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55 Years In Five Acts
My Life in Opera
Astrid Varnay, Donald Arthur




Northeastern University Press
2000 • 392 pp. 23 illus 6 x 9 1/4"
Biography - Musicians & Composers / Memoir / Opera

$29.95 Paperback, 978-1-55553-675-6



“Varnay had less of an American career than Nilsson, and Varnay’s relationship with Metropolitan Opera director Rudolf Bing was often less than cordial. Both singers were strong-willed, but Varnay comes off as the tougher, more intense of the two.”— American Record Guide

One of the world's greatest Wagnerian sopranos talks about an illustrious career that flourished for over five decades

For Astrid Varnay, opera was the family business. The daughter of coloratura soprano Mária Jávor and dramatic tenor Alexander Várnay, she literally grew up backstage at the opera. Vocally and musically trained by her mother and mentor (and later husband) Hermann Weigert, she was just twenty-three years old when she made her unofficial debut at the Metropolitan Opera as a last-minute replacement for the suddenly ill Lotte Lehmann. Varnay's critically acclaimed performance as Sieglinde in Die Walküre catapulted her into the limelight.

Varnay reflects on her remarkable life in opera, discussing her signature roles and performances, vocal preparation and technique, interpretive acting style, and her seamless transition from leading soprano to character roles, including her switch from Elektra to Klytemnästra in Strauss's Elektra.

Her engaging and witty memoir is filled with frank, often critical, observations about many of the most significant vocal artists, conductors, and directors of the twentieth century. She describes her lifelong friendship with operatic idol Kirsten Flagstad, the years at the Met and conflicts with Rudolf Bing, her appearances at the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals, and her artistic rift with Herbert von Karajan.

Reviews:

“Astrid Varnay, one of the world’s greatest Wagnerian sopranos, tells of her illustrious career that spanned over five decades . . . Her memoir is filled with frank, often critical, observations about many of the most significant vocal artists, conductors and directors of the 20th century. She describes her lifelong friendship with operatic idol Kirsten Flagstad, her years at the Met and conflicts with Rudolf Bing, her appearances at the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals and her artistic rift with Herbert von Karajan.”—Opera America






Wed, 5 Nov 2014 15:21:39 -0500