Opera Daily 🎶 — Singing with conviction
This week's Opera Daily features Edda Moser and her take-no-prisoners style
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One of the many things I love about writing this newsletter is what I find along the way.
Last week when I was preparing Horrifyingly Difficult Opera Arias, I came across Soprano Edda Moser.
I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard her singing before.
Edda Moser, the daughter of German musicologist Hans Joachim Moser, was born and raised in Berlin. When she was a young girl, her mother often found her sitting at the piano and experimenting instead of going outside to play with the other kids. At the age of three, Moser knew Schumann and Schubert songs.
She was passionate about singing and spoke about how singing was very natural for her.
That makes sense.
Edda Moser sings like someone who didn’t need to learn how to produce incredible sounds.
Some people are just born with a naturally great singing voice.
As the blog, LietoFineLondon writes, “And while her voice may not be “beautiful” in the traditional sense, it has a beauty, individuality and real sense of musicianship which should be the envy of many of today’s singers – a unique and distinct timbre.”
Being a natural though, has its drawbacks.
When you are a natural, it’s easy to forgo the work to build a rock-solid technique.
This week I read what the world thought of Edda Moser’s singing. It came as no surprise to me that many loved it. They appreciated her conviction and forgave her technical difficulties later on in her career.
When I discussed Moser with a friend this week, I said her stamina, metal and athleticism reminded me of Corelli. And he responded, “but without Corelli’s technique”.
Her training was primarily in German opera, but she excelled in the Italian operas of Mozart. A true dramatic coloratura soprano. She performed at all the major opera houses around the world, and when she was in her early 20s, Herbert von Karajan invited her to sing the role of Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute—the part that made her famous throughout the world. I’m not sure I’ve heard a Queen of the Night who expresses herself with so much volume, anger, and brilliance! Moser sounds regal and dangerous.
When I originally heard her sing “Martern aller Arten” from Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail all I could think was this singer is going for it. Same when I heard her sing the role of Donna Anna from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Elettra from Mozart’s Idomeneo.
🎧 Listening Example: (3 minute listen): Soprano Edda Moser singing “Der Hölle Rach” (popularly known as “The Queen of the Night Aria”) from Act 2 of the opera Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) by Mozart
🎧 Listening Example: (3 minute listen): Soprano Edda Moser singing “Or sai chi l'onore”, Donna Anna’s aria from Act 1 of Mozart’s Don Giovanni
🎧 Listening Example: (4 minute listen): Soprano Edda Moser singing Elettra’s third aria from Mozart’s opera Idomeneo, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt (Conductor), Staatskapelle Dresden
Thank you for reading (and listening),
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Moser's Queen of the Night is on the Voyager record -- so if there are aliens out there, that's the first opera they'll ever hear!
A lot of drama - took my breath away