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Subject: Re: Helen Traubel: The loviiest Night of the Year
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 23 Aug 2017 18:01:51 -0700
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Helen Traubel was plain and simple, one of the greatest voices of the
twentieth century and one of the handful of truly great American singers.
She had a rather strange career, mainly because of her nature - she first
auditioned for Gatti Casazza in 1926 but turned down an offered contract
because she felt herself unready.  She probably still felt herself unready
when she finally accepted a Met contract to star in Damrosch's Man Without
A Country.  Even her forays into Wagner seemed halfhearted.  She sort of
fell into it because of Flagstad's return to Europe and Marjorie Lawrence's
being struck down by polio.  She never received the respect she deserved.
And of course, there was the contretemps with Bing.  He had the notorious
 feud with Melchior and I don't think he was really interested in Traubel.
When Flagstad returned, part of her agreeing to come back was her respect
for Traubel and pointedly letting Bing know that she would not push Traubel
out.  They shared Ring Cycles and Flagstad did Fidelio and Traubel sang the
Marschallin.  Traubel herself was probably not interested in staying any
longer, she certainly went out of her way to piss Bing off.  I'm sure she
realized the top was continuing to disappear and in those days, star
dramatic soprano's didn't usually become mezzo's or contraltos.  Very few
went that route.  They usually retired.  In many ways, she was like Eileen
Farrell. Similar voice types, similar personalities.  Both immense natural
gifts.

Donald

On Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 5:02 PM, Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> Call me an “easy” mark but Helen Traubel’s voice and manner in these
> popular songs is Drop Dead Gorgeous – I expected more of a “shot and beer”
> girl hiking up her skirts – but she never compromises the integrity and
> grandeur of her essential gift.  There is the occasional misjudgment –
> “Poor Butterfly ”  becomes “Mon Coeur s’ouvre a ta voix…”   but even in
> that case the voice is so opulent and the delivery so generous  you have no
> choice but to give in.
>
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