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Subject: Re: Question re Nilsson as Senta at the Met
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 1 Jun 2017 10:55:52 -0700
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In an interview in 1976 in the San Francisco Chronicle, Leonie Rysanek credited the SF music critic, Alfred Frankenstein, with her decision to drop Turandot. In his review of one of her 1957 SF performances he praised her but said "but why does she risk her beautiful voice with this role?" She claimed it made her seriously think and decide to drop the role.

This put RCA in a bind for their planned recording with Rysanek. It wasn't until early 1959 that Nilsson was able to get released from her EMI contract and sign with Decca, who were then able to "loan" her and Tebaldi to RCA for the recording.

In another interview Nilsson snorted about Senta that once she was older than 25 she didn't relish singing "Ich bin ein Kind" (good thing she didn't sing Butterfly and have to claim to be 15). I had heard from friends in the business that Nilsson had, on occasion, admitted that she just didn't like singing the role of Senta. She found the vocal line of the big "Wie aus der Ferne" very awkward.

At least that's what I heard.

Rysanek did admit to avoiding Elektra because of Nilsson and Nilsson said she avoided the Empress partly because of Rysanek, partly because of that passage in her opening scene with the coloratura and high D. This was in a German magazine (possibly Opernwelt) in 1976 or 77 when Nilsson was first taking on the Dyer's Wife.

Nilsson was also announced as the Marschallin in 1971 or thereabouts by the Met but she got nerves about being visually and dramatically convincing. She cited Crespin as having been particularly beautiful in the role and wasn't sure how she'd compete. Similarly. she stayed away from Ortrud because she didn't feel she could match Varnay's powerful interpretation in the role.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPhone

> On Jun 1, 2017, at 10:28, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Nilsson and Rysanek had an informal agreement. Nilsson wouldn't sing Senta and Rysanek wouldn't sing Turandot. 
> 
> Donald. 
> 
> Sent from my iPhone
> 
>> On Jun 1, 2017, at 09:33, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> I have read somewhere that Nilsson was engaged to sing Senta at the Met in the early 60s 
>> but for some reason it never happened.  Can anyone enlighten me about this?  Was it a last-
>> minute cancellation, and for what reason?  Imagine Nilsson and Rysanek alternating as Senta!
>> 
>> MDW 
>> 
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