In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Hotter, and Quasthoff, and Ludwig... Oh My! - Dr. von Lyric talks Schubert

Jan 30, 2013 11:00:00 AM
By BLO Staff

week I mentioned that perhaps we could roam down some Biedermeier
corridors with Franz Schubert (the subject having been raised by BLO's upcoming
annex production of CLEMENCY which features an early song by that Viennese
master) And so...
 One of my favorite singers (of Schubert but also Strauss and Mahler, and
Mozart and on and on) is Christa Ludwig. I heard her often in recital and on
the opera stage - Leonora, Dorabella, Dido, Fricka, Brangane , the Dyer's Wife
- and she was always an eloquent and deeply moving singer.
 And just because I couldn't resist here she is again
  Hans Hotter - another singer I had the great privilege to hear perform
 in the opera house -  Wotan, the Dutchman, Gurnemanz , King Marke.
Although late in his career he was still  uniquely commanding and
his voice darkly tinged with an almost cosmically tragic weight.
 A striking 1991 video of two  consummate Schubert singers
Hotter (aged 82) and Thomas Quasthoff (aged 33)  Hotter was of course very
famous for his reading of the Schubert song cycle "Winterreise" and
this performance of the last song  both desperate and resigned is
poignant. The expression on Quasthoff's face is fascinating...
   Of course any perusal of Schubert  would be incomplete with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Again an artist I heard perform many times in recital. I was
always a bit conflicted about his singing - it often seemed over worked, over
emphasized in contrast to the apparently more direct communication given by
Ludwig and Hotter, but his commitment and musicianship can never  be
denied" - Dr. von Lyric
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