January 29, 2009

Paris Original

My lovely wife and I were perusing some of this month's promotional swag here at Soho the Dog HQ, which included this very fun DVD: Great Voices of the Golden Age, a collection of 1960s-70s TV appearances by the likes of Christa Ludwig, Galina Vishnievskaya, Gundula Janowitz, &c. (Irmgard Seefried singing Werner Egk? OK, we're in.) Some of the sound quality in orchestral selections either hasn't aged well or has been a bit over-restored (I know Janowitz's voice has way more bloom than that), but the voice-and-piano repertoire sounds great, and the performances are consistently good.

But within also lies a cautionary tale. A favorite around these parts, Rita Streich, is represented by several appearances from the INA archives. Now, here's a still from an April 16, 1964 broadcast:

And here's a still from a March 7, 1965 broadcast:

OH MY GOD IT IS THE SAME DRESS. Yes, she has those sleeve-length things in the second picture, but that doesn't hide the fact that she's wearing the same gown for two different concerts. I mean, that's shady enough for a prima donna to do under any circumstances. But on network television? French network television, no less? Isn't that some sort of impeachable diva offense? We're big fans, so we'll forgive her, but let aspiring singers be warned: frugality will out.

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