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Subject: Re: Lotte Schone
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 1 Mar 2018 01:44:34 -0600
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Vesna:

    While I can't really comment about Herbert von Karajan (I don't know enough, though I know that he was "tainted" sufficiently to the extent that Richard Tucker refused to work with von Karajan and never did.  Von Karajan, according to what I've read, was originally supposed to conduct the EMI Callas Aida (1955) with Tucker, Barbieri, and Gobbi.   As it turned out, Tucker threatened to withdraw from the recording if von Karajan was conducting, so Tullio Serafin took over.  A year later, Von Karajan conducted the EMI Callas Trovatore.  Tucker was originally cast in this recording as well, but he refused again to work with Von Karajan, and di Stefano deputized for him.  And of course, Von Karajan was not engaged by the Met (Rudolph Bing) until years later (and it proved a rather rocky and short tenure).  I also found it a bit of a paradox that Leontyne Price worked with Von Karajan relatively frequently during her career.  So who knows what really happened?

    With Schwarzkopf, you may have hit a bull's eye.  Schwarzkopf was an extremely ambitious lady, even in her youth.  She wanted a world class career and she of course had the attributes to achieve it.  She was also very sharp and shrewd.  She used the Nazis to her own advantage, and after the war ended up in London, where she already had caught the eye of Walter Legge.  The rest is history.  She became a favorite in London, Austria, and finally, in the U.S.A., where she sang opera regularly in San Francisco and Chicago ------- and gave lieder recitals throughout the United States as well as Europe.  Bing was adamant and wouldn't engage her at the Met until the 1964-65 season, by which time her voice was starting to decline.  She returned for a second season in 1965-1966 but after a disaster with Donna Elvira, left the Met never to return.  While there were "murmurs" about her Nazi past, it was kept in the background.  To her credit, she never opened her mouth about it and the full truth never came out until she retired and that book was written about her.  She was very unhappy about it and would not comment.  But since she was already retired, it made little impact.

    But Tiana Lemnitz and Maria Mueller were blatantly more open about it, and were known to have sung for Hitler in Germany.  Lemnitz to her dying day cursed the fact that the Allies won the war.  Very different situation.  Ironically, the one who suffered most (and she was totally innocent) was Flagstad.  Of course she was the biggest star and the most publicized.  She went through hell in this country from 1947 to 1951, even though she had tons of supporters and loyal fans here.  But the strain on her nerves must have been overwhelming.  She felt that by continuing to sing, she would prove her innocence, which she did.  Bing hired her immediately while Edward Johnson was afraid to.  

    Schwarzkopf must have been as politically astute as Flagstad was unsophisticated.  It kind of amazes me that Schwarzkopf was able to sustain such a long and distinguished career until the late 1970s without the truth about her beginnings remained hidden.  Yes, she was a great artist and a magnificent singer, but I often wonder what would have happened to HER had the truth come out in 1952 instead of 1987.  She obviously knew how to"play the game" and come out smelling like a rose.  Of course, the fact that she married Waler Legge didn't hurt her one bit.

> On March 1, 2018 at 12:14 AM Vesna Danilovic wrote:
> 
> 
>     Indeed, my comment needs some clarification.
> 
>     I can't say how much they knew about genocides but they must have noticed
>     that their Jewish and other colleagues were massively disappearing while
>     others, who were racially acceptable to the regime, were taking their jobs.
> 
>     After reading the enormously informative THE TWISTED MUSE by Michael Kater,
>     Karajan and Schwarzkopf do not appear to me to be so much the cases of
>     trying to stay employed as more the cases of professional greed and lofty
>     ambitions. Already early on, Schwarzkopf seized the opportunity to become a
>     Nazi Student leader of the women section in her college, which combined
>     with her indisputable talent but also carefully cultivated connections with
>     her patrons at high places, ensured her a singing career at the Deutch
>     Oper. Meanwhile she also joined the party. But apparently that was not good
>     enough for her and she famously behaved capriciously and arrogantly
>     (repeatedly coming late to rehearsals etc.) as she apparently preferred to
>     be transferred to Preussische Staatsoper, and so on and on. After reading
>     these pages about her, heavily documented as the rest of the book, she
>     strikes me as someone who shrewdly manipulated the Nazi political
>     circumstances to advance her rather unhealthy ambitions. I say "unhealthy"
>     especially given the horrific circumstances at the time (even if she didn't
>     know about genocides she must have seen masses of people, suddenly
>     unemployed and having to wear "yellow badges").
> 
>     BTW, even though not documented as Kater's scholarly work but it's
>     revelatory nonetheless, Vishnevskaya's memoir shows how much the same
>     unconscionable behavior was typical for a number of singers in the Soviet
>     regime, "beating" the competition through disgusting political machinations
>     that often had horrific consequences for their victims.
> 
>     Vesna
> 
>     On Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 11:58 PM, Maxwell Paley wrote:
> 
>         > > I don’t feel so sure about Schwarzkopf or Karajan. I think there’s
> >         reasonable evidence to support the notion that joining the Nazi party to
> >         stay employed was much like some jobs requiring you join a union. I don’t
> >         at all assume that every performer who joined the party for employment
> >         purposes was aware of the genocide horrors.
> > 
> >         Max Paley
> > 
> >         Sent from my iPad
> > 
> >             > > > On Feb 28, 2018, at 8:09 PM, Vesna Danilovic
> > > 
> > >         > > wrote:
> >         >
> > 
> >             > > > Another Lotte Schone's admirer over here. I have both Preiser and Pearl
> > > 
> > >         > > CDs
> > 
> >             > > > (fortunately it's one of better Pearl transfers), but I am thrilled to
> > > 
> > >         > > hear
> > 
> >             > > > that Marston will issue all of her recordings in his transfer.
> > > 
> > >             A great Mozartian, also wonderful in the Italian repertory and quite
> > >             charming in the Viennese operettas. The beauty of her tone and flawless
> > >             technique are evident in every single recording of hers.
> > > 
> > >             To tie her sad story of forced exile to the discussion about Lemnitz on
> > >             another thread - she is a perfect example why I don't feel comfortable
> > > 
> > >         > > not
> > 
> >             > > > only about Lemnitz, a reputed Nazi who didn't change her bigoted views
> > > 
> > >         > > even
> > 
> >             > > > after the tragedies at Auschwitz and other concentration camps came to
> > >             light, but also others like Schwarzkopf who opportunistically joined the
> > >             Nazi party (after many decades of her denials, the facts have been
> > >             uncovered about her Nazi Party affiliation) to fill the positions vacated
> > >             by the racist laws that sent Jewish singers like Schone into exile or,
> > > 
> > >         > > even
> > 
> >             > > > worse, to death camps.
> > > 
> > >             Although her career was cut short - she was still in her prime when
> > > 
> > >         > > forced
> > 
> >             > > > to flee into exile - it's terrific at so many levels that her legacy
> > > 
> > >         > > lives
> > 
> >             > > > on even after some 80 years or so.
> > > 
> > >             Vesna
> > > 
> > >                 > > > > On Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 2:21 PM, Bob Rideout
> > > > 
> > > >             > > > 
> > >         > > wrote:
> >         >>
> >         >> A magnificent singer whose recorded legacy is very well
> >         >> represented in a number of excellent transfers on Preiser
> >         >> (Lebendige Vergangenheit).
> >         >>
> >         >> She was among the large group of German Jews who were
> >         >> forced to flee Getmany in the early days of the Third Reich.
> >         >> According to sketchy notes that I have put together over
> >         >> the years, she survived WWII hiding in the French Alps
> >         >> and did sing in Berlin after the war. She retired in 1953 and
> >         >> died in 1977, at about 86 years of age.
> >         >>
> >         >> The Preiser CDs are superb; well worth your time and money!
> >         >>
> >         >> Bob
> >         >>
> >         >>> On Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 13:53 gordon young
> >         wrote:
> >         >>>
> >         >>> This talk of Lemnitz brought to mind another wonderful German singer of
> >         >> the
> >         >>> period Lotte Schone. Back in lp days I collected most of these singers
> >         >> and
> >         >>> how I fell in love with Schone's Butterfly arias. Her singing of Che tu
> >         >>> madre blew me away the first time I heard it and that has not changed.
> >         >>> Gordon
> >         >>>
> >         >>> https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lotte+schone%2Fpuccini
> >         >>>
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