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Re: Margaret Harshaw


Scott Grunow <[log in to unmask]>


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Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:40:17 -0400





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She's the Brunnhilde on the Metropolitan Opera Guild recording of Die Walkure (abridged). Thebom is Fricka, Vinay is Siegmund, Uhde is Wotan, and Marianne Schech is Sieglinde. Rosalind Elias is one of the Valkyries. Mitropoulos conducts! I would not call this cast a "B" list cast at all. Harshaw lacked temperament in the Verdi mezzo roles, but I think when she changed to dramatic soprano the Walkure Brunnhilde suits her voice and temperament. Flagstad she is not, but her performance here is in the big leagues.

I wonder though, if she became the Met's house hochdramatische in the fifties because Varnay was spending more time at Bayreuth and also because Bing and Varnay did not get along (read Varnay's autobiography). (Harshaw also sang two of the more zwischenfach big temperament parts Varnay by that time excelled in, Ortrud and Kundry.) Also, by the early 50s, Traubel, though sounding glorious, had no notes above A (and of course there was the nightclub incident), and Nilsson had yet to burst on the scene as the next Wagnerian soprano superstar.


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