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Subject: So Long Met - Hello World: Post Met Careers
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Tue, 30 Jan 2018 16:32:38 -0500

text/plain (63 lines)

Mr. Carver wrote:

“I always wonder why, as in Milanov's case, why singers retire from the 
stage almost completely when they retire from the MET.  There are so 
many other opera houses around the world. Plus, one could start a recital 

* * * * 

While that may have been very true in the past, for some time now, many 
singers, once they’ve sung their last at the Met, have continued singing 

One that springs to mind immediately – because I loved and still love her – 
is Hildegard Behrens.  Her final Met performance was in a 1999 Wozzeck 
which garnered rave reviews for all involved: Grundheber in the title role – 
who had only just finished a run of Rigoletto with the company, and 

Behrens continued singing for another 10 years, right up until her sudden 
death at 72, collapsing during a masterclass at the Kusatsa Festival in 
Japan where she was also scheduled to perform a recital.  She had been 
involved and proud of her work at the festival for several years.  She took 
on new roles, including a world premiere of an opera for Berio (who had 
composed it for her), The Kostelnicka in Jenufa, Lady McBeth of Mtsensk 
and Schoenberg’s Pierrot Luinaire.  

At 67 she gave the vocal equivalent of a “monster concert” wherein she 
sang Schumann’s Frauneliebe und Leben, followed by the big monologues 
of 1) the Kostelnicka and 2) Elektra.  After intermission she sang Wagner’s 
Wessendonck Lied, THEN Brunnhilde’s Immolation Scene.  Insane.  

Leontyne Price sang her final operatic role, Aida, at the Met in 1985.  While 
never appearing again in an opera she did she continue giving recitals for 
another dozen years.  I attended one of her last – she was 70 – and still 
sounded magnificent offering a formidable program of arias by Handel, 
Mozart, Verdi and Puccini, and songs by Rorem, Strauss and Hoiby, with 
about a handful of encores.  

Then there’s the case of Renata Scotto last seen on the Met stage in a 
1987 Butterfly, but continued singing, not only recitals, but new major 
roles, including the Marschallin, Elle (La Voix Humaine), Madame Flora (The 
Medium), Kundry, Klytemnestra, Charlotte (Werther) and Ewartung.  For 
someone who made their stock-in-trade as an Italian singer in Italian roles, 
her post-Met career seems to have been primarily German and French.  In 
addition to singing, Scotto also taught and directed – a lot.  

Three great ladies!


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