Tuesday, July 04, 2006
We've lost something irreplaceable, all of us to whom opera means something. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson is gone. I'm sorry if I'm not feeling very articulate about it. It's easy now to feel the sting of performances of hers we missed, but instead I'd like to dwell on the one time I did witness the act of will, honesty, and something that looked like humility that was her Didon. If you weren't there (and I don't say this to make the experience more mine) nothing I can say will take you there. If you were, you will remember, I think, the little insecurity at her entrance that grew meaningless as the evening wore on, the plangent tone of voice and impersonation, the haunted way her exit conveyed through some impossible act of expression by her gait and somehow the posture of her back turned to the audience a boundless sadness and resignation. You may even remember, and I think it's not disrespectful, how magnificent she looked in her gown. Alright, I hope you saw her in more things than I did, and have your own reminiscences. She is not, I am wont to add, mine to mourn. She was a person, had friends and favorite places and moods and reasons, and it's a worse day than you or I can know for the people who were really with her. But you and I have lost something, too, and for what it's worth, I'm sorry for the both of us.