A Lotte Lehmann Love Fest
L. Marietta | Berkeley, CA | 02/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While this public television program was supposedly a masterclass, it is, in essence, the Lotte Lehmann Hour...with a supporting cast of young singers, none of which I have ever heard of having a significant career. With all due respect to them, it *is* Lehmann upon which one's attention is riveted.
Having been a fan of Lotte Lehmann's voice and incredible artistry for many years, it was thrilling to finally have the opportunity to see her in person. She respectfully gives the budding artist the opportunity to sing her aria of choice completely through, carefully watching them and their wooden renditions.
Upon completion and polite applause from the audience, Madame Lehmann then proceeds to make some general comments--and then steal the show by announcing to watch her perform it. Even with her singing the music down an octave, the drama is totally there: her face, her arms, her posture, her pose--all make the aria immediately come to life. One can easily see what all the excitement was about, and that it was truly justified. Naturally, *her* performance is greeted with thunderous applause, accompanied by many a bow from Lehmann as she returns to her ornate desk and chair. The poor student is then left to somehow incorporate the decades of experience just witnessed from a real pro. It has to be very intimidating to have to sing the aria again, trying to change a few things here and there. But basically, very little is different, although Lehmann makes very complimentary remarks at this second attempt. So what has Lehmann actually taught? Not much more than some superficial remarks, but *her* performance speaks volumes.
If one reads Lehmann's own books and/or one or more of her posthumous biographies, one quickly learns that the expertise shown on this CD is the culmination of a life's devotion and total commitment to the art of singing. Lehmann herself got off to a rough start, so she is well aware of the trials and tribulations of making a career. Watching her at 70+ is a lesson for all aspiring singers. By the way, if you don't have the companion CD about art songs, you must purchase it. It actually gives more insight to the students than the opera CD.