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Subject: Re: Bjoner
From: "David M. Wagner" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David M. Wagner
Date:Wed, 28 Sep 2016 23:00:27 -0400
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I never heard a Bjoner Isolde complete, but around this same time, 1971, Levine - then still little-known - gave a Wagner concert at the Hollywood Bowl (subbing for Mehta), with Bjoner and Jess Thomas. Bjoner had never been a top favorite in my family; this concert left me wondering why. (Jess was Jess: very capable, but a bit weatherbeaten from his Heldentenor ventures.)

Substantial excerpts from Tristan and Götterdämmerung were on the program. The best part, in my opinion at the time, was the way Jimmy and the LA Phil really raised the roof with the Funeral March. All the more remarkable because the roof was the sky.

Thanks, Max, for remembering Nell Rankin. A concert version of her complete Act II Brangäne - significant of course bc that includes the Ruf - can be hunted in the wild. Co-stars Farrell and King: not too shabby. I remember Eileen telling my Mom it had been privately recorded and released: "You can buy it!" She was delighted.

-David Wagner


Sent from my iPhone

> On Sep 28, 2016, at 12:29 PM, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Bjoner was my first Isolde - in San Antonio in 1971 (with Jean Cox, Nell Rankin and Walter 
> Cassel, conductor Victor Alessandro, San Antonio Symphony music director).  I remember her 
> well.  She was a beautiful woman.  That was San Antonio's first "Tristan," I think (there may 
> have been one in the 50s with Varnay) and we had a Bayreuth-style dinner break after Act I!  
> Vivid memories.  I remember especially Bjoner's Liebestod.  I did not really know "Tristan" at 
> that point (my Freshman year in High School), although I was by that time deep into opera 
> generally.  But it made quite an impression on me and was one of the things that inspired my 
> life-long love affair with the operas of Wagner.
> 
> MDW
> 
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