LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 15.5

Help for OPERA-L Archives


OPERA-L Archives

OPERA-L Archives


View:

Next Message | Previous Message
Next in Topic | Previous in Topic
Next by Same Author | Previous by Same Author
Chronologically | Most Recent First
Proportional Font | Monospaced Font

Options:

Join or Leave OPERA-L
Reply | Post New Message
Search Archives


Subject: Re: Vickers and Tannhauser (was Re: RIP Jon Vickers, 7/11/2017)
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 15 Jul 2017 17:20:30 -0700
Content-Type:text/plain
Parts/Attachments:
Parts/Attachments

text/plain (47 lines)


In all the discussion of Vickers and Tannhäuser and all the verbiage he delivered about it (the incident clearly haunted him for the rest of his life since he kept coming back to it), there is one nugget in that letter he sent to Covent Garden, which was published, that struck me as inarguable. This was his statement that he couldn’t find that crucial point of identification with the role.

You don’t have to like or approve of a character to be able to identify with him enough to portray him (otherwise, I suspect very few baritones would perform Scarpia) but you have to find that identification point, even if it’s an otherwise dark or obscure side of yourself, to be able to perform convincingly. Sometimes you just can’t. Nobody but the artist can make this decision. No matter what experts say a role “should be” great for you, you have to feel that suitability yourself to be able to perform it.

Not long after Vickers made his famous cancellation, Caterina Ligendza also cancelled all of her forthcoming performances as Elisabeth in the same opera but stated it very simply: “I just can’t relate to her problems.”

In terms of the vocal difficulties, of course this could be an issue but the two things are probably linked. If you have a physical challenge that takes you to the limit of your abilities, you need something else in terms of inspiration to give you the adrenalin and force to help you overcome the challenge. This is true of vocal challenges as well as athletic. If the Rome Narration was near the limit of what Vickers’ voice could do and he loved it and found it inspiring, I believe he would have conquered it as he managed to do with the third act of “Tristan.”  But if he found himself at the edge of his abilities and he also hated it, that was going to be a problem.

So whether Vickers couldn’t wrap his brain around it or his voice around it or both, the end result was the same and it doesn’t really matter why he didn’t do it.

By the way, am I the only one who was not so gung-ho on the Jeannie Williams bio? For me, a good singer bio makes me want to leap up and listen to their recordings. Despite how angry it made her, Alan Jefferson’s bio of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf did that for me. The Williams book does not. While she delves into all of the behavioral eccentricities that didn’t so terribly interest me, I found her very lacking in bringing any genuinely new insight into Vickers as a singer and musician, which would have interested me greatly.

Max Paley


> On Jul 15, 2017, at 3:55 PM, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> And what a pity Vickers never sang Eleazar in "La Juive!"  That would have been something to 
> hear.  Somehow I associate that "outsider" role (Eleazar) with Peter Grimes.  Maybe that's 
> why I think Vickers would have been great in it.
> 
> MDW
> 
> **********************************************
> OPERA-L on Facebook:
> http://www.facebook.com/groups/25703098721/
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message to [log in to unmask]
> containing only the words:  SIGNOFF OPERA-L
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To stay subscribed but TURN OFF mail, send a message to
> [log in to unmask] containing only the words:  SET OPERA-L NOMAIL
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Modify your settings: http://listserv.bccls.org/archives/opera-l.html
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
**********************************************
OPERA-L on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/25703098721/
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message to [log in to unmask]
containing only the words:  SIGNOFF OPERA-L
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
To stay subscribed but TURN OFF mail, send a message to
[log in to unmask] containing only the words:  SET OPERA-L NOMAIL
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Modify your settings: http://listserv.bccls.org/archives/opera-l.html
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back to: Top of Message | Previous Page | Main OPERA-L Page

Permalink



LISTSERV.BCCLS.ORG

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager