#SCS: Singer Crush Sunday

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Happy Mothers’s Day! 💕💜💕💜

When we think of our Mothers and how much they mean to us, one piece in particular comes to mind, Songs my mother taught me, from Dvorák’s Gypsy Songs cycle. This song is not only about a passing of tradition from mother to child, but a reverie of the innocence of our youth and the purity of a mothers love…

Below it is performed by Dame Joan Sutherland in English translation:  

In the days long vanished;

Seldom from her eyelids

Were the teardrops banished.

Now I teach my children,

Each melodious measure.

Oft the tears are flowing,

Oft they flow from my memory’s treasure.

 

 

Today, and everyday, we sweetly thank our mothers for all that they taught us so that we can carry on the tradition, to be love and to give love, wholeheartedly.

Thank you, to all of you Moms!

💗

 

 

 

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Sunday Dollar Bills!

Make that twenty dollar bills, y’all. The banknote that Harriet Tubman, a former slave in the American Civil War era, will be fronting.  It is a huge milestone that our country is paying homage to an important historical figure who was a catalyst in the fight against slavery and happened to be quite a fierce woman, a Diva, one with characteristics that we honor.

Okay, but Harriet wasn’t a singer.  SO the next on the list is none other than the contralto, Marian Anderson, who will be added to the redesigned five dollar bill opposite of President Abraham Lincoln.  She sang at the Lincoln Memorial, Lincoln Center, and most notably, the Metropolitan Opera House in 1955.  She became the first African American to perform at the Met in her first operatic role as Ulrica in Giuseppe Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera.  In the years following, she became a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee as a “goodwill ambassadress” for the United States Department of State, giving concerts all over the world.

This particular video of her performing “Deep River”, a most beloved spiritual, you can hear the heart-breaking beauty of her unique and rich timbre within her lower range.

A New York Times music critic wrote about Anderson this way: “Those who remember her at her height … can never forget that big resonant voice, with those low notes almost visceral [having to do with basic emotions] in nature, and with that easy, unforced ascent to the top register. A natural voice, a hauntingly colorful one, it was one of the vocal phenomena [rare event] of its time.”

We suggest you hear for yourself, and make your own opinion.

Good night and good luck; in life, love, and prosperity.

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Sunday Fun-day! 

While Christina is enjoying the the warm sun in Miami, Ana is holding down the political front in Brooklyn, and little me (the “J” in JACOPERA) just finished trekking through Fuorisalone in Milan, we agreed that today’s feature goes to Deborah Voigt — or as she prefers, Debbie.

This modern Diva got her start on the West Coast (California, my home-state), and she debuted in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos at Boston Lyric Opera (C – is competing up there next month), AND just last year, HarperCollins published her autobiography Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva (A – went to the Green Festival in NYC and she has a mean green thumb… okay, a stretch), but she certainly IS one of the most relatable, sassy, honest, and wildly talented Divas that embody the vocal strength and fierceness that we admire. 

But as any modern, Down-to-earth, or otherwise named Diva will admit she met controversy in 2005 when she was let go from a production because she could not fit into the character’s little black dress, and was thus labelled “too fat” to sing.  The opera world went into a frenzy and in the years following she had many struggles in her personal and professional life.  She lost a lot of weight since then and many critics have said, just as they did of Callas at the end of her career, the voice was forever changed.

We believe that a singer, is a singer, is a singer.  We’re human, and humans come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and markings.  And as Callas said, “You are born an artist or you are not.  And you stay an artist, dear, even if your voice is less of a fireworks.  The artist is always there.”   

Here is Debbie portraying an impeccable Manon.

 

Good evening, Divas, keep singing.  It’s never over.