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Subject: Re: Norman Treigle (was Re: singers who should have had big international careers - but didnt)
From: Paul Ferraro <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Paul Ferraro <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 2 Oct 2017 09:54:01 -0400

text/plain (72 lines)

FULLY & 110% agree with you on Norman Treigle! Talk about versatility - 
saw him as both the Gounod & Boito devils (in the latter, his 
performance was so realistic, especially the "seizure" he had at the 
end, writhing & rolling around the stage, when the angels win the fight, 
it actually resulted in nightmares - also, Boris, when at the end of the 
hallucination scene, he collapsed to the floor& missed cracking his head 
on the edge of the map table by inches.  There were also performances of 
Gianni Schichi & as you said, Hoffman, Le Coq D'Or, reverend Blitch, & 
other great, great parts.

One can only imagine what his Archibaldo, Scarpia, & especially, Grand 
Inquisitor, would have been like.

Oh, if only the "powers that be" had SOME videos of his 
characterizations - there's only a scene as the "good" Reverend Blitch!



On 10/1/2017 11:06 PM, Max D. Winter wrote:
> I was a bit surprised to see Norman Treigle on your list of "discoveries."  Of course, I'm glad
> you discovered him, but he was hardly unknown, being one of the most prominent singers
> in the United States for many years and the leading bass-baritone of the New York City
> Opera.  He was one of the greatest singing actors of his time, with a phenomenal presence
> on stage and a great, black bass voice - not conventionally beautiful, but powerful and
> expressive.
> He made major recordings of "Mefistofele" (IMO the cream of the crop for that opera), "Les
> Contes d'Hoffmann," and "Giulio Cesare."  He also sang in a production of "Faust" at Covent
> Garden in 1974 (his reception was mixed, as he was ill and had also broken a foot), as well
> as a semi-staged concert performance of "Mefistofele" at Festival Hall.  In his time he was
> one of the greatest performers in the world in the roles of Mefistofele (Boito),
> Mephistopheles (Gounod), the Four Villains in "Les contes d'Hoffmann, and Boris Godunov.
> He was an important artist in my operatic awareness, as I saw him in a number of his great
> roles in my early opera-going days in San Antonio, including Mephistopheles, the Four
> Villains, Boris Godunov (he was titanic in that part), King Dodon in "Le coq d'or," and
> Escamillo.  Alas, I never saw him as Mefistofele.
> Treigle was a truly great artist (people who saw his Mefistofele at the NYCO say it was
> unforgettable) but an unhappy man in his personal life.  He smoked and drank a lot and
> took a lot of barbituates.  He died at 47 of an accidental sleeping pill overdose, far too early
> for such a great artist to be taken from us.  Would he have had more of an international
> career had he lived?  Interest in him abroad was picking up in 1974, and in addition to
> Covent Garden he had offers from Rolf Lieberman in Paris, and also Karajan, who wanted
> him for a recording of "Faust" with Freni.  Also, the Met had been trying seriously to engage
> him since before Bing left in 1972 (Bing did not like Treigle's voice and generally had a
> snotty attitude toward singers who sang at NYCO, including Sills).  But Treigle kept turning
> down these offers for a variety of reasons, so who knows what would have happened had he
> lived longer?  Maybe nothing much outside of the U.S.  Apparently he did not like to travel.
> Recollections of Treigle on stage by those who saw him would be welcome, I am sure.

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