Having just seen a very fine production of Masterclass here last week, I was reminded of the important singers we have just lost very recently:
Licia Albanese and Carlo Bergonzi.
I already posted about Licia Albanese, and I took the opportunity to listen this past weekend to recordings by Callas, Albanese, and Bergonzi.
What is fascinating is that these great artists do not have what everyone considers "beautiful sounds", but what they do have is an immediately recognizable sound - their own sonic signature as it were.
They also all have superb interpretive skills that bear listening to by any serious student of opera.
What I think can be learned by artists like this by today's auditioning singers is that as you hone your craft and art technically and musically, don't hone it so much that the essential you gets honed away.
What makes a beautiful piece of burled wood are the imperfections and patterns that are beautiful to the eye. An aria sung by a great artist is the aural equivalent to that piece of wood, polished, beautiful - but absolutely unique.