Jun 7, 2021Liked by Opera Daily

So informative - thank you

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Jun 13, 2021Liked by Opera Daily

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.

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