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Subject: What to believe? Rysanek and Isolde
From: albert innaurato <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:albert innaurato <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:01:57 -0500

text/plain (47 lines)

Max D Winter: "She said in the same interview that she always wanted to sing
Isolde, but that Karl Bohm, one of her mentors, was adamantly opposed to
this and told her
that if she sang Isolde, "You will no more sing my Kaiserin."

Don't believe it. She told me (twice, with witnesses around) that Bohm had
encouraged her to sing Isolde (as he had encouraged Tebaldi to start
learning it when they worked together in Italy -- "for later").

According to Rysanek, she learned the role, including some sessions with
Bohm, and then he suggested they meet when convenient and that he play and
she sing through it -- twice. The second time was to be sure she had the
stamina. They got through it once. "I was almost dead", she said. And he
agreed it was not a part for her on stage.

The quote attributed to him sounds pretty silly, although he did like
Rysanek (he was a very nasty man, not cuddly in that way at all). He had
also encouraged her to try out Elektra. She felt she couldn't do it live,
but jumped at the film (which nearly killed her anyway, not because of
vocal strain but because of a strenuous physical production). He conducted
the film.

Ludwig and Crespin were also passionate about singing Isolde. As I've heard
it, Milanov discouraged Ludwig. Crespin studied it for a bit but was in
crisis by 1969 and felt that the time she might have done it had passed.
She told me that hearing Flagstad live in Paris in the early '50's had
stunned and discouraged her but that Lubin, who adored her, had persuaded
her that she had different but compelling abilities that suited the role.
So she did, I think, but probably not after 1965. Lotte Lehmann also
studied Isolde (I'm not sure she learned the whole role) but apparently
realized she didn't have the stamina and settled for the Liebestod, of
which she made an unforgettable recording.


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