We thought we’d switch it up a bit this week and share some documentaries, interviews and masterclasses we’ve been gathering on our favorite singers. We’ll be adding to this list moving forward.
Here’s a short excerpt of Jessye Norman on (opera) critics. Good reminder for all of life, not just singing! (If you’d like to see this full interview, you can find it here.)
Pavarotti and the Italian Tenor, 1992, WATCH
Leyla Gencer: La Diva Turca, 2019, WATCH
Maria By Callas, 2017, WATCH ON APPLE TV
Joan Sutherland Interview on the Charlie Rose Show, 1998, WATCH
Marilyn Horne Interview on the Charlie Rose Show, 1993, WATCH
Richard Bonynge talking Pavarotti, WATCH
Maria Callas Interview with Lord Harewood, 1968, WATCH
Maria Callas Today interview with Barbara Walters, 1974, WATCH
Birgit Nilsson talks to Bernard Levin, 1972, WATCH
Joan Sutherland talks to Bernard Levin, 1973, WATCH
NEA Opera Honors, Interview with Martina Arroyo, 2010, WATCH
NEA Opera Honors, Frederica von Stade on Marilyn Horne, 2009, WATCH
The Human Parade, Jay Nordlinger interviews Renée Fleming, 2011, WATCH
Masterclass, Joan Sutherland, 1995, WATCH
Opera Stars giving lessons on how to sing, WATCH
Thank you for reading and listening,
So informative - thank you
There was a lot to digest in this week's Opera Daily selections. I loved the two Jessye Norman interviews best. It takes strength and courage to stand in one's own truth when faced with the withering reviews of professional critics. I chuckled when she dismissed critics as being relatively unimportant in the larger scheme of things, since they were neither family, nor mentors, nor fans and didn't even purchase a ticket to the performance.
She responded to questions on BBC Hardtalk with knowledge, sophistication and grace (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keCO9DQE4RI&t=275s), even those with a clear intent to bait her on her race, gender and size, all of which proved to be no impediment to achieving opera superstar status. Miss Norman's dignified, self-assured replies made the interviewer Stephen Sackur look like a knave in the regal, commanding presence of a queen. She was the epitome of "When they go low, we go high."
The "Pavarotti and The Italian Tenor" documentary was so engaging that I followed up with the "Luciano Pavarotti Tribute" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTvbQFIT-cU&t=500s). The interviews with Mike Wallace, as he and his family relaxed on a family vacation in Barbados, gave me a glimpse of the artist's personal life in his later years.
Of course, Maria Callas is in a league of her own. I am always glad to find a moment to read about, see and listen to her, whether on stage, on film, on television, or in a master class. Barbara Walters's interview highlighted the beauty and serenity she achieved in the post- Aristotle Onassis phase of her life.
Despite being able to access their performances on video, I felt a little sad seeing and hearing Jessye Norman, Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Maria Callas and Birgit Nilsson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birgit_Nilsson). It was good that you balanced them out with the living divas Martina Arroyo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martina_Arroyo), Marilyn Horne (who I came across singing "Make A Rainbow" at Bill Clinton's inauguration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPFKHlfpbBo), Renée Fleming and Frederica von Stade.
While I didn't much care for the master classes this time around, I definitely intend to finish the documentary "La Turca Diva". What I saw of Leyla Gencer's life, including her memorial after death, was quite amazing.
I enjoyed learning how these successful artists saw themselves, their talent, their careers and the art of opera. It was rewarding to experience them simply as people.