Voice of a Legend
Jeremy D. Wance | Norman, OK United States | 01/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dame Eva Turner was arguably the greatest singer that England produced in the last century. Sadly, she was also one of the most under-recorded singers in history. This compilation finally releases in one package all of the material that we know of at this time. Unfortunately, that means that there are numerous recordings of the same arias, done at different times. Rumors continue as to the existence of more material in the vaults of companies in England, but none of that is available.What you will hear is the voice of the definitive Turandot, a role which Dame Eva premiered in many houses, though the first performance of the opera was sung by Rosa Raisa. However, Franco Alfano, who completed the opera after Puccini's death proclaimed Dame Eva as the perfect Turandot. She effortlessly produces enormous waves of sound that are, at turns, steely or supple. Her instrument was one that has only been equaled by the great Birgit Nilsson.Dame Eva left the stage in 1949 and moved to Oklahoma, where she was a professor of voice at the University of Oklahoma for 10 years before returning to her native England and taking her place on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory. She died in 1990, at the age of 98."
Interesting representation of the singer
Jeremy D. Wance | 11/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eva Turner was condemned to be remembered as a one role singer; the role of Turrandot. Her artistry went far beyond that. She was a slow starter in many ways, and it took a considerable amount of time for major houses outside Italy to notice her. Yes, she was enjoyed and used in the Italian opera houses, but ignored in her own land. Eventually, she made her debut there and was a hit. Her voice is not to everyone's liking, and some critics found her interpretations very "ordinary." Some felt she couldn't color her voice enough to render complete interpretations of the roles she sang. The real problem was her voice was not subtle at all. Through her development it grew and grew in size (many other singers didn't want to sing with her, not because of her personality -- she was a trouper, but because they had to strain so to be heard when singing with her). As with all very large voices, the virtues are astonishing and the vices just as pronounced. Perhaps she was not capable of much subtle coloring as many smaller voices were capable of, but she was able to "raise the roof" in the theatres she sang in, and present a very powerful living drama. Her intonation was nearly perfect at all times. And, unlike is often thought, she had great stage presence. Finally, when a role came her way, one in which she had no competition, people were willing to actually open their ears and hear what she had to offer. This set of recordings is very interesting to listen to. Yes, as with all "complete works of anyone" we hear repeats of various arias. The key then is to listen and see what changes had developed as the performer expanded their understanding of the role. Few singers really show much development in that regard. In this case, there are improvements that we hear from time to time. Some of the pieces recorded do nothing for me, and I wouldn't have wasted the time recording them, however, they reflect what producers were having singers record at that time. One role that Turner sang and excelled in was the Leonora from Trovatore. Yes, she had the necessary agility. She even produced a beautiful trill. Sadly, nothing here gives evidence to this fact. I recommend this recording for those interested in having recordings of this great and under appreciated singer who had so much to give. I recommend it also for those interested in hearing a truly huge voice (some say that even Nilsson could come close to the power of Turner) recorded with minimal destortion. We are not able to know exactly how magnificent her voice really was, not even through these recordings, but we can hear the even quality of her noble instrument. It is a pricey set, but for those who are interested in historic recordings of very famous singers, I would recommend it."