It the meantime, I decided if there's gonna be an ad on my site, it might as well help a friend, so I put this up;
Yesterday I picked up the Citizen Kane soundtrack, which is great to listen to and, for some reason, a lot subtler than I was expecting. It has to be played very loud to be heard at all, most of the time, and creates this really great, murky mood in the room. And then the opera scene comes on and it flattens you.
This isn't the original recording, but one made a couple years ago by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Joel McNeely, as is my copy of the Psycho soundtrack. For the most part, both recordings are rather straight copies of the original orchestrations, except with a better recording quality. But the Opera scene is sung by a woman named Janice Watson, who seems to be the singer Kane wished Susan Alexander to be.
There's a lot of information about Bernard Herrmann and his early career in the CD booklet, including a cable sent to Welles in July 1940. Regarding the Opera scene, Herrmann wrote, "FEEL THAT SUZY SHOULD HAVE A SMALL BUT RATHER GOOD VOICE. THIS IS THE TICKLISH PART OF IT. EVEN G[ANNA] W[ALSKA] HAD SOMETHING OF A VOICE. FEEL SHE MUST AROUSE SENSE OF PITY. MUSIC SHOULD BE INTENSELY DRAMATIC AND SHE NOT UP TO IT."
Which is a nice touch. It would have been terribly over the top to give her a truly horrible voice, and a lesser film would've made Kane seem utterly delusional about her.
Well, that's just one small good thing about a movie full of great things . . .