Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Losing (and gaining the spirit of) two important opera singers

Remarkably, these two important singers died within a day of each other last week and both at the age of 92. Opera history fades so fast and our culture ignores even its recent past, which means it is always good to be reminded, recall (or even learn about for the first time) what our current opera world is built on ... and how so much has changed (opera premiering on Broadway!!) Additionally, we are reminded how much has, unfortunately, stayed the same (the often painful struggle for opportunity, authenticity, and artistic fulfillment.)
Both singers were connected with New York City Opera during the company's better days. Camilla Williams' debut in the role of Madama Butterfly, apart from it's historic ramifications, is fraught with cultural irony. She is also strongly associated with Porgy and Bess which has been much with us this year in a controversial production from A.R.T., now on Broadway in a version that differs from its original operatic aspirations.
"Opera" on Broadway???
Patricia Neway appeared in Menotti there ... as well as winning a Tony for The Sound of Music
Operatic voices on Broadway? Microphones ... amplification ... many important questions ... and some answers in the dedication and persistence of these inspiring operatic presences.

--John Conklin, Artistic Advisor

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