Thursday 16 January 2020

If you could sing like anyone, who would it be?

Back in the sixties, on Saturday evening variety shows, there was a 'Russian' singer (actually German) called Ivan Rebroff, who seemed to me then to be the best singer I had ever heard, by far - and perhaps the only one who I would really have wanted to be able to emulate.

Well, I have heard many singers since, some greater musicians than Ivan Rebroff - but as someone possessing a pure vocal gift, with direct appeal to the emotions - probably none better. To be able to sing from darkest deep bass to sweet falsetto soprano... well that would suit me just fine.

A singer such as Rebroff would - I feel sure - make a good living and bring great pleasure among any people, in any society, at any time in history.


Otto said...

As Christoph Prégardien in this aria. Amazing technique.

Sally said...

I was a HUGE Ivan Rebroff fan when I was a little girl in the early 70's! In fact, my bedtime routine involved listening to at least one full side of his Christmas album when I went to bed.

I had totally forgotten this; thank you for bringing back those memories!

Bruce Charlton said...

@Sally - Glad you agree!

It is something to be grateful for when wonderful singers like Rebroff take the path of popular variety singing; where they will be appreciated by a much wider audience: perhaps their first taste of real quality in a voice.

It also means that the singer can tailor his songs and repertoire to his own specific voice, to show off its strengths. Rebroff would never have the chance to sing across his full Bass-Soprano range in the classical repertoire.

(I recall his once did an entire - comedy - role in falsetto, on a classical recording of Strauss's Der Fledermaus.)

Other examples (among tenors) could include John McCormack, Richard Tauber, Mario Lanza, Kenneth McKellar; among basses Paul Robeson springs to mind - all outstanding voices, all very popular.

c matt said...

I always thought Glen Frey had a nice mellow voice. Particularly well suited to the ballads the Eagles produced.

dearieme said...

The young Ella Fitzgerald was sublime.

Jared said...

Music is a big part of my life, as I see it seems to be in yours, Bruce. I admire the talents of many people, including this singer you showcased, but your question made me want to share something on (hopefully) a spiritual note.
If I could sing like anyone, I would like to sing like myself. This may seem pretty remarkable, because I don't have a professional grade voice. I sing in church choir and don't have much chance of being assigned the solo. But I think that the experience of limitations actually teaches me more about music and about life than I would learn otherwise.
I have actually identified my previous desire to have a better voice to be immature and short-sighted. It reminds me of one of the LDS Church's apostles words (Elder Holland) when using the example of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof who said 'Would it spoil some vast eternal plan / if I were a wealthy man?' to which Elder Holland replied 'Yes, Tevye, it just might.'

Bruce Charlton said...

@cm - Not my style.

@d - If you tried, you would probably sound more like this:

@J - Well, although I sang a good deal in my youth; nowadays, I basically can't sing - so singing like myself is not a serious option. And anyway, I never had a pleasant/ distinctive voice.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I would have to say Louis Armstrong.

dearieme said...

@BC: The cheek of it!!

I do a passable Satchmo impression though. Yeah!