Composers have seasons dedicated to their anniversary years. The artists who perform their music go soundlessly to Orcus below.
I felt like I knew Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, as many did who heard her sing. She died 7 years ago today, at age 52 from complications from cancer. In addition to her liquid tone, and the way she imbued every note with personal meaning and intent, I admired most that she made music on her own terms.
She surrounded herself with the colleagues and repertoire she loved best, never bending to the wishes of greedy management or commercial forces. As such, she was perhaps the most sincere musician – singer or otherwise – before the public in modern times.
Here’s a round-up of remembrances and videos.
Alex Ross’s tribute, as reprinted in The Guardian (whose photo is also above).
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s tribute concert from this past May, with Spotify clips (listen to track 11, Dopo notte from Ariodante!).
The 63 CDs she sings on, as found on Amazon. I recommend the Handel arias on the third page, as Ross puts it: “pull-down-the-blinds, unplug- the-telephone, can’t-talk-right-now beautiful.”
Many arias and scenes are easily found on YouTube. Best to just scroll through, there are so many gems. I dug up these early ones, from the infamous production of Don Giovanni by Peter Sellars. She hadn’t yet started calling herself a mezzo then, and sang a touching Donna Anna.
A self-effacing blogger’s description of the full production is here.
And wonderfully, hauntingly, “Calling You,” from the film Bagdad Cafe, as she sang for one of her encores at her 2002 Tully Hall recital: