I have to agree with everything Qualcor has written about Eaglen
possibly/likely having a personal choice in all this. I have also read that she hated
the isolation of hotel rooms, travelling and not having a personal life. Such a
choice may often seem incomprehensible to those who only see the glamorous
side of the operatic life but a happy home life is always important, and
especially when the career is over.
I also agree that despite some spectacular successes and a voice of great
beauty, she never really attained the sustained peaks that her great natural
talent should have provided her with. Another great natural dramatic soprano
from the same part of the world, Rosalind Plowright, despite early big
successes, also never sustained a long career at the top. And that too was a very
I first heard Eaglen at the English National Opera way way back in the 80s
in, of all things, Patience, where she sang the small part of Lady Ella. Not
many years later she sang a most beautiful Eva with Alberto Remedios and Norm
an Bailey as her colleagues though she was already quite a large young lady.
But the rich chocolate colour of her sound overrode everything.
I saw her in La Vestale in London when she seemed to be limping and so
physically out of sorts that it must have affected her singing. Her Turandot was
not on the level of Nilsson or Jones but far superior to Sweet, Stapp, Kovacs
et al. Her Gioconda, though patchy, had the weight and colour for the role.
Her Reiza in Oberon in Salzburg in the mid 1990s was breathtaking.
Her greatest role in my opinion - aside from Wagner - was Ariadne. She sang
this with Cyndia Sieden and Judith Forst again at the English National Opera.
She was stationary most of the time and her rendition of "Es gibt ein
Reich" was staggeringly powerful and very very beautiful.
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