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Subject: Re: Novotna
From: Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 5 Oct 2017 23:21:05 -0400

text/plain (60 lines)

On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 10:40 PM, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Jarmila Novotna ... was a fixture as Cherubino when the Met revived "Nozze
> di Figaro" in
> 1940 and there are four surviving broadcasts of her in that opera (two in
> 1940, and then
> 1944 and '49.  (The 12/7/40 broadcast, with Pinza, Rethberg and Sayao,
> under Panizza,
> was the first of the Met's Historic Performances series.)

Then there has to be five surviving broadcasts because one of the two I
have is from 1943, conducted by Breisach (the other set I have is from '44
under Walter, as I mentioned it earlier this evening).

> She also was Elvira in the famous
> 1943 broadcast of "Don Giovanni" under Bruno Walter (with Pinza, Bampton,
> Kullman and
> Kipnis, a great performance and one of the best DG's on disc)

I have the recording of this broadcast (it was in '42; '43 is probably a
typo) but didn't want to mention it in my previous post because I tried to
avoid being negative, not for Novotna whose Elvira was fine, but because I
can't understand why this broadcast gets almost an iconic status when there
were so many problems. From the first act through the end, often the
soloists and orchestra were not synchronized as if Walter lost the control
over their pacing, he also takes odd tempi, and Kipnis inexplicably
personalizes the scene when Leporello imitates Don Giovanni and makes a
humiliating joke on Pinza by exaggerating Pinza's fast vibrato to the
audience's audible laughter. I read that Pinza didn't expect it and was
outraged. I do want to emphasize how reluctant I am to write this because I
absolutely adore both Bruno Walter and Alexander Kipnis, but just don't
understand what happened this night with them all (just about all soloists,
orchestra, conductor...) and even more don't understand why it's so
legendary (in a good sense) when something went terribly wrong. I have it
on Naxos Historical and there is no mistake that it's the same one.

This is my second post, so to respond to Stefan Zucker: I mentioned Ilitsch
*and* Reining (not just Ilitsch), because I had in mind female opera
singers in the context of Novotna being anti-Nazi. Glad to hear about
Thorborg as well. I believe that Stracciari was also anti-fascist, but Bob
Rideout or someone else better familiar with historical singers can answer

Best, Vesna

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