Let me see...Singers who were cast in leading roles at the Met and didn't
conquer. That's a tough one. It seems to me that the 'breakthrough' that
Marton had was unusual.
It is true that Eve Marton didn't make much of an impression when she first
appeared at the Met back in the season of 1976/77.
I was in the house the night of her debut--nothing special, believe me!
She was one of two Ev'chens in those few performances of MEISTERSINGER,
alternating with the Sachs of both Thomas Stewart and Norman Bailey. I was
also in the house a couple of times to hear Mastilovic's ELEKTRA and Marton
just happened to be the Chrysothemis--certainly nothing as wonderful or
indelible as Leonie's marvelous Chrysothemis which was the 'gold standard'
at the time. Marton didn't return or 3 seasons.
After that, Marton went off to the Teatro Colon and sang the Empress in
FRAU, then Munich for a Helena , Strauss's AEGYPTISCHE HELENA, then some
Toscas here and there. I recall her Maddelena in CHENIER opposite Domingo
on the radio from the LOC. Nothing special.
Then I flew out to San Francisco for FRAU in 1980 and heard her Empress for
the first time and it was if an entirely new operatic phenomenon had
emerged. The voice had grown in size and volume. It was amazing. It
can't think of any parallels at the moment.
You made mention of Anneliese Rothenberger....
I saw the Rennert LULU at the Met when the Hamburg State Opera visited New
York back in 1967. If I recall, there were only two performances and they
both sold out. I remember because I convinced a friend from Washington
that he should not miss it and then he couldn't or wouldn't show and I was
stuck for the ticket he hadn't paid for and I had no trouble getting rid of
The audience was very enthusiastic. It was my first LULU and done in old
unfinished 2-act version.
I had been familiar with Anneliese Rothenberger from my visits to Munich
back in 1959 and had seen her as Constanza and Queen of Night as well as
Zdenka. Since I was more used to Rothenberger in those roles and later at
the Met I caught her Oscar and Susanna, Zdenka and Sophie, so it took me a
little time to accept her as LULU but she did well with it.