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Subject: Re: Merrill
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 3 Dec 2016 06:09:59 +0000
Content-Type:text/plain
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Bob: 
While Tebaldi was generally dependable, she was not without her cancellations. In Chicago, in October, 1962, she cancelled both Mimi and Tosca, claiming illness. The following February or March (1963), she finally got her "Adriana Lecouvreur" at the Met, but only sang PART of her scheduled performances (her vocal crisis had reached it's worst point and the critics were not shy in pointing that out). She cancelled the remainder of her Met season in the spring of 1963 and appeared nowhere until March of 1964, when she returned to the Met in Boheme. It was a Saturday afternoon broadcast. Her voice sounded somewhat mended and sang in two other operas at the Met that spring in 1964. She returned to Chicago in the autumn of 1964 (again Boheme) and her voice had significantly improved. She sang four performances. From that point on, she was once again a "regular" at the Met. In autumn of 1968, after singing the dress rehearsal of Manon Lescaut, she abruptly cancelled her performances and was not heard in Chicago again (though in October, 1965 she sang Margaurite in Mefistofele in Chicago -------- I saw two of those performances and in one, she cracked badly on the top C near the end of her big scene, while in the other performance I saw, she merely left the top C out altogether). 
At the Met, however, she embarked on Gioconda for two seasons, more Manon Lescauts, Mimis, and those five performances of Fanciulla. Even without a true pitched high C, she could certainly still deliver a performance as late as 1970. And of course, she always was a sell-out in New York. 

L. 


----- Original Message -----

From: "Bob Rideout" <[log in to unmask]> 
To: "OPERA-L" <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent: Friday, December 2, 2016 3:44:48 PM 
Subject: Re: Merrill 

I am fascinated at the Renata Tebaldi comments. I have never heard 
that she was generally undependable. I know of one instance when 
she did not honor her commitment, and that was in 1960 when she 
failed to show for the premiere of a new production of Simon 
Boccanegra, Leonard Warren's last complete opera performance as 
it turned out. Mary Curtis Verna replaced her, but she sang 
all of her other scheduled performances of Boccanegra, Forza 
(including the night Warren died) and Andrea Chenier. 

Her absence from late 63 to late 64 was essentially forced upon her 
by the Met, when she and Solti confronted her serious vocal crisis 
during rehearsals for a new production of Otello. 

I know of no other deviations from her contractual obligations, and 
would appreciate any information that I may be missing. She cancelled 
everything everywhere after her Mother's death, but Mothers only die 
once, and they were extremely close. I doubt that Bing or anyone else 
thought it anything out of the ordinary. 

Bob 

On Friday, December 2, 2016, Michael Delos <[log in to unmask] 
<javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml',[log in to unmask]);>> wrote: 

> The timeline here is a bit off. Merrill was in Bing's good graces for the 
> DON CARLO opening - which was long before the film. He sang Bing's 1st 
> season up until he announced that due to contractual obligations, he 
> couldn't do the Spring Tour in 1951 - that's when Bing decided to make an 
> example of him, and what cost Merrill almost a year and a half of his prime 
> career. 
> 
> It's ironic that Bing later allowed Tebaldi to steamroll over him at almost 
> every turn, but her health often wasn't the best, and her mother's death 
> and 
> several years later, her own vocal problems didn't help as Bing struggled 
> to 
> hold her to her scheduled performances. But of course, she was a 
> guaranteed 
> sold out house every time she appeared, and he needed her far more than he 
> needed Merrill. 
> 
> I don't believe Bing fired Traubel, though the poster is quite correct that 
> he found her Las Vegas and television appearances distasteful. She sang 
> the 
> Ring and Rosenkavalier during his first season - it wasn't a holdover 
> contract from Johnson. I think she just probably didn't want to continue 
> and saw the writing on the wall as to his lack of enthusiasm for Wagner. 
> She was 52-ish at the time and it was a well timed exit, I think. 
> 
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