Tuesday, September 19, 2006

RIP Astrid Varnay

Belated acknowledgement of the death of one of the great singers of all time - the woman who practically invented the modern heroic soprano actress. Flagstad and Nilsson probably had finer, stronger voices, but Varnay's willingness to study and learn from stage actresses made her more of a presence live than on record. And even on record she was formidable - her Ortrud in the 1953 Lohengrin at Bayreuth may never have been bettered. This was, one must remember a festival in which she also sang Isolde and Brunnhilde. Now that's a voice that could bench-press 250kg and more.

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