Saturday, July 08, 2006

one great loss, many links

The Standing Room has collected many tributes, stories, and remembrances of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, as well as a nice photograph by Richard Avedon. I'm only now finding out who she was and realizing what a great musician we've lost. On a Fresh Air interview which aired last evening she tells Terri Gross how she got her break from freelance violist to opera star - a very funny story which takes place in a prison. A 2004 New Yorker profile by Charles Michener, "The Soul Singer", also discusses that transformation:
[Emmanuel Music conductor] Craig Smith, whom she has known since her student days at the Boston Conservatory, in the early nineteen-eighties, told me that he regards her training ... as the key to what makes her so special as a singer. “A viola is a middle voice—it has to be alert to everything around it,” he said recently. “There’s something viola-like about the rich graininess of her singing, about her ability to sound a tone from nothing—there’s no sudden switching on of the voice, no click. And, like most violists, she is also self-effacing: without vanity as a singer. When we first performed the Bach cantatas, she just disappeared as a person.”
That she died without many knowing, at home with her family, seems only in keeping with her humble character. Even so, she is being missed keenly and will be remembered for a long time.

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