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Subject: Re: Singers taking multiple roles in operas
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 1 Jul 2017 14:32:18 -0700
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Ludwig live at the Met was indeed every bit as magnificent as Waltraute as she is on both those recordings.  And she kept the quality up at an age where most of her contemporaries were verging on being voiceless. I believe she was in her early sixties at the time of her last Ring Cycle at the Met.  I would suspect that Jamie Barton was supremely good as Waltraute and as Fricka.  I can’t wait to hear her Eboli and Amneris.  

Donald


> On Jul 1, 2017, at 12:56, Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> I think that in live performances of “Götterdämmerung” I’ve seen, it’s been more often the case than not that there was some role sharing between the Norns, principals and Rheinmaidens.
> 
> I’ve seen a number of 3rd Norn/Gutrune, 1st or 2nd Norn/Waltraute combinations. Going across the “Ring” operas, I’ve seen Woglinde become the Forest Bird and Sieglinde become Gutrune. Fricka has also sometimes turned into the “Götterdämmerung” Waltraute. I’ve also seen Wotan or Donner become Gunther and either Fasolt or Fafner become Hunding and sometimes then Hagen.
> 
> But David’s right: the Varnay feat is truly astounding because both the 3rd Norn and, of course, Brünnhilde have real Hochdramatisch singing to do and the role of Brünnhilde alone in that opera is an ultra marathon. In her bio, she spoke of having a terrifying moment toward the end of the Immolation Scene when she thought her voice was going to fail her, but she managed to calm herself and continue.
> 
> Speaking of “Götterdämmerung” and Waltraute, I think that, for all the grandeur of the rest of it, if I had to pick a favorite moment, it could well be when Waltraute tells Brünnhilde “Da brach sich seen Blick; er gedachte, Brünnhilde, dein” as the music reminds us of Wotan’s Farewell near the end of “Walküre.” An exquisite passage, but it needs a full mezzo/contralto Waltraute with beautiful low notes, not a soprano who’s lost her high notes. I’ve seen some very good ones (never saw Christa Ludwig live in that role, but she’s magnificent on both the Solti and Karajan recordings) but Jamie Barton in Washington DC last year was as good as the best.
> 
> Max Paley
> 
> 
>> On Jul 1, 2017, at 10:31 AM, David Geary <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>>> Astrid Varnay sang Aida in Mexico City and during one of those, sang the
>>> offstage Priestess..
>> 
>> Varnay also accomplished the astounbding feat of singing the third Norne
>> and Brúnnhilde in the same performance of Götterdämmerung in Bayreuth
>> when Mödl cancelled the Norne. It was the broadcast performance which is
>> available, I think the 1956 one.
>> 
>> David
>> 
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