On Saturday night I’ll have the opportunity to hear Elina Garnaca, the new mezzo sensation, in Carmen. While surfing YouTube for a clip I came across one of her singing another French role – Dalila. A few of the comments on her singing of “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” took me to what is one of the great performances of Saint-Saens’ best known opera. Shirley Verrett was one of the great singers in the last half of the 20th century. Retired after a incredible career she is now teaching at the University of Michigan. Here at Covent Garden in 1981 she and Jon Vickers seemed to have inspired each other to give one of those performances that became legendary.
I only had the pleasure of seeing Verrett on stage twice – the first time in 1971 as Gluck’s Orfeo with Georg Solti conducting at Covent Garden and the following year in Meyerbeer’s rarely performed L’Africaine with Placido Domingo at San Fransisco Opera. Performances that have stayed with me to this day.
29 lulgio – Santa Marta di Betania