So with apologies, I’ve been absent from the site a bit, but I can assure you, I have not been absent of Whitman! With much thanks to Whitman, I’ve discovered the contralto voice! This is a giant step for me, having never been interested in anything with the opera, whatsoever. But I am happy to discover a new infatuation with the opera, in particular the contralto voice.
In Whitman’s time, Marietta Alboni was the contralto. In fact, she is widely considered to be the best contralto ever. You can be certain I’ll share more about Marietta Alboni in future posts. In Whitman’s own words, “Alboni had a big influence on me, on Leaves of Grass, without her, there would be no Leaves of Grass.”
Unfortunately, no recordings survive of Marietta Alboni’s voice. But one great modern day contralto I have discovered (ok, two great modern day contralto’s) are Ewa Podles and Marijana Mijanovic.
There is a definite and distinct difference in their vocal range. Ewa has a deeper and more mature sound than Marijana. But I have come to realize a deep appreciation for them both!
Take a listen…