Monday, December 26, 2005

Steber in Wozzeck

The connection was simply that she appeared as Marie in all of the performances of the opera in the 1959 and 1961 seasons as well astwo radio broadcasts. From recordings it's easy to see that she wassensational as Marie, although perhaps the role was unkind to her voice that late in her career since she went into somewhat of a decline thereafter. The only thing somewhat hidden - although known to many - is that she supposedly scandalized Mr. Bing by wearing neither shoes nor a bra onstage. Recordings of both broadcasts are readily available. CheersJoe Fuller
Eleanor Steber was a major figure in the wonderful company of Mozart singers at the Metin the 1940s and 50s. Her Countess, Fiordiligi and Donna Anna are legendaryand she was a superb Donna Elvira and Pamina. Besides Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier - her d├ębut role -she gave us wonderful performances of the Marschallin. She also excelled in roles ofWagner, Barber and Berg. After 1961 she returned to the concert stage for many years with a stop at the Met in 1966 to perform in "Fanciulla Del West."
She sang many lieder recitals, an aspect of her art less familiar to New Yorkers but there were memorable ones like the Hunter College Recital of 1968 and theLiederabend at Alice Tully Hall. Here is Richard Strauss'"Befreit" sung in April of 1973 with Lambert Orkis, piano. Among her favorites for these recitals were Schumann's "Frauenliebe und Leben" Hugo Wolf's "Gesitliche Lieder" and the "Italianisches Liederbuch" as well as Claude Debussy's "Five Songs on Poems of Baudelaire"Also frequently performed were Britten's "Winter Words", Alban Berg's "Seven Early Songs" The Brahms "Magelone Lieder", Beethoven's "An die ferne Geliebte" and of course the lieder of her beloved Richard Strauss.

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