Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Posts tagged “Maria Callas

Photo of the day: NOT YOUR AVERAGE NIGHT AT CARNEGIE HALL

CARNEGIE HALL FLAGS
Photo of the day: NOT YOUR AVERAGE NIGHT AT CARNEGIE HALL – So you thought Carnegie Hall is quiet and reserved for it’s classical music concerts…well you’re wrong. This sell out house was cheering on the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with their red state colors and were there to see one of the most exciting singers around Storm Large. Having front row center seats added to my excitement!
Storm sang Kurt Weill’s “The Seven Deadly Sins” made famous by Weill’s wife Lotte Lenya. Storm was in top form singing and acting the part with her trademark deep gut passion.    The concert broadcast live over classical music station WQXR consisted of
  • RACHMANINOFF Caprice bohémien, Op. 12
  • RACHMANINOFF Isle of the Dead
  • WEILL The Seven Deadly Sins with Storm Large
  • RAVEL La valse
Storm Large takes her bow to thunderous applause with conductor Leonard Slatkin.

Storm Large takes her bow to thunderous applause with conductor Leonard Slatkin.

Carnegie Hall built by Andrew Carnegie for his wife in 1891 because she said she had no decent place to listen to music in New York, is one of the few concert halls in the world that is acoustically perfect. It has had some of the greatest voices of all time and some of the most iconic concerts have been recorded here. Imagine sitting where Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey, James Gang, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jessye Norman, Maria Callas, Edith Piaf have appeared! It is one of the musical treasures of the world.

Photo of the day: A GRANDE DAME – OPERA SINGER ANNY CORNELIUS, MY AUNT

A GRANDE DAME – ANNY CORNELIUS, MY AUNT:  10-18-1898 to 6-8-1987. Opera singer. Sister to my mother’s mother. My grandmother was Amahlie Jeahne who was a concert pianist and also a soprano opera singer who sang Queen of the Night under the direction of iconic German conductor Herbert Von Karajan. Anny was the feisty one. She gave up her whole life for her opera career with the Berlin State Opera. She lived and breathed music. To Karajan’s astonishment she had perfect pitch. She could hit the note just like that! Karajan would always say: “Get the little dark one to hit the note, she can do it!” That…somewhat annoyed yet impressed opera diva Maria Callas. Callas would not associate with the rest of any cast much, but she always remembered my great aunt. Despite being German, Anny had somewhat of a olive complexion and thick, beautiful dark brown long hair and big brown saucer eyes. This intrigued both Karajan and Callas. So hence – Callas and Karajan dubbed her “the little dark one”. Both called her that for the rest of their lives. When in Venice, Callas would write Anny letters saying ‘my little dark one, the party won’t be the same without you, please come.’ Anny sang some of the top roles such as The Rosenkavalier and Carmen, her career was about to break so she would receive top billing continuously, but World War II ended what many believe, would have been an astounding career. As with 9/11, inhaling all that debris when running from the bombings and the gases, never brought her voice to quite what it was. The fate for so many singers at the time. So…she taught. Her classes in her 5 floor walk up apartment were much sought after.
Royalty had proposed marriage to Anny. She could have any suitor she wanted. Her sister Amahlie married, Anny…was married to the passion of her music – her career. She had music in her soul! She sang for the soldiers during the bombing attacks in Berlin. He presence lit up a room. Her laugh was a rolling waterfall of notes. The life of every party, which is why Callas would always invite her.
The letters from Callas are all gone. Anny was one of the first people to recognizably die of Alzheimer’s disease. Although at first it was assumed it was old age senility. She retired in a home for opera singers paid for by the German state. My mother, her sister and I lived in New York. We couldn’t be by her side all the time in her last months. Mom supported the family, ‘oma/grandma’ took care of me. Her neighbors knew of the Callas treasures and talked her out of them. When we arrived in her last days, most everything was gone. All we have are a few distant remnants of her glorious past. She is hard to find on the internet although some opera buffs have found recordings of her we have yet to find ourselves. We only own one record and her publicity photos. Here she is at the height of her career. Anny was my Auntie Mame to the fullest. Grande dame, dramatic, ultra chic and worldly – she taught me how to “live”. Anny Cornelius   – today is her birthday.
Roles sung: The Count – The Rosenkavalier
One of the Rhine Maidens – The Ring at Bayreuth under Karajan
Carmen – Bizet’s Carmen
Role unknown – Verdi’s Troubador
Erda – Wagner’s Götterdämmerung