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Subject: Re: Tebaldi Sings Callas (was Re: Tebaldi's (in)famous 1963 'Adriana')
From: Art McManus <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Art McManus <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 16 Aug 2017 14:48:47 -0400

text/plain (48 lines)

Schuyler Chapin apparently tried to move Tebaldi into the mezzo repertoire.
 In his book "Sopranos, Mezzos, Tenors, Bassos and Other Friends," he gives
this account:

"Before joining the Metropolitan I was one of those unabashed Tebaldi fans;
shortly after joining the company, however, I realized I was going to have
to be the one to suggest that it might be a wise idea for her to consider a
different repertoire.

"The day after a particularly harrowing Desdemona, I telephoned her hotel to
ask if I might come to see her. She replied that it would be better if she
came to my office, and we agreed a date.

"At the appointed hour she arrived, dressed in an elegant, subdued suit
covered by a full-length dark mink coat. It was a cold, bright sunny winter
day, and I remember thinking how strikingly attractive she was as she came
through the door and I walked over to greet her.

"We settled into comfortable seats and I began by telling her what pleasure
she’d given to so many people over the exciting years of her career. She
looked at me, acknowledging my comments with a slight nod, obviously waiting
to discuss future plans. I then asked if she’d ever given thought to
appropriate mezzo-soprano roles that might be compatible alternatives to her
present repertoire.

"At the mention of "mezzo-soprano" her back stiffened and her face froze.
She did not say a word, just looked at me with thorough contempt and without
further ado arose out of her chair, wrapped her fur coat around her with
firm authority, and left the room.

"Shortly after this unfortunate rendezvous, we saw each other once more. We
were sitting in adjoining boxes at Carnagie Hall during a memorial concert
celebrating the life of the impresario Sol Hurok. I nodded politely to her;
she looked away. No words were spoken. I was saddened by such a rupture but

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