When singing …..

Music, for a while, became this great artists only way back to us. For all you students who persist in bringing mind numbing “studio” to the stage, instead of liberating yourself in the story and the melody and the words, listen and take risks, don’t be afraid. Overwhelmingly beautiful and inspirational to me.

Baritone at the end is Carlo Galeffi.
She continued to sing occasionally in Tosca and in Cavalleria Rusticana until the middle of 1942, but only in very small theaters with little-known casts. On occasion Mascagni would send a limousine to pick her up and return her to her hotel, so uncertain was it that she would even be able to find her way. Giovanni Breviario recalled a performance at Lecco in 1941 – “The poor thing was already in a very bad state, but her marvelous voice came to life as soon as she began her scenes. This miracle happened only on stage. We were all very affectionate toward her, but when not on the stage, she was passive, apathetic, would not speak and remained doggedly clinging to her handbag”.

In July 1942, while Lina was resting at Pesaro’s Lido, she was persuaded to sing a performance of Cavalleria at their outdoor arena, and on the 20th, she gave her last performance in a staged opera. The reviewer of “L’ Adriatico” kindly stated that it was a vivid recollection of a great artist.

Lina was sporadically institutionalized at a home near Milan, and by 1948, it was felt that she was well enough that she might sing some concerts. She very much wished to return to the stage and on 27 July she sang at Busto Arzisio. Arturo Toscanini traveled to hear his beloved Lina and left the theater with tears streaming down his face. The tour was terminated a few evenings later, and when Lina attempted to reengage herself in October, she was forced from the stage in the middle of a performance. She could no longer remember simple tunes, and words did not come at all.

For the next thirty-six years, Lina Bruna Rasa survived in solitude in a mental facility in Milan, hardly remembered and rarely seen.

As she languished in her very private world, a few of her colleagues did remember.

Augusta Oltrabella – “I studied with Maestro Manlio Bavagnoli, the father of the conductor. Among his pupils was Lina Bruna Rasa, the greatest Santuzza and Maddalena of them all”.

Gilda Dalla Rizza – “I took on Santuzza, but not for long. I felt I was not in the same league in this role as Lina Bruna Rasa”.

Enzo De Muro Lomanto – “The experience of singing Turiddu with Lina Bruna Rasa was comparable to nothing else in my long experience on the lyric stage. She made all of us want to be just that much better, and I think we were”.

We cannot know what it was like to have been there, but when we listen to her recordings, we can close our eyes and retreat into our own very private world, and perhaps, share a bit of hers. She was not so different from us, after all. We are all made of clay!

~ by aprilemillo on June 14, 2008.

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