Well, I can no longer resist the temptation to contribute a few reminiscences on
the subject of these two singers, about whom so much has recently been posted.
Tebaldi - About the end of her Metropolitan career: I saw the lady in staged
opera only once; it may even have been her very last NY performance (she was
awarded the Handel medallion, New York City's arts honor, either at an
intermission or at the end of the performance). Having heard her previously
only in a couple of concert appearances, neither very satisfying, it was for me,
not living near New York at the time, something of a revelation to see her
Desdemona. (Of course, I knew many of her recordings and broadcasts, so I had
not entirely credited the disappointing concert experiences.) Her singing was
better than I had heard before, but her presence in this great Verdi drama is
unforgettable. Only Scotto has exceeded the expectations Tebaldi created for me
in this role. Therefore, for my own very personal reasons I am sorry she did
not have the opportunity to bow out more gracefully and with greater glory.
McCracken - Hated his voice when I first heard it! Wouldn't give it the time of
day for years (how's that for sloppy expression?) and avoided his recordings and
appearances when possible. Then saw his Otello: boom! Couldn't speak for a
quarter of an hour, and loved his work only better and better to the end. (He
WAS the injured party in his battle royal with Metropolitan management. It was
touching when they found the right way to end that feud for the centennial
gala.) I also heard the Newark Otello on which a couple of others reported, but
I would not except his wonderful Radames from praise, as some fans have. It was
stylish and exciting (if not consistently beautiful, as has been said more than
enough, while it needs acknowledging). His too-early death made me sad, and
he'll always be one of my heroes.
Cope N Y C -- ' [log in to unmask] '
'It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that certain je ne sais quoi.'
-- P. D. Q. Schickele