>… recently passed away at the age of 108 (!) I knew his singing from a recording or two, and also had heard from Met singers that he was a brutal perfectionist as a French diction coach. (Language diction, something not taught here. On the other hand, many singers here tend to learn the language, just not the diction rules, so who has the better music educational system? In my opinion one needs both.)
Mr. Cuénod, who continued to sing publicly until he was in his early 90s, did not have a large voice or, as he cheerfully admitted, the world’s most beautiful. But it was those very attributes, he often said, that let him sing to so ripe an age.
“He never pushed the instrument,” Mr. White said in an interview on Tuesday. “He didn’t put it under strain and pressure, which a lot of singers do.”
Or, as Mr. Cuénod told The New York Times in 1987, “I never had a voice, so how could I lose one?”
That premise, however, was far from true. In his performances and many recordings, Mr. Cuénod was praised for his light, clean, almost ethereal tenor; refined musicianship; and faultless diction.
I love that quote, by the way. Only someone absolutely sure of themselves and their place in the world could say that sincerely.
Joan Sutherland, Shirley Verrett, Peter Hofmann, Helen Boatwright… an opera generation is passing.