A recent discussion of Carmen found me googling Graciela von Gyldenfeldt. She seems to have existed also as Graciela de Gyldenfeldt. She's who I heard sing Carmen in Cincinnati in what the intertubes confirm was 1991, and she's the first person I ever heard have a full-on vocal crisis right in front of me. Maybe she didn't think she was having one, as she stayed on 'til the bitter, bitter end, but even my untrained ears and the healthily not hypercritical ears of my father recognized that when the bottom half sounds like a truck on a steep incline and the top half sounds like a Vespa, all is not well.
I love this kind of archeology. I've gone on about it before. One day I'll find out if the woman who sang now dimly recalled songs in German, one with a lyric about a traveler on a path at night, about whom some sophisticate at intermission was heard to say "she goes around the world singing Frauleinliebe und Leben was indeed Troyanos. This would be at the Singletary Center in Lexington, Kentucky in the late 80's or possibly 1990 but I don't think so. If you know, you're welcome to burst my bubble or make my day. And one day perhaps my father will unearth his programs and I'll know if it was Callas he heard in Dallas, as a kid.
Further searching this evening confirmed that it was Richard Leech we heard the night we raised our eyebrows at each other about some Verdi opera we'd never heard of called A Masked Ball. I thought it might have been Millo, too, and that would have been funny, but it wasn't. Who was in my first opera, and yours? Cinci doesn't seem to be one of those companies with an exhaustive history on their website, that I've found, but anyway I'm enjoying the mystery and the possibility I heard names I know now and love or turn up my nose at. It wasn't until years later I would keep track, because the names didn't mean anything to me and I had nothing to compare to.
I'll never be able to say, like so many New Yorkers I now know, it was Tucker, and it was a matinee, though I suppose when I'm 70 I can fudge and say it was Bartoli, and it was Houston, and it was 1992 or 3. That was sort of the first time I went on purpose and chose who to hear...
In other news, I have a Birth Opera after all. It was La Cieca's idea to rescue us Leos by looking to the Salzburg Festival. Here's what happened on my date of birth, and I'm most pleased with it:
COSÌ FAN TUTTE
ossia La scuola degli amanti
Dramma giocoso in two acts K. 588
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
Sung in Italian
Karl Böhm, Conductor
Günther Rennert, Stage director
Ita Maximowna, Stage sets
Ita Maximowna, Costumes
Walter Hagen-Groll, Chorus master
Gundula Janowitz, Fiordiligi
Brigitte Fassbaender, Dorabella
Reri Grist, Despina
Peter Schreier, Ferrando
Hermann Prey, Guglielmo
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Don Alfonso
Walter Taussig, Cembalo
Chor der Wiener Staatsoper
Saturday, 11 August 1973, 7.30 p.m.