Cher Public

the three faces of eva


On February 9, Eva Marton joined the very select sorority of sopranos who have sung all three leading female roles in Elektra when she made her role debut as Klytämnestra at Liceu in Barcelona. (Come to think of it, there are only two other members of that club, Dame Gwyneth Jones and Leonie Rysanek!) La Cieca thought it only proper that we honor Marton by hearing her perform a moment or two of each of her Elektra roles.

Chrysothemis (1978)

Elektra (1990)

Klytämnestra (2008)

And here are the final moments of the opera and the curtain calls with Deborah Polaski (Elektra) and Ann-Marie Backlund (Chrysothemis). Note how the dead Klytämnestra is the final image seen in the opera!

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  • Famous Quickly

    Like Lucie Weidt I also sang at the Garden and in Vienna (but did they have Festwochen in her day?) before coming home to face Marcellina.

    Strauss’ Amme I of course sang at the Garden with that Hillebrecht woman-- she who had keine gute Naechte-- and Sir Georg. I could sing the Kaiserin *tomorrow*- it’s a question of colour (spelling a sop to Armerjacquino) and tessitura.

  • Strephon

    and Inge Borkh was the Farberin. I saw this from the gallery at the ROH as a schoolboy. Did the fact that Hidegard had “keine gute Naechet” have anything to do with Sir Georg?

  • London Dude

    To those who heard Rysanek live -- I have been told it was just the biggest voice you could imagine, is it true?

    This is backed up by a live Elektra excerpt I have, with Rysanek as Chrysothemis and Nilsson as Elektra. Sure enough, it’s Rysanek’s top notes that distort the (slightly crummy) recording, Nilsson’s don’t affect it.

  • BeauBoi

    London Dude- I never heard Rysanek live (which I lament), but I have some…more mature friends that did, and they have ALL told me that her voice was amazingly big, ESPECIALLY the top. The general consensus of our discussion about it was that although the voice was not as big as Jones, it was bigger than everyone else around, including Nilsson, Varnay, Crespin, etc. One other interesting thing they’ve told me is that although Rysanek was amazing in Wagner, her middle voice (where most Wagner lies) was not particularly beautiful live, and that she seemed to get more and more secure the higher she sang. Apparently her Kaiserin was magnificent, and her high B’s as Senta in the final scene of Hollander were (and are) unsurpassed. I can only imagine how incredible her Turandot must have been. I have that old disc of Italian arias and it’s one of my favorites ever.

  • Celeste

    London Dude, I heard Rysanek live and the top was amazingly big but not always on pitch. The lower half of her voice was rather hollow and tended to sag below the pitch. She was a very variable singer. Nilsson was far more consistent and secure.

  • Grimgerde

    I don’t think that Leonie had the biggest voice you could imagine, it was certainly a large one but it had an intensity that hit in the solar plexus -- I have a limited memory of when I heard her, but act three of Die Frau had me in tears. I’ve had similar experiences with Heilige Gwyneth on a good night, but with her it’s the sheer generosity and astounding committment she projected. The only time I heard Varnay was as Herodias and it would unfair to compare as the repertory is quite different.

  • Bill

    Irmgard Seefried, who sang with some frequency with Rysenek (even Liu to Rysenek’s Turandot), and in Fidelios with Flagstad, Anny and Hilde Konetzni, Goltz, plus Nilsson (and many others with sizeable voices) indicated in an interview that “when Gertrud Grob-Prandl sang Turandot, the walls shook. What an immense voice she had -- it just poured out. There are none today (1979) that I know of that size and power.”

    One supposes that if Grob-Prandl were performing today, (she sang 23 mostly dramatic roles in Vienna at the Staatsoper from 1944-1971), with her very even rich voice, she would be sensationally successful worldwide.

  • esclarmonde

    Yes, Ms. Resnik, we remember Inge Borkh, although few of us will still have seen her on stage. She was THE Elektra, her idiomatic, powerfull portrait will perhaps never be surpassed. But for us younger people, of course, Dame Gwyneth Jones will stay the nonplusultra as Elektra on stage for a long time (perhaps we have to wait for Nina Stemme or Anja Kampe to sing the part), especially coupled with Helga Dernesch or Leonie Rysanek as Klytämestra.

    I could never stand Behrens’ terrible lisp, overacting and the breaking from middle to chest voice, especially on the deplorable Ozawa recording (the worst “german” I ever heard on a commercial record from the supporting roles).

  • Famous Quickly

    Esclarmonde-- I could sing Parseis *tomorrow*-- it’s a question of color and tessitura…

  • Confused

    “…since the very point of a lot of Regietheater is precisely to highlight the ideological complicity of the operatic canon in maintaining and aestheticizing the politics that have led to mass slaughter…”

    Huh? This is bulls**t. Assuming they can get their audience to understand this point of view, it has nothing to do with the composer, libretto, music, etc. It’s public self masturbation is what it is…