I do wonder however if the perpetual attempts to out her as some sort of supreme masquerading Nazi monster which seemed to mark the final years of her life somehow obscured the bigger picture . Isn't it likely that there were other musicians working in the Reich who were more vehemently Nazi and who did much worse things than Schwarzkopf ever did, yet they were not pursued at all or punished in any way? What did she do or was proven that marked her out as particularly bad ? That is what I am interested to know.
Yes, I've thought that before. Why is it she seems to be singled out for criticism when there were thousands of opera singers who likewise had singing careers during the Reich? Is it just because she had one of the most succesful international careers after the war? Other sopranos who have already been mentioned on this thread - Grummer, Seefried, Jurinac - were singing at the Wiener Staatsoper in the 1940s like Schwarzkopf yet none of them seem to get the criticism she does.
Hi Folks, I think my PC has finally died and I find it very difficult to use TheatreBoard on my iPhone. I may try using an internet café if I can find one but otherwise, to paraphrase Oates, I am going off the air. I may be some time until I get a replacement. TL
Hi folks again, My computer seems to be in temporary partial remission so I will continue as usual until it stoips again.
Firstly, hello tenorandy. In reply to what you and Dawnstar have said about Schwarzkopf's Nazi connections, we will never know the truth of all that, and I think it is on record that ES changed her story explaining some of it. And there may also be something of the 'tall poppy' syndrome in the fact that she came in for quite a lot of criticism later in her life, but she and Walter did rather place themselves high when it came to their reputation and achievements. One might say artistically this was fully justified but criticism of ES's Nazi past is on a par with the fact that after Legge left EMI he received not one sniff of interest from any other record company nor any of the classical music festivals. I get the feeling that they were both being punished for having achieved so much BUT neither of them was actually a particularly nice person! Well, it's a thought, anyway.
Coming now to Callas and the Verdi Requiem, in the note that I wrote in 2007 for the EMI Maria Callas Complete Studio Recordings box and provided a slightly revised version in 2014 for the remastered set, I said about the Giulini recording:
"Callas believed that the company, through Legge,had promised the soprano role in this work to her, but Legge was now going ahead with the recording with his wife Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, in that part. Ideally, what Legge would really have liked would have been for Callas to sing the mezzo-soprano role, but that proposal was even more offensive to Callas (who always maintained that she was a soprano) than to be dropped from the project altogether."
I cannot now remember where I got that last sentence from. It is not in 'On and Off the Record' and I imagine that I found something in the Callas files in the EMI Archives. I am sure I didn't make it up (or did I?) but it's a pity I didn't cite a reference.
Interestingly, one whole side of the original 'Callas a Paris' LP consists of arias normally sung by a mezzo-soprano (Carmen, Delilah, Alceste, etc) but I remember the original LP sleeve notes talked about this repertoire being the domain of a particular kind of French singer known as a 'falcon' which was meant to be a kind of dramatic soprano with a strong middle register, thus implying that Callas was still a soprano!