SiriusXM is broadcasting right now a 1981 performance of Tristan und Isolde featuring Gwyneth Jones (pictured) and Spas Wenkoff, with James Levine conducting the work that season for the first time in his career. And yet, here’s an operatic mystery: neither Ms. Jones nor Mr. Wenkoff was the casting originally conceived by Mr. Levine for this revival: they joined the cast fairly late in the game. So, who among the cher public can tell us which two familiar Met artists were supposed to sing these roles?
La Cieca hears that Dame Gwyneth Jones has added yet another “role” to hear already vast repertoire, that of grandmother. The diva’s granddaughter, Sophia Magdalena, was born several days ago. The “lively, red-haired” baby and her mother, Susannah Haberfeld, are both reported in excellent condition.
Dame Gwyneth Jones is fighting an attempt to oust her as president of the Wagner Society, a position she has held for 23 years. An exciting story, but the best bit is the comment: “Whew! that was close—you nearly managed to write an article on Wagner without mentioning Hitler!” [The Telegraph]
La Cieca is delighted to congratulate Dame Gwyneth Jones, born November 7, 1936, on her diam0nd birthday anniversary. At 75, Dame Gwyneth is still active, both as the President of the Wagner Society of Great Britain and as a performer, scheduled to return to the Vienna State Opera in the spring of 2012 as Herodias in Salome.
The spectacular dramatic soprano was born 74 years ago today in Pontnewynydd, Wales. She is seen below in one of her less familiar (though no less effective) roles, Hanna in Die Lustige Witwe.