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Subject: Re: Singers taking multiple roles in operas
From: Tom Wikman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Tom Wikman <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 13 Jun 2017 22:46:27 +0000
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"I, myself, am a damn good sight singer, but I cannot for the 
of life of me imagine sight reading Strauss!"
The above statement, I'm sure, would be echoed by almost all singers.
However, back in the 80s I experienced some pretty remarkable "WingingIt" by some extremely gifted singers. One was a voice student of mine. Hewas cast as Melot in a Chicago Symphony performance of the second actof Tristan, conducted by Barenboim, with Johanna Meier, Rene Kollo, andHans Tschammer. Right before the performance Tschammer became ill.Panic! Barenboim, knowing the Richard was a good musician, asked himif he could sing King Marke. Richard said, "Sure," and walked onstage andsang the daylights out of the role, not only vocally, but musically and 
dramatically! He had never sung a note of it before. The first time was withthe CSO! His name was Richard Cohn.

He pulled off something similar at the Ravinia Festival with the CSO. Thistime the piece was Schoenberg's "A Survivor from Warsaw." The soloist got 
sick, and Richard stepped right in! No problemo.
The other example involved the soprano Winifred Faix Brown. I was conductinga five concert run of Bach's St. Matthew Passion. Faith Esham was my sopranosoloist. The day of the fourth performance, Faith's father died. She dug in andsang the performance, but then had to go back to Kentucky. The final 
performance was the next day. None of my other Bach sopranos were available, 
so I turned to Winnie. I asked her if she had sung the Matthew Passion. "Sure,"she replied. So on she went. She sang a wonderful, moving performance. 
Afterwards, she confessed to me that she had never sung that music before,but that she wasn't going to let a little detail like that stop her from singingthat great piece!
  

    On Tuesday, June 13, 2017 3:23 PM, daaaac <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
 

 I strongly doubt Jones was sightreading the Empress.

Donald
> On Jun 13, 2017, at 9:51 AM, MTQ <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Thank you.  I found this when I googled "Jones Frau".  I, myself, am a damn
> good sight singer, but I cannot for the life of me imagine sight reading
> Strauss!  And the mimed Empress on stage completes the explanation.
> 
> Thanks again to those who replied to me privately, as well.
> 
> MTQ
> =====
> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Wendell Eatherly [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
> Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 6:57 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Singers taking multiple roles in operas
> 
> On Mon, 12 Jun 2017 22:27:36 -0400, MTQ <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> 
>> I have always been a little confused by this.  Isn't there a point 
>> where they are both
> singing at the same time?  If so, how did this work?  I've only seen the
> opera once in Amsterdam and for some reason I remember both sopranos being
> on stage together.
>> 
>> Or am I mistaken about there being a duet?
>> 
>> Thanks.
>> 
>> MTQ
>> =====
>> 
>> Gwyyneth Jones sang both soprano roles in Frau in the same performance 
>> (her daughter
> & here schoolmates were at the performance) J
>> 
> From a New York Times article, "LAST-MINUTE 'SAVES' ON THE OPERA STAGE":
> 
> "Miss Jones sight-read the Empress's scenes from behind a darkened scrim,
> while an actress mimed her movements. In scenes where the Empress and the
> Dyer's Wife are both onstage at the same time, Miss Jones turned her face
> from the audience to sing the Empress's lines, which she had quickly
> memorized backstage. Fortunately, the Empress and the Dyer's Wife have very
> little interaction; the only portion of the opera in which the characters'
> voices overlap is the final quartet, and at that point another soprano sang
> the Empress's lines from offstage while Miss Jones, in the role of the
> Dyer's Wife, was on stage with the mimed Empress."
> 
> The whole article's here: 
> 
> https://tinyurl.com/yaumah7v
> 
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