Friday, September 24, 2021

For the Love of Opera


I wrote this in February of 2020, before the pandemic:

"One of the reasons I began blogging was to spend time praising my beloved favorites.  At the time these were Cecilia Bartoli, Anna Netrebko, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.  I quickly added Jonas Kaufmann after a trip to see Cecilia in Zurich.  Dmitri has died, but the other three are still singing, and I still follow their careers.

"All of these lists will be limited to singers active during the life of this blog.  I can also be said to love from early in the blog René Pape, Karita Mattila, Nina Stemme, Maria Guleghina, Susan Graham, Angela Gheorghiu, Elina Garanča, Piotr Beczala, Renée Fleming, Natalie Dessay, and Juan Diego Florez.  This should not be regarded as a complete list.  Forgive me if I have omitted your favorite.  Dessay has retired from opera.

"Newer enthusiasms include Lisette Oropesa, Sondra Radvanovsky, Isabel Leonard,  Christine Goerke, Pretty Yende, Javier Camarena, Anja Harteros, Erin Morley, Lawrence Brownlee, Anita Rachvelishvili, Ludovic Tezier, Luca Pisaroni,and Matthew Polenzani.  It is interesting to me that none of these newer artists have aroused the level of passion experienced from the earlier discoveries. Lisette might manage it, though.  Part of this lessening of passion can be attributed to my advancing age."

One name will be conspicuously missing from this rather too long list.  Only the singers in the first paragraph count as true loves.  So I thought I was too old to experience the true passion for a singer.  None of them have topped this sudden love for the Norwegian soprano, Lise Davidsen.  I was sincere in thinking this was simply not any longer possible.  

It seems to have a personal aspect which the others do not have.  Before appearing on the international opera stage, Lise sang Bach and Lieder, things I also sang.  I feel sympathy for her musical mind.  With Cecilia it was the strangeness and shock of her very individual interpretations which always surprised me.  With Lise it is the familiarity.   Of course, she also has the most exciting voice I've ever heard.

Lise is "an amazing human being" to quote the Screaming Divas.  Love comes to me not from surprise, but from comfort and familiarity.  She reaches the deep corners of my musical soul.   Thank you, dear.

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