Our JJ writes his rave of raves:
“If such a thing as perfection in opera is possible, in this House of the Dead, the Met achieves it.” [NY Post]
Why on earth isn’t this show being sung in good, clean English?
As one OPERA reviewer observed recently, Cheryl Barker is now the recorded Kat’a of choice in old Norman Tucker’s splendid rendering:
Act I Scene 2: Ah, but you, what can you know of this?
Act II Scene 2: Far away my love is gone across the water
Act III Scene 2: Ah, Glasha! It’s awful to think of it
And of course without another Aussie (Sir Charles) no one would be performing Janacek today! He should be counted as an English composer.
Give me Elizabeth Soderstrom any day in Kata Kabanova, Makropoulos Case or Jenufa in the original language.! Some people fail to realise that she was not ‘just cast’ by Decca /Mackerras in those operas but due to her expertise , knowledge and singing ability of them. I know she had at one stage had sung the role of Emilia M. in four different languages for various productions. Let;s see the ‘roll call’ for other singers adapting to the same feats. She is just another of the singers that tend to be always overlooked, thinking back of the greats, here.
Harry, Soderstrom had an amazing command of languages. I heard her in five different roles, in FIVE different languages! English, German, Italian,
Russian, and Czech. I also heard her in recital where she included Swedish and French.
Richard I heard her in a long interview once, Boy! Soderstrom came across not only as warm, friendly and engaging; but with a sharp analytical brain and plenty of intelligence to boot.
Made me think : pity a lot of other opera singers did not have the same resources to interpret a role.
She was also hysterically funny when she wanted to be. I recall seeing her receive an award after intermission of a (Swedish Chamber Orchestra?) concert. She started off with “I don’t have a BIG voice…. [perfect pause] but it’s ugly.”
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