|Dame Janet Baker|
|Victoria De Los Angeles|
If Teyte lead me to explore more French song, then Victoria De Los Angeles helped and then added to it a new world of Spanish music. Truth to tell, I hadn’t much liked her when I first heard her as a rather insecure and out of sorts Hoffmann Antonia, and I think it was probably her record of the Canteloube Chants d’Auvergne that first led me to reassess. That Antonia was misleading and other operatic roles, not least her Manon, Marguerite (Faust), Butterfly and Mimi display a golden voice allied to a winning personality. I also had on LP a live performance of her singing a wonderfully touching and trusting Desdemona to Del Monaco’s Otello at the Met, which remains in my memory far more than many of the assumptions by singers we might think more suited to the role.
|Tito Gobbi with Callas in Tosca|
Of course, apart from these, there have been many memorable performances. I recall the excitement of Agnes Baltsa’s Carmen with the no less memorable Don Jose of Jose Carreras; the superb Dejanira of Joyce Di Donato; Angela Gheorgiu’s first Violetta, and RobertoAlagna’s Romeo; Kiri Te Kanawa’s exquisitely, if placidly, sung Fiordiligi (with Baltsa again, as an adorably funny Dorabella); Renee Fleming in Previn’s AStreetcar Named Desire. These too will always stay in the memory, but I send my gratitude to the ten on my original list, for through them I have discovered a whole world of great music. They may not necessarily be the ten greatest singers of all time but they have enriched and enlightened and can truly be called singers who have changed my life.
Selections from some of their recordings here