Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Noble Hero of Epic Proportions!?

Stephen, always the "ham", in the mountains around Bayreuth, Germany.
Picture by Diane S. (Click picture for larger view)
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"Tenors are noble, pure and heroic and get the soprano, if she has not tragically expired before the final curtain. But baritones are born villains in opera. Always the heavy and never the hero." ~ Leonard Warren (American operatic baritone. 1911-1960)
"If one has not heard Wagner at Bayreuth, one has heard nothing! Take lots of handkerchiefs because you will cry a great deal! Also take a sedative because you will be exalted to the point of delirium!" ~ Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Diane was yelling for him to come down but, ever the dramatic, Stephen struck this pose instead. While I stayed at their apartment in New York, Diane and her husband Alec visited my brother in Germany. After his first performance in Wagner's Ring Cycle, they took to the countryside, visiting villages and mountains... a photographer's dream. Of course our mother will be having heart palpitations when she sees this.

Currently he is in Tokyo playing Florestan in Beethoven's Fidelio. His premier is tonight or yesterday or tomorrow. He said it was "tomorrow"; but in Tokyo, our "today" is his "yesterday" so his "tomorrow" might be our "day after tomorrow", or not. At any rate, there are four performances and then he is back to Vienna for a couple of days and then off to Munich where he will play Erik in Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer. So no Christmas visit this year, we will have Christmas in April.

While I haven't seen all his operas, I have seen Fidelio and it is actually one of the few roles he sings where the character is alive at the end and with a happy ending to boot. (He gets the soprano, she makes it out alive as well!) So, good luck little (younger) brother; "break a leg"!! But not literally!

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