23 August 2008

Music of Ages

My singing lessons continue. My teacher will occasionally mention a singer or two from the past and then react rather strongly when I say I haven't heard of them. "You haven't heard of Lauritz Melchior? What's wrong with you?" He then will loan me a cd or show me a few websites and demand I make up for lost time and familiarize myself with the greats of the past.

One of the singers to whom I was introduced by my teacher was Magda Oliviero. He showed me the video below, where Magda is in her nineties singing Panis Angelicus at a Mass for the 25th anniversary of the death of her friend and colleague, Maria Callas.

The sound quality is not great, and she and the organist are not quite in sync, but you can still hear her magnificent breath control and phrasing. At times her voice seems lost in the building, at others it seems as though the church itself is singing in honour of Maria.

Magda has been active for many, many years, and still has a great voice. There are quite a few segments of her on youtube, from this one to ones of her singing when she was a mere slip of a girl in her eighties. Here is a clip of her in her heyday, at the height of her singing prowess.

If you haven't heard of Magda before, you have now. My singing teacher would be pleased to know you.

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