This is the respect opera deserves

A fabulous clip from, what is fast becoming the last bastion for real opera lovers to see a marvelous array of opera splendor not over hyped in today’s way and really having something very special.

This is a selection from the Gala in honor of Rudolph Bing. Look at the white tie and tail coats on almost all the board members. The incoming Mr. Gentele, who actually was the man who signed my first contract. He seemed a lovely and articulate man. We will never know what wonderful things he would have done, as he died in a car crash before being able to begin his tenure.

The orders of some wonderful honor either from Austria or Paris or the British monarchy, hang around Sir Rudolph Bing’s neck and his pride evident but his horror of exposed emotion.

My childhood was filled with reading his books, the first I believe was called, “5000 Nights at the Opera” being the one I read most. His fierce devotion to giving the Met the best and the brightest stars, travel to Europe brought us all the stars from Italy and Germany. Tebaldi, being my favorite. He searched for the best voices and the best voices being those who could really sing their specialities and he brought them to the Met.

I was so thrilled that he was a fan, and wasted no time telling me so. He had seen the second Boccanegra, the first Ernani of my Met career, the first Trovatore, and Aida in the Parks. He always came back after the crowds had gone, or found me at a gathering or dinner party soon after to tell me his opinions and ideas of repertoire. Until he was not himself, suffering from some kind of onset dementia towards the end of his life and his last marriage, I was thrilled for his interest, his praise and his counsel.

The elegance of opera remains in it’s music, it’s desire to serve music and the composer, and in some naturally elegant people today. All too often we are asked to dumb ourselves down, shy away from the beautiful accoutrement of the “old fashioned” singer, eshewing tail coats, and patent leather shoes for leather pants and no tie, perhaps a silk shirt or without jacket.

It’s all good perhaps, but for me, this is the opera I had in my house, elegant men and women dressed with great respect for their positions as artists, the men in suits and tie to rehearse. The maestri always eager and knowledgeable to help you and your own unique gifts and how to best use them while in service to the composer. It felt “blessed”. THEY adapted to the talent knowing full well there was never only ONE way of singing something.

Enjoy this lovely moment in Met History, and in the life of Sir Rudolph.

Further explore opera’s importance in world events, in Austria for the then reopening of the State theater just after the war. You will see how much national pride was reawakened by Beethoven’s “Fidelio”, with the fabulous Martha Moedl…….a whole other world.

Then go to another world exactly in the heavenly throat of Renata Tebaldi in G. Verdi’s masterpiece Requiem. The heaven on earth of one of the voices Mr. Bing fought to bring to America, the true Voce D’Angelo, Renata Tebaldi in a 1951 Verdi Requiem that will take your breath away.

~ by aprilemillo on April 28, 2008.

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