I found myself devouring Natalie Dessay videos on youtube last night, which made me super-happy, so I decided to do a little playlist of my favorite “classical” singers singing my favorites. It’s all women. I love Thom Yorke, Ed Drost, Jens Lekman, and Zach Condon…but I’m honestly not passionate about any male “classical” singers.
#7 Frederica von Stade, “Voi che sapete”
Cherubino has always been my number one, I-don’t-care-if-I’m-a-soprano-Imma-steal-it-anyway role, and while this song is in some ways very simple, it just gets right up under my break and sits there if I sing it in B flat. Anyway, i just love her, not just because of her beautiful voice, but von Stade just seems like a sweet, down-to-earth person.
#6 Jan DeGaetani, “Mondnacht”
I can’t remember if I came across her in undergrad or graduate school, but I was drawn to her because of her untimely death. She’s another one who gives me mezzosoprano envy. This song is so beautiful that I never attempted it out of respect.
#5 Sumi Jo, “Ah! non credea / Ah, non giunge”
She is pretty much the rockstar coloratura for gen Xers, and I do love me some Bellini. I sung this in college, because I’m an idiot.
#4 Teresa Berganza, “Una voce poco fa”
This is the the ONLY Rosina. Sopranos need to step off of this song. GTFO of here if you don’t agree. I actually had this on my gym mix for years, because it’s fucking DOPE.
I admit it. I sing it in the shower.
#3 Sylvia McNair, “Come, now a roundel”
Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is my favorite opera, and I had the honor of her performing Tytania in…1996, I think? at New York State Opera. I met her and completely fangirled. I said something like “I love you!” and she’s like “Aw, that’s sweet.” I think I said, “No, I mean it–I love you. I wish you could be my mom.” She was an inspiration to me when I was younger because she still made a career even with a relatively small voice.
#2 Hila Plitman, “The Reckoning”
I know, I know, this is TOTALLY not classical music. But she wrote it, and her husband, Eric Whitacre (one of my favorite composers) is conducting it, so I’m a happy girl.
I first heard her sing when Whitacre’s opera…musical…weird hybrid show, “Paradise Lost,” was performed at Carnegie Hall in 2010. Before the show, I was reading the program, and I was all “Awwwww, he wrote the lead role for his wife. That’s so sweet!” And then i heard her sing, and I was “HOLY. SHIT.” She’s amazing.
This song is easy stuff compared to what she can do, but I lurrrrrrrrves it:
#1 Natalie Dessay, The Doll’s Song
THIS IS THE FUCKING QUEEN. DROP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND BOW DOWN.
I can’t embed the video, but here’s the link.