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Subject: Re: Leontyne Price - Fanciulla del West
From: Dennis Ryan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Thu, 16 Mar 2017 18:41:55 -0400

text/plain (59 lines)

Hi, Y'all!  
    I attended the Saturday afternoon broadcast in  which Amara went on for 
Arroyo in "Forza" in the house.  Amara gave  the performance of her career 
that afternoon--far better than Arroyo, whom I had  heard earlier in the 
same run.  Nor is her work on the "Lohengrin"  recording shoddy goods, either.  
She was a great singer, underestimated  because she allowed herself to be a 
perpetual cover.  We hear so much about  her "mismanaged" career, but I 
look at it this way:  she got  exactly what she wanted:  steady New York based 
work at the Met  for her entire career.  Had she truly wanted something 
different, I think  she was fully capable of handling her career differently.  
    I first heard Amara in a recital she gave in  Fairbanks, Alaska, in the 
early 1950's, when I was still in high school.   She gave an hour-long 
recital to a high school assembly the following day.   Several of us had heard 
her "Pace, pace" the evening before.  We researched  the aria, scrounged 
around for a couple of 78 rpm recordings, and urged her to  sing it at her 
school performance.  I think she thought that we didn't  actually know what we 
were doing and that we were making fun of her by  loudly requesting that aria 
and loudly applauding her singing.  I have  since visited Amara backstage 
after one of her performances and  assured her that we were "for real."  I 
treasure a copy of her CD that she  personally autographed to me, with the 
phrase "Remembering Fairbanks."  
    I cite this experience because I believe that it  teaches a fundamental 
lesson.  The music people love and remember for a  lifetime is not the 
music they are taught in classrooms.  It is the music  that they discover for 
themselves.  We need less emphasis on "teaching"  opera to kids.  Instead, we 
need to concentrate on putting it where they  are sure to stumble over it 
and find it on their own.  
    Dennis Ryan 
In a message dated 3/16/2017 10:05:59 A.M. Central Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:
"I'm sorry that Mme. Price dropped out of [the RCA Lohengrin], but I  
enjoy the woman [Amara] who stepped in for her."

Amara was no  shabby substitute.  I heard her sing the Forza Leonora in 
1975 and  Price sing the same opera in 1977.  Amara sang it better than 
Price  did, hand's down, and she was more convincing dramatically, 
although Price's  voice at its best certainly had more glamour (for want of 
better word) and  a more distinctive timbre.

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