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Subject: Re: Heather Harper
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 8 Jul 2018 13:44:53 -0700
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That book is my favorite singer bio.  Its harrowing in parts and so real.
As for Vishnevskaya and Rostropovich, they were the most amazing musical
couple of the twentieth century.  I loved her from the time I was a
teenager.  My first Verdi Requiem was with the New York Phil - 1967 or 8.
Bernstein conducting.  Vishnevskaya, Horne, Tucker and Siepi (I think).  I
remember she started Libera me a bit off - sharp I believe.  Intoned the
first Libera me domine di morte then stopped realizing she was off and
started again.  That is a pro and a great artist.  Most would continue on,
try to regain the pitch and hope no one noticed.

Donald

On Sat, Jul 7, 2018 at 10:38 AM Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Thanks for this informative excerpt from Culshaw's memoir. I checked
> Vishnevskaya's memoir, which I join Paul in highly recommend it even if
> someone is not interested in this particular soprano but for her
> unforgettably vivid description of the musical life in the oppressive
> regime. She explains that the choice of Latin came during the conversation
> when Britten proposed her the part in his WAR REQUIEM. On p. 305:
> " 'Have you ever sung in English?'
> 'No, of course not. Only in Italian.'
> 'Then I'll write your part in Latin. Do you know Latin?'
> 'Yes!' I exclaimed, and joyfully threw my arms around his neck. That
> winter, Britten sent me the music for my part in installments, and I
> learned it right away."
>
> Apropos of the recollection that one of our listers, Simon, shared about
> his experience of attending the WAR REQUIEM with Vishnevskaya in Edinburgh
> at the time of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Vishnevskaya mentions
> that concert in her book but reflects more on her husband's experience only
> a day or so after the invasion. He was scheduled to play, of all pieces,
> Dvorak's cello concerto in London at that time while there were
> demonstrations against the Soviets/Russians. He was deeply embarrassed by
> the act of his government. Having to play the concerto by the composer
> whose country has just been invaded, he poured out his emotions about the
> whole situation through his deeply affecting performance of Dvorak which
> the audience sensed and greeted. Yet another vivid description of the
> turbulent events where politics and music intersect in this memoir that is
> truly a page-turner, as Paul said.
>
> Vesna
>
>
> On Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 2:59 PM, Sterling . <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> > Hi all,
> >
> > From “Putting the Record Straight” by John Culshaw:
> >
> > “It was Britten’s wish that, whenever possible, an Englishman and a
> German
> > should sing the music of the soldiers and so it was arranged for Peter
> > Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau to appear.  For the soprano, who sings
> > in Latin and takes part in the Mass rather than the songs, Britten
> wanted a
> > Russian, and specifically Galina Vishnevskaya.  ...  The Russian
> > authorities had at that stage raised no objection to Vishnevskaya’s visit
> > to Coventry, and a vocal score had already been sent to her ; but Britten
> > was under pressure to arrange for an understudy, in case the Russians
> had a
> > last-minute change of heart.  He had chosen Heather Harper, and she had
> > graciously accepted what might be a thankless task.”  [p.289-90]
> >
> > FWIW, Harper’s recording of “Shéhérazade” [Boulez conducts] is really
> > something to conjure with.
> >
> > Best to all,
> >
> > Sterling Fuller-Lewis
> >
> > www.pathway2opera.com
> >
>
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