Lilli Lehmann writes “[t]he nasal close of itself brings a new color into the singing…the word is much more clearly intelligible…”.
Below is a demonstration of a Cancone solfeggio phrase. The first ‘sol la’ is sung without a nasal close and the second is with a nasal close.
Can you hear the second ‘sol la’ is more colourful and also more intelligible?
Below is a further demonstration of the nasal close on the word ‘cammino’. The first is sung without a nasal close and the second with.
Did you hear that when I performed the nasal close I coloured the ‘i’ by adding a shade of ‘u’?
Now let us listen to me applying the nasal close to the word ‘cammino’ from a phrase in Liu’s aria.
Can you hear the nasal close in the word ‘cammino’? And can you hear the colouring of the ‘i’ vowel? This adds pathos to the word.
Lilli Lehmann lamented she was the last to practice the nasal close, saying the nasal close is “a thing that no one teaches any longer, or knows or is able to do”. Sadly, this is almost the case. However, a beautiful example of the nasal close is by Montserrat Caballe when she sings Liu’s aria. Here is the Spotify Link. If you subscribe to Spotify you can hear her sing the entire aria. Nasal close after nasal close. Beautiful! But, even if you only play this little snippet below, listen carefully. Can you hear one?