While re cataloging the LP collection here at our radio network, I came
across several featuring Elena Suliotis (sometimes spelled "Souliotis"). I
felt like an archaeologist, although I remeber buying some of these albums
myself when they were new, nearly thirty years ago. Opera/Columbus is about
to present "Anna Bolena" so I was especially interested in reacquainting
myself with the Suliotis recording, about to be released on CD.
Unfortunately, Elena is the hole in the donut, a disastrous performance
amidst fine singing by Horne, Alexander and Ghiaurov. I believe this
recording was the first studio made LP of the complete opera and as such it
attracted considerable attention when new. Mme Suliotis's performance her
is virtually unlistenable. No technique, the voice either crooned or
shouted, her sense of pitch haphazard. Why this was ever released mystifies
And yet...and yet...Her Abigaille is certainly powerful. And to my surprise
their are moments in the abridged Norma recording (why abridged? do they pay
people to make these depictions?) that are effective. The Casta Diva isn't
bad....the final scene has plenty of power. I understand her recording of
Santuzza is exciting. Her Lady Macbeth is at best a party record. The 1966
ara recital has a pretty good "Tu puniscimi" from Luisa Miller.
Who is responsible for the destruction of this artist? Was it record
company greed? Terry McEwen was in charge at London in the 60s. He
produced so many fine recordings. How could he have allowed these? Suliotis
looks like a very beautiful woman but it seems her career was over before
she was thirty. What wasted potential. A few years with a fine teacher and
who knows? Did she ever sing in the States? I 'd be interested in hearing
from people who heard her in the flesh. Was she good on stage or was it all
too much too soon? And what is she doing now? I notice she turned up
around 1990 as the Principessa in Freni's Suor Angelica. The reviews for
her were scathing. I haven't heard it. Did she sing at the Met?
It's sad to relect on these young singers who start out with so much and end
up with nothing. Like Susan Dunn in the 90s....what's happened to her?
WOSU Classics Network
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