samedi 15 octobre 2011

"Tragic" and fascinating Documentary on Elisabeth Schwarzkopf on Arte

The French-German cultural TV station Arte showed last week a fascinating documentary on Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. It may still be available on their site so I would recommend it.

I heard her last recital in Paris back in 1976 and yes her voice was just unique.

In this documentary emerges an artist always in pain never in peace and never happy. Her famous outbursts during masterclasses are those she may have had with herself although to be fair, the two singers she had to work with should not have been put in front of her.

I was not aware of her negative reaction towards Karajan. Maybe what she felt was that by redoing many of the works he had done with her, he was not paying her the respects she would have expected. The Rosenkavalier excerpt was just stunning and for all her artistry, Tomowa-Sintow could never achieve anything like this but then who could ?

Was this excerpt moving ? Thinking about it, probably not but the work on words, colours, projection was of such intensity. In a way, she always sang for herself and probably for her husband but was not a communicator like many of her peers. To make a parallel, I remember eating at a famous restaurant where the chef had the habit of visiting all of his clients. When he would come, he would never ask the question: "Are you enjoying your meal ?", he said "do you appreciate it ?", ie, my meals are really good but can you really appreciate it ? This was Schwarzkopf ...

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