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Subject: Re: Tebaldi
From: Michael McPherson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Michael McPherson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 3 Dec 2016 08:46:03 -0500
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Don, you and I had to be at two different performances. I too was at Tebaldi’s return to the Met in Adriana. The sold out audience was packed with Tebaldi lovers like myself. The thunderous applause she received when she made her entrance without singing a note, was typical of a Tebaldi performance. But then she began "io son l'umile ancella.” Clearly she was in distress. I was in the orchestra standing room and we all turned to each other and mouthed “what is happening?” When the aria was over and the conductor put down his baton waiting for the applause, he was greeted with stunned silence and quickly raised his baton and continued. I actually don’t remember now the rest of the performance. But she did do a few more performances; cancelled the rest; cancelled the new Otello production and fled the country. And as I have said in the past, I think early Tebaldi was the best and most beautiful singing I have ever heard — and a reviewer from the NYTimes once wrote “when Renata Tebaldi is in good voice, no soprano in the world can touch her.” But certainly in my opinion, not that night.
Best,
Michael

Michael J. McPherson
[log in to unmask]




> On Dec 3, 2016, at 8:17 AM, Don <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> I was at the Tebaldi return and I thought she was wonderful.  So was
> Konya.  Sure the end of act 1 was flat but it always was.  It's one note.
> I listened to a tape of that broadcast recently and her sound was lovely
> and unlike most of today's singers immediately recognizeable.
> dond
> 
> On Sat, Dec 3, 2016 at 5:51 AM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> Les
>> 
>> I was at the Adriana premiere. She was dreadful. I was at the Boheme
>> return. She was just as dreadful. Ken Benson, a name you may know
>> from the broadcast quizzes, was standing next to me. After Act One
>> he asked me "do you hear anything different?". No! Neither did he.
>> 
>> I later saw her in Gioconda, lots of Cheniers, Fanciulla and Falstaff.
>> She was compromised  in all of them. But she was the most loved
>> singer I ever saw. It was true love! They did not hear what I heard.
>> 
>> But, as you said, which was the point, she was generally dependable
>> 
>> Bob
>> 
>> On Saturday, December 3, 2016, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]
>> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml',[log in to unmask]);>> wrote:
>> 
>>> 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.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> ------------------------------
>>> *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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> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> ​Always keep a roll of baling wire and another of duct tape in your car.
> It's amazing how useful it can be.
> 
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