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Subject: Re: John Aler
From: Lynne Price <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Lynne Price <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 27 Oct 1998 18:51:24 -0500

text/plain (72 lines)

Jon Alan Conrad wrote:
> On Tue, 27 Oct 1998, Braden Mechley wrote:
> > At 4:54 PM -0500 10/27/98, John F Deredita Ph.D. wrote:
> > > Sight unseen, Aler is one of my candidates for the next Three or Six.

        As a self-appointed John Aler groupie, I could not agree more!

> > I'm not referring to his appearance _per se_ but rather the strange shaking
> > and contorting he seems to have to do to produce that well-modulated,
> > attractive tone.

        Since I have been attending performances that John has done, I have
also noticed this strange phenomenon as well.  I had the privilege of
singing with John and the Oratorio Society of Washington (now The
Washington Chorus) in Gabriel Pierné's rarely performed work <La
Croisade des Enfants>.  Even though I could only see him from the rear,
I was quite amazed at the physical contortions the body was going
through during the piece.  Strangely enough, his voice sounded so weary
in all four performances, the last one being at Carnegie Hall.

        He will be performing the world premiere of John Corigliano's <Dylan
Thomas> with the National Symphony and the Choral Arts Society of
Washington at Carnegie Hall next March.

 Certainly I've found his artistry and vocal skills
> invariably satisfying on recordings and in live broadcasts (I remember
> when he was a Met finalist, outsang everyone else, and *didn't* receive
> one of the prizes they were then giving).

        The last time I saw John in an opera was in Baltimore in 1996 in Les
Pêcheurs de Perles in Baltimore.  He had just come off a bout with
laryngitis and probably should have cancelled, although he did cancel a
Handel concert at the Kennedy Center just the week before; he had called
me that very morning to tell me the bad news, since he knew I was
coming.  Nevertheless, his voice in Baltimore sounded pretty bad; he was
definitely straining then.

        I did see him do Semele at the Maryland Handel Festival before he made
that marvelous recording, and the <Where'er you walk> was beyond any
mortal belief!  But then I also saw him do Judas Maccabeus at the same
festival several years later, and the voice had developed a nasty
wobble.  Did anyone see his St. Francis of Assisi in Salzburg this past

  Besides the SEMELE already
> mentioned, check out his recitals on Newport Classics, especially the
> Liszt where he sails through the Petrarch Sonnets and their altitudinous
> tessitura.

        Jon is absolutely right here.  He and accompanist Daniel Blumenthal are
a magic duet.  I saw him perform these same sonnets back in 1991, and
the top of the voice was crystalline.

        As has been mentioned before on this list, John's sung French is
impeccable.  Les Pêcheurs de Perles and Le Toréador are two that
immediately come to mind.  And of course, he is an excellent interpreter
of baroque, especially Handel and Bach.

        Nevertheless, the opera career never took off like it should have, but
who knows why not?


Lynne Price
Frederick, MD
[log in to unmask]

"Remember, wherever you may go, there you are."

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