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Subject: Callas and Chaliapin and Rysanek
From: Gregory Berg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Tue, 1 Jul 1997 14:23:37 -0400
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Bergitas here.   Bobolink (with whom I almost always agree) hesitates to put
Rysanek in line with Callas and Chaliapin as an artist with it all.  I'm not
sure I can concur.  At the peak of her career, in the repertoire that best
suited her, I think she indeed could stand beside them.  My opinion is an
amateur one, I suppose, in that I never saw C and C - and only twice have
seen and heard Rysanek in person.  (Once was Chrysothemus - the second was
Klytamnestra.)  But on the strength of those encounters plus the video of her
Salome (probably the single most incredible performance I have on my shelf)
 I have to place Rysanek in that same realm of utter magic.  No,  Rysanek
does not belong there on the strength of her Verdi (distinguished though it
sometimes was) or Puccini -  and there was that rough patch in the early 60s
when so much went wrong in her singing.   But when she was riding the crest
of her wave, as Senta opposite George London - as Sieglinde - as the Kaiserin
- in Elektra - and in some of the gripping later performances - I think
singing strengths and theatrical strengths came together in unforgettable
fashion.   I can already hear the "Yes, but. . ." comments coming in from all
sides, but I would reply that both Callas and Chaliapin can generate the
same, when appraised honestly.  And again I say, I am trying to judge THEIR
best against HER best.  So these are my three.  Charlie H. mentions Christa
Ludwig as yet another worthy candidate for this inner circle, and I find it
hard to argue - although I haven't seen enough Ludwig to know if she could
work theatrical magic like the other three could.  Certainly she was an
eloquent and expressive singer of the highest order who also used that rich,
warm voice so wisely and confidently over the years.  About Caruso, I cannot
venture a guess.  I'll leave that to those of you who were around back then.
 Who wants to go first?!?!

[log in to unmask]
Greg Berg   Racine, WI

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