Letters to the Editor: July/August 2010

The Vienna Review welcomes letters from its readers.

To the Editor, 

We were saddened the other day to hear of the death of Giulietta Simionato, the epitome of an italianità mezzo-soprano, who passed away a few days short of her hundredth birthday. In her time she was a favorite of the Vienna public, with a splendid, stylistically perfect voice that we heard often during the Karajan era. We remember once so long ago in an Il trovatore production at the Salzburg Festival where she had a leading role, with Leontine Price, Franco Corelli and Ettore Bastianini.

And also of Giuseppe Taddei, who was almost as old. This was somebody who could play both the comic and the tragedian, a voluminous baritone, with extraordinary stage presence, with large and small gestures that seemed to flow directly from the music. He had been imprisoned during the war as a member of the Italian resistance and couldn’t begin his career until after 1945, above all at the Theater an der Wien in an incredible career that lasted decades. This is surely the passing of an era.

Walter Franz
Vienna

 

To the Editor,

I was interested to see your write up of Paul Lendvai’s new book, looking at his adopted country of Austria rather than his native Hungary. I heard the author give a talk at a dinner in Washington, DC, which prompted me to get a hold of The Hungarians – a complete tour de force on his homeland that will be a very hard act to follow. It is hard to imagine he will be able to match the sweeping grasp of so many centuries of history and culture that he achieved with that book.  Still, I’m glad to find out about it and will certain take a look. We know so little about Central Europe in the United States, even those of us whose parents left, grew up in childhoods of silence. So this can only help.

Ingrid Baumann
New York

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