Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Happy Birthday, RAS!

Ruth Ann Swenson, who is one of my divas, had a birthday last week. I'm lucky to have seen all of her San Francisco Opera appearances over the last fifteen years, and a couple in the 1980s, not that I remember those, though I would love to remember her Nanetta. She was a great Gilda, Lucia, Semele, and Violetta, in the latter role the best of the several I've seen, in a "she killed me" way. I have also never heard a more purely beautiful soprano voice, though I've heard equally beautiful soprano voices. I hope she'll be singing at San Francisco Opera again; she was terrific in last year's Ariodante.

If you have any doubts about either the beauty of her voice or her technique in florid music, take a look at this, a performance of "O luce di quest'anima" from Linda di Chamonix:


Lambert Strether said...

I agree with you Lisa- Ruth Ann Swenson is a superb singer with few peers. I too would like to see her in SF more than we have these past years. The production of Traviata with Hvorostovsky and Villazon was unforgettable for anyone who saw (and heard) it. Happy birthday Ms. Swenson!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yes, the Traviata was great - we're so lucky to have heard Villazon before his sad run of vocal problems.

I ran across an old program the other day, from the Marilyn Horne Gala some years ago. Both Swenson and Renee Fleming sang on that program. Long story short: Swenson's voice was quite a bit bigger than Fleming's and carried better. I think it's a more beautiful voice, as well. (I am also not a Fleming fan. :)