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Art of the Bel Canto Singing Voice by Gio    R.M.S. Titanic  
Tenors--The Kings of Opera by Gio Jeanette and Nelson--Two Singing Voices by Gio
Jeanette's Merry Widow by Ken Norton   Maytime, The Perfect Movie-by Gio
Five Magical Words-by Gio
Jeanette-The Super Star Jeanette Vocal Standards-and Females Singers of Today
Happy Birthday Jeanette #102- The Queen of Hollywood-by Gio Nelson--Silver Screen’s Golden Baritone Article-by Gio

Golden Art of The Greatest Soprano




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Jeanette's Vocal Standards


Female Singers of Today


Photo Gift from Ian


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Jeanette's Vocal Standards and Female Singers of Today




      Music is always changing, and between the era of Jeanette MacDonald and 2006, the female vocal style have modified in many different ways. To understand the difference, one needs to know Jeanette’s vocal style and how it was ideally suited for the 1920s theater and later the 1930s and 1940s cinema—and even today..
     Voice has much to do with the facial structure, body built, flexibility of the tongue and lips, and most importantly, the vocal bands. In Jeanette’s case, she came from an era where the voice was treated lightly, allowing the vocal bands to vibrate smoothly and evenly. Her vocal bands were neither top nor bottom heavy. They were perfect in size development as she began her vocal studies in the early 1920s. She trained in New York under the best vocal style for the human voice, the Bel Canto School (Beautiful Voice School). The Bel Canto voice was noted for its even vibrato throughout the singer’s registers while producing a full rounded, free flowing tone.
     The key to this sound was the lightness of the voice. It gave the singer the ability to produce the full spectrum of the human vocal tone. Earlier German, French, and Italian opera of the 1700s and 1800s all worked around the Bel Canto method. Gilbert and Sullivan and other operetta composers expressly wrote for the Bel Canto voice because it gave the best vocal production and clarity of the lyrics. The lighter the voice the better the lyrics are understood—even to the back of the theater.
     All of this is what Jeanette had: lightness, full-rounded tones, even vibrato, and a beautiful ring to her voice. Jeanette’s voice had all the qualities for both the theatrical and opera/operetta worlds. It was her beautiful voice that critics raved about when she was on the theatrical stage, and her voice was the golden key to her ever growing success to stardom. This same voice was also being used in both the opera and operetta worlds. Without doubt, if Jeanette had continued to train longer, she would have built her vocal bands and body for the rigors of the later two musical venues, and could easily had reigned supreme in them too.
     Many singers could move between opera and musical theater because they were trained to sing lightly and speak clearly. This was the direct opposite for singers who sang with a heavier tone, and a fuller and larger voice. Their speaking capabilities were greatly reduced, making it extremely difficult to star in musical theater. Ezio Pinza is a good example of a singer coming directly from the opera stage to the musical stage who had trouble. He had an immense singing voice, full of color and splendid tonal quality; nevertheless, his vocal bands were not developed for the rigors of speaking on the musical stage and developed soar throats during the six years he performed in South Pacific.
     There is a world of difference between a lovely sounding singing voice which spoke clearly, and the blaring voice. Even in Jeanette’s day, there were the blarers. Ethel Merman is a perfect example. Her voice may have been the right type for the musicals she performed, but she was never considered a beautiful singer. It was a brassy voice that sounded like a human trumpet, blaring out notes and words.
     Barbra Streisand is a prime example of a shrieking voice. As a young singer her voice was shrilly and had little (if any) vibrato or tonal color. And yet, like Merman, she made a name for herself in both musical theater and movies. Nevertheless, just making a name doesn’t mean one has a singing voice. Unlike Jeanette, who had all the proper vocal settings to her singing voice, Streisand’s vocal bands were bottom heavy. They were over developed from poor technique, causing her voice to be unstable and wobbly in her upper register. This is the reason she had no color or melodic tone; her vocal bands did not vibrate, thus producing a flat straight sound, similar to a police siren. It wasn’t until her mid-thirties that she began to tone down her voice, allowing for a softer and mellower tone; but it still had the potential of going wild on her in her upper register if she did not make a very strong, conscious effort to keep it light. Again, light is the secret word.
     With Streisand setting the standard for next generation of female singers, the lovely sounding voices gave way to shrilly, blaring voices, yelling or shrieking out sounds. Many of today’s musical stage and pop singers truly believe that great singing is all about belting out loud sounds—twisting them this way and that way. This belting out sounds also goes for today’s operatic singers. Every singer wishes to be another Maria Callas, who had an enormous voice. When Callas was young, her voice was lovely to listen to. But with most singers who push for the big sounding voice, trouble comes along with it. And this was case for Callas. She eventually developed a huge wobble which eventually forced her to retire, just when most singers are entering the best years of their careers.
     There is, however, a new female voice being heard today—that of the Irish pop singers. These singers seem to have gone back to the days of Jeanette. They employ a light singing style, enabling their voices to soar high, with even ringing vibrato and a lovely melodic tone. Just like Jeanette, their voices seem to float on a bright, shining cloud.
     Yes, Jeanette MacDonald possessed the perfect singing voice, and set the trend for future singers to follow. Always a role model and a person of strong convictions, she held to the high standards of singing, thus proving to the world that a beautiful voice is always fulfilling to one’s ear and heart.




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