callas in a class by herself

Juan Diego Flores, Thomas Hampson, Jose Cura....now.

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Lisa Della Casa - a softer Grace Kelly.

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Another beauty whom I remember from my childhood: Rise Stevens.

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Just wondering if we should separate our faves in terms of Beauties Onstage, Beauties Offstage & Beauties OnorOff.

For instance, Kiri te Kanawa, who was one of the most breathtaking women on any stage, offstage is an attractive woman with overly close-set eyes. Rise Stevens was chic & attractive enough offstage but on, the woman was dynamite.

Anderson, Battle, Fleming & Mattila are in the OnorOff category.

Deborah Voigt & Jessye Norman look like very big ladies onstage but off they are both quite beautiful women.

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I stumbled across an album today in the opera section at Barnes & Noble. This Greek "tenor," Mario Frangoulis, is very good looking. :thumbsup: He doesn't exactly count as an opera singer, I don't think; he's more along the lines of Russell Watson and Josh Groban. I listened to one of his songs featured on a free sample cd, and even though I generally don't like the "opera-pop fusion," his music isn't that bad. :rolleyes: Anyone else heard of him, have any thoughts?

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Ah, and I just bought a Turandot highlights cd, featuring Montserrat Caballé as Liu. She is quite beautiful.

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Sam Ramey

Sherrill Milnes (as Athanael in Thais? to die for)

Dwayne Croft

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Anna Netrebko , young soprano of the Mariinsky, is extremely beautiful. She sang at the televised St Petersburg 300th anniversary gala concert last May. She has a wonderful voice too. See her here:

http://www.annanetrebko.com/

:crying:

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Does anyone remember Viorica Cortez, a Romanian soprano? I thought she was beautiful.

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I was watching my "Great Moments in Opera" video the other day and came up with another to add: Judith DePaul.

I think Marilyn Horne has a very beautiful face.

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