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Whatever became of....


"CHARLES H. HANDELMAN" <[log in to unmask]>




Thu, 19 Mar 1998 12:33:03 -0500





text/plain (1 lines)

Hi all,
 I much appreciate Michael Barclay's quest for info.on many singers,and i
will fill in whatever I know,knowing we all will pool our resources.

 1. Rita Gorr still sings.At 67,the voice is wonderful in the middle and
low,and she did Ulrica,the Medium,etc. She sang a great Neris in Medea a
few yrs.ago conducted by my friend David Spiro in Boston. He found her a
delightful lady,and she looks and sounds superb.

 2. Shakeh Vartenissian was consigned to itsy bitsy roles in the Met in
ther 50's.A friend of mine met her one night at the Met,and she became a
"buddy' to us for a few years.She used to sing "D'amor sull'ali" in my ear
on the subway train.We all had great times and she was so much fun..adored
Victoria de los Angeles,with whom she appeared (Pousette in Manon) and then
went to Spoleto and did macbeth(I have the tape.) Then she went to Europe
and did Nabucco,Aida,Ernani,etc...and recorded (not too well) the Verdi
Requiem on an old capitol Lp. Then she had some health problems and sort of
faded away.....a magnificent,rich voice..but never made a big name as we
thought she would.

3. Since I am close with Virginia Zeani,she speaks fondly of her late
husband,Nicola Rossi-Lemeni. He was very famous as an artist,but vocally I
was never impressed..However he did have a big name and appeared with
Callas a lot,as we know from recordings. Virginia would love to sell his
Boris costume to a worthy basso if anyone is interested.She adored him so
much,and always wants to be addressed as "Virginia Zeani-Rossi-Lemeni."

 4. Teresa Stich-Randall. She is currently living with Mike Richter,and
anytime he has problems with neighbors,he asks her to vocalize,resulting in
them running out of the house in absolute terror.

 5. Sylvia Sass.She was the Medea with Gorr in that Boston performance I
mentioned. Voice is pretty much shot,and a shame,because she was once
quite impresive...but another "Callas clone" who never really made it.

 6. Shirley Verrett,one of the greatest singers i ever saw,I believe
teaches at the univ.of M ichigan, if I am not mistaken. I have always
written about her here,because i thought she was a sensational singer,and
some day I would like to tell her so. I know that European audiences go
wild over her,judging from tapes,but i do not think she got enough
recognition here.

7. Ursula Schroeder-Feinen. Another "weekend career" who sang a
magnificient Siegfried Brunnhilde when I saw her in 1970,then flopped in
Frau and then faded away. A great potential voice,but I guess a faulty
technique,like someone else you might have mentioned,Theresa Kubiak,who
started out wonderful,and then who knows what became of her. (Same with
Roberta Knie,Marita Napier,Radmila Bacocevic,Angeles Gulin,etc.) See why
Zinka LASTED????? TECHNIQUE!!!!!!!!

 8. Elena Obratsova. Caused a sensation here in 1976 as Amneris. I saw her
and was not impressed...not much of an artist..loud..loud..loud..Chest
voice like Gottlob Frick but muddy middle and not a thrilling top. Now her
wobble,like Cotrubas,on a Video from Siracusa,is wide enough to drive Rita
Hunter through.(I adored Rita,by the way!!!)

9. Reri Grist. I think she teaches.She was one of the girls in the original
West Side Story, and a graduate of my Alma mater,Queens College..where the
Parterre Box was born(G). Small voice...but beautiful and a fine artist.

10. Elena Suliotis. PECCATO!!!!! The instrument was something awesome,but
if you buy the Suor Angelica on London for HER,as I did,you will be very
unhappy..NOTHING LEFT! In saw her here in 1976,and,despite the white
top,the voice was absolutely awesome...but she,like so many others, played
too many Callas records,and faded into virtual oblivion. Get her early
tapes because there is much there to thrill you.

    I know others on the list are retired and some deceased (Brouwenstijn,
a great Sieglinde on RCA/London), Wohlfart(died young of an ear
infection),,Wegner also I think is dead.
   A shame that singers like Baltsa,Plowright,Neblett,etc. never reached
their great potential..but it shows that it is a rough world out
there...that is why we must admire a Magda Olivero (88 next week), an
Alfredo Kraus,or a Carlo Bergonzi,because they lasted so long.
  Grazie,Mike,for the interesting concept..I know there are more out
there..Marisa Galvany,who sings Azucena in the park in July,is one
other,but she did plenty of good stuff for about 20 years,and there is
plenty left.

as ever Charlie

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