Marian Anderson, the elegant and groundbreaking contralto who was the first African American to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, was born 116 years ago today in Philadelphia. She is probably best known to this generation for singing before a crowd of 75,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, after being refused permission to sing at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution. DAR has made the effort to make up for the slight ever since, inviting Ms. Anderson to sing at the hall on many occasions soon after the infamous 1939 incident. In this photo, Ms. Anderson is shown arriving at Victoria Station in London on November 11, 1936, for her performance at Queen’s Hall. Photo: Bettman/Corbis
(Photo by William Struhs)
Composer Kaija Saariaho’s Émilie “makes a triumphant New York debut at Lincoln Center Festival,” wrote Marion Lignana Rosenberg for The Classical Review today. The opera will be performed at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater through this Sunday.
This opera sounds amazing. Hopefully I’ll get to watch it performed someday.
I’d never really considered this, even in my limited music history studies… but it is a very good question. (h/t author @matthewgallaway)
This is especially interesting as I’m reading The Finkler Question, in which one of the main characters is obsessed with the idea of a weak, beautiful woman dying in his arms, just like they do in his favorite operas.
In a glowing and perceptive review of her performance as Desdemona in Verdi’s “Otello” at Covent Garden in London in late 1957, the critic Andrew Porter, writing in The Financial Times, commended her for not “sacrificing purity to power.” This is “not her way,” Mr. Porter wrote, “and five years on we shall bless her for her not endeavoring now to be ‘exciting’ but, instead, lyrical and beautiful.
On Joan Sutherland.
I’ve never seen this amazing 1955 shot of Marian Anderson before. It’s so kinetic and flowing. The photos I usually see of the opera singer are very staid. [Avedon And Marian Anderson At Smithsonian - The Picture Show Blog : NPR]
Yes, I just used the word “kinetic” to describe a photograph.