10 Observations on Nezhdanova

Some quick observations on Russian coloratura Nezhdanova, to whom Rachmaninoff dedicated his Vocalise:

  1. The singer is not young.
  2. The voice is startlingly bright.
  3. The breath renewal is slight and free of gasping or need to breathe.
  4. The singer appears to sing on MINIMAL air.
  5. The tone is rock steady and lacks any ‘wobble,’ despite the singer’s advanced age.
  6. The tone has a ‘girlish’ quality.
  7. The mouth postures are largely non-divergent, the mouth opening slight for the top notes.
  8. The top note is sustained for some time on what would appear to be a minimal intake of breath.
  9. The sound possesses what the Italians might call ‘squillo.’
  10. The singing appears to be largely effortless and devoid of strain, pressure, push, or forcing.
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