The first operatic voice to which I was exposed was
that of Renata Tebaldi. A high school chum with a dad
in the Met Chorus and an uncle with his own opera
company had already accumulated a large number of her
recordngs which she played for me with true relish.
(Thanks Irene, for the intro to a whole new world.) I
was swept away by the magic Tebaldi created. I wanted
to live in that world of beauty which I previously
could not even conceive.
Being to young to see her at her peak I had one
opportunity at the end of her career and despite the
unusual high notes and the effort in producing them
the magic was still there. When meeting her at a
booksigning at Barnes & Noble in NY she touched me
with her scintillating smile and the way time stood
still as she engaged me in conversation as if we were
the only two people standing there. It was the Tebaldi
magic again. It sprang forth from her
accessible,simple and direct humanity.
While watching her on video (Andrea Chenier comes to
mind)I as excited as I would have been watching an
Oscar worthy film. I never understood why she was
considered lacking as an operatic actress. To me she
entered into the world of the story and took on the
thoughts of her character taking me away to another
place. She made me feel what the character felt. To
me, great acting is not about how much or often one
gesticulates in public but rather where one's mind is
and where one takes the audience with it. The ability
to make us travel with you while you simply stand
still, open your heart and change the air and
circumstances around you and us is the mark of the
great performing artist. Few do it today.
When I met Madame Tebaldi I told her of the effect her
work had on me so I have no sense of having missed an
opportunity. She changed my life. Now on her passing I
want to express my deepest gratitude for her wonderful
work so underappreciated by many these recent years.
Thank you for uplifting and inspiring me as a teenager
and continuing to do so even now via recordings and
video. Now you sing with the angels, your voice ever
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