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Robin Blaze (Counter-tenor)
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See: Robin Blaze - Short Biography


Suzuki Vol. 20 / Robin Blaze


Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 12, 2003):
< Thomas Shepherd wrote: BIS has improved it’s website recently and I am in total agreement with their own blurb about this new release, (http://www.bis.se/frlatest.htm) “Like its predecessors it is self-recommending!” >
Yes but... I have only listened to it once, but am disappointed that Robin Blaze has been replaced by a female alto...

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 13, 2003):
Kirk McElhearn stated: < Yes but... I have only listened to it once, but am disappointed that Robin Blaze has been replaced by a female alto... >
Au contraire!

Much depends upon the quality of the female alto voice which could be worse than what she replaces, but a change was definitely needed! Admittedly, it is difficult to find someone of the caliber of Andreas Scholl. For many reasons, some of which I am unable to describe, I have been unable to connect with Blaze singing Bach arias. Mera and Blaze are both half-voices with serious problems in the low range where the volume and warmth of a good female alto (full-voiced) are really needed. Both Mera and Blaze sang in a language that was foreign to them; Mera, remarkably, despite his small voice, was able to sing the German religious text much more convincingly (and more beautifully) than Blaze who somehow gave the impression that he was not at home in expressing either the German language honestly and directly, his voice being better suited to singing Baroque operas (Händel, etc.); nor did he sound comfortable with the text and the religious thoughts that needed to be appropriately!
expressed.

Granted, it is not easy to shift to a foreign language, but it is even more difficult to sing Bach arias with a sense of what is appropriate for a sacred music setting. In this, even native German singers have also failed. Two names, Edith Mathis and Helen Donath, that come to mind are full-voiced sopranos 'of the old school' with voices that were extremely well-trained (at one point earlier in their careers) who later began losing vocal control, but more importantly were unable to shift from opera/operetta singing to a truly sacred style which Bach's sacred music demands.
[snip]

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (January 13, 2003):
< Thomas Braatz wrote: What do other list members think about this matter? >
I think you make very valid points:

Primarily, I definitely agree with your statement involving the religious/faith aspect to it-the fifth evangelist needs special treatment

as mainly a Händelian, though, I think that, even at that level, the transition between a Händel opera and a Bach cantata is not as great as the transition between Baroque-Classical and other eras (classical referring to the era, not the general style that most people think of it as), especially with HIP. I can think of only one singer who really does this transition well: von Otter. In an HIP world filled with countertenors, this mezzo still holds strong, while she can still belt out Die Fledermaus (I have the "Look how great they sound" DVD). I think that's a bigger achievement, because even as a listener, the transition between baroque and romantic can sometimes be difficult.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 13, 2003):
< Thomas Braatz wrote: Much depends upon the quality of the female alto voice which could be worse than what she replaces, but a change was definitely needed! Admittedly, it is difficult to find someone of the caliber of Andreas Scholl. For many reasons, some of which I am unable to describe, I have been unable to connect with Blaze singing Bach arias. Mera and Blaze are both half-voices with serious problems in the low range where the volume and warmth of a good female alto (full-voiced) are really needed. Both Mera and Blaze sang in a language that was foreign to them; Mera, remarkably, despite his small voice, was able to sing the German religious text much more convincingly (and more beautifully) than Blaze who somehow gave the impression that he was not at home in expressing either the German language honestly and directly, his voice being better suited to singing Baroque operas (Händel, etc.); nor did he sound comfortable with the text and the religious thoughts that needed to be appropriately expres sed. >
You may be more sensitive to his diction, but I like Blaze's voice very much. I find it ethereal and almost angelic at times. Nothing against the new female alto (she's Japanese), but I'll miss Blaze, if he is to be permanently replaced.

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 14, 2003):
< Kirk McElhearn stated: Yes but... I have only listened to it once, but am disappointed that Robin Blaze has been replaced by a female alto... >>
< Thomas Braatz wrote:
Au contraire!
Much depends upon the quality of the female alto voice which could be worse than what she replaces, but a change was definitely needed! Admittedly, it is difficult to find someone of the caliber of Andreas Scholl. For many reasons, some of which I am unable to describe, I have been unable to connect with Blaze singing Bach arias. Mera and Blaze are both half-voices with serious problems in the low range where the volume and warmth of a good female alto (full-voiced) are really needed. Both Mera and Blaze sang in a language that was foreign to them; Mera, remarkably, despite his small voice, was able to sing the German religious text much more convincingly (and more beautifully) than Blaze who somehow gave the impression that he was not at home in expressing either the German language honestly and directly, his voice being better suited to singing Baroque operas (Händel, etc.); nor did he sound comfortable with the text and the religious thoughts that needed to be appropriately expressed. >
Robin Blaze is not my favourite counter-tenor. He has problems to bring out drama
and aria that are demanding in expressive terms are a little bit heavy for his shoulders. However, he has his moments. The feminine quality of his voice and his tender expression suit very well some arias. The charming rendition of the duet for soprano and alto from Cantata BWV 186 where he sings with Miah Persson is only one example.
[snip]

Neil Halliday wrote (January 26, 2001):
[To Thomas Braatz ] Regarding Robin Blaze,

I heard him singing in a large scale choral work (not an opera) by Händel some time ago, and was very impressed by the accuracy of intonation of his voice, as well as being pleased by the relative lack of vibrato he used.

I would have thought he would be capable of fine singing in the Bach cantatas; but I suppose there are no guarantees - we have already seen how the same singer can be 'good' and 'bad' in different movements of the same cantata (eg, Equiluz in a recently discused cantata). I have not heard the Suzuki vol.20.

The (impossible?) search for the ideal voice continues....


Robin Blaze: Short Biography | General Discussions

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Last update: ýJanuary 25, 2003 ý14:39:16