Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin: Sorry to contradict you, but the byline on all of my “Montag mit... 7:31 PM
  • manou: No big deal – in fact the byline has changed from “La Cieca” to “WindyCit... 6:34 PM
  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin: My fault, my dear. And the upload is from me (“Montag mit... 6:24 PM
  • manou: Christopher Ventris is not only a star, but also a British star – and he needs his... 5:36 PM
  • la vociaccia: You’re not “missingR 21; anything; Turandot isn’t one of her good roles,... 4:28 PM
  • Olivero is my Drug of Choice: What am I missing with Stemme?(I have not seen her live, only on the tubes). I... 4:10 PM
  • Bill: Shicoff has no performances scheduled at Vienna next season unless he is doing something at the... 4:02 PM
  • scifisci: I thought that in questa regia was fine until “quel grido e quella morte” which she... 3:57 PM
  • Hippolyte: Sorry, we’ll have to disagree on this topic: Peters was ubiquitous on tv when I was a kid... 3:38 PM
  • Bluebeard: I wouldn’t be too worried about her future Elektras. Stemme has always been the type of... 3:28 PM

There’s no business like Mary business

“We Americans are not so critical of art as we are of showmanship.”

7 comments

  • Ethan says:

    Mary Garden left recordings behind, so presumably we have at least a limited take on what she was like in opera. Yet, alone of the still famous singers, she has no clear-cut ID as a soprano. Wonderful? Flawed? More actress than singer? But can you get through her roles--Louise, Thais, whatever-her-name-is in Alfano’s Risurezzione--without being able to sing? We know Caruso and many others of his generation. But Garden remains a mystery.

    • Cocky Kurwenal says:

      I have just started slugging through Rasponi’s depressing tome, and last night saw a brief reference to Garden that suggested the singing was not plain sailing but she made up for it with artistry and charisma -- she was cited as a contrast to other singers who had sung Louise in a straight forward, conventionally beautiful and technically excellent way.

      • Camille says:

        Oh CockyKay! Don’t give it up! Just pick a diva you really like or who “speaks” to you and follow her and try to get the gist of the spirit of her times and forget about conquering the book as a whole.

        Otherwise it is just a drone of “In MY day, my dear, we did it thus-and-so….”
        It would be a shame to give it up as it is a treasure trove of factoids. Giulia Tess, Augusta Oltrebella, and Germania Somebody, were interesting to me, as well, Lisa della Casa had a more ” modern voice”. Anyway, just my experience. Long time time I don’t read it.

        • Cocky Kurwenal says:

          Don’t worry Camille, I will persist and I am finding it very interesting. It’s just that the endless carping about how nothing is any good anymore, from the perspective of 1980 or something, does drag one down after a while, as you say!

      • Orlando Furioso says:

        the singing was not plain sailing but she made up for it with artistry and charisma

        That’s pretty much the standard Garden legend, all right. And she did make some exceedingly un-lovable recordings, especially the later ones. But the better ones (I bought an Odyssey LP collection long ago) show a quite good lyric soprano. It doesn’t seem a voice equal to all the roles she did, like Salome and Tosca (which may be part of the source of the legend, especially after the repeated attempts eventually did their work on her). But her handling of “Depuis le jour” (I’m told she also made a second, much worse version of it) is quite striking, and I mean from a classic vocal viewpoint.

  • Camille says:

    There were actually two parfums/perfumes named “Mary Garden”, the other is by McLean Perfumes of Detroit, Michigan. Yes, Detroit, you heard it right.

    http://www.perfumeprojects.com/museum/bottles/McLean_MaryGarden.shtml

    If there ever was a Kunsty diva, it would appear to be Mary. I am at a loss to ever have comprehended what it was she had, but then that is why I never, ever draw any final conclusions about any singer, or artist of any ilk, without having seen them live, in person, on the stage. Some things are too ephemeral, too ineffable, too fleeting, too fantasmagorical, to be reproduced in any way, shape or fashion. Never the same, no matter the fantastic technological advances of today, and the future.

    And there’s the fun I find in going to the theatre live rather than sitting around mouldering with recordings.

  • mercadante says:

    I think the near canard about her not being much of a singer is due to the fact that her era was one of a high degree of technical proficiency across the board. Her singing would be considered superb today, but in Garden’s day, her abilities we’re run of the mill. More was required for stardom, either even superior voice and technique, or theatricality. Garden supplied the theatricality. But she was also a damn good singer.