Today's Classical Music Video

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Evelyn Lear in memoriam


Evelyn Lear (Jan. 8 1926 - July 1 2012)

With the passing of American soprano Evelyn Lear, the opera world has lost one of its most esteemed artists. According to a report in the Washington Post, Lear died earlier today (July 1) at the Brooke Grove Nursing Center in Sandy Spring at the age of 86. Her passing was confirmed by her son, Jan Stewart. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Lear attended Hunter College and the Juilliard School, later at the Berliner Hochschule fur Musik on a Fulbright Scholarship, studying voice with soprano Maria Ivogun, who was also the teacher of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.  According to her official website, Lear's career spanned five decades and she sang a staggering 7,500 opera and concert performances.  She was renowned for her interpretation of the works of Mozart (Pamina, Donna Elvira, Contessa, Cherubino, Fiordiligi), Strauss (Ariadne, Komponist, Marschallin, Octavian), Mahler, Schoenberg (Marie) and Alban Berg (Lulu), as well as contemporary composers the likes of Marvin David Levy, Leonard Bernstein, and Thomas Pasatieri. She created the role of Lavinia in Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra, a role that marked her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1967. Her silvery soprano and her musical intelligence were praised by audience and critics alike. She worked with many great conductors throughout her career, including Karl Bohm, who was instrumental in her career. She sang for many seasons at the Met, and made her farewell there as the Marschallin in 1985.  She sang in Toronto on a number of occasions, as Giulietta in Tales of Hoffmann and Countess Geschwitz in Lulu, and as soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She also taught masterclasses at the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio.  She married her second husband, bass-baritone Thomas Stewart in 1955 until his death in 2006.  After her retirement, Lear became a highly sought after teacher and jury panelist in competitions. 

To remember this wonderful artist, here are two Youtube clips that are representative of the artistry of Evelyn Lear.  The first is Richard Strauss' Morgen. Lear was a wonderful Lieder singer, for her depth of understanding and interpretation. The second clip is the complete recording of Deutsche Grammophon recording of Wozzeck in which Lear sings Marie.  Marie, together with Lulu and the Marschallin, are three of her most famous roles. She is partnered here by the Wozzeck of the late/great German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. 

— Joseph K. So

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home