OP1717. DON GIOVANNI, Live Performance, 13 March, 1954, w.Rudolf Cond. George London, Fernando Corena, Eugene Conley, Margaret Harshaw, Eleanor Steber, Nadine Conner, etc. (E.U.) 3-Walhall 0237. - 4035122652376
“Steber brushes every bit of fioriture with a light touch, the tone ever gracious to the ear….She launches into [‘Mi tradì’] with the gusto and confidence which were a Steber trademark. No difficulties daunt her, and why should they when the florid passage work is so securely in her throat? It is a pleasure to make yet another positive report on Margaret Harshaw, by this date in her career firmly ensconced as the heavyweight of the Wagner wing….When heard hard against Steber’s refulgent soprano, Harshaw’s timbre pales, but within its own sphere the voice is entirely agreeable in this music. Her musicianship is sterling, and her dramatic sense alive.”
- Paul Jackson, SIGN-OFF FOR THE OLD MET, p.107
“Margaret Harshaw (made her professional début in the dramatic mezzo-soprano rôle of Azucena in IL TROVATORE with The Philadelphia Operatic Society in 1934. She entered the graduate program at The Juilliard School in 1936, where she studied with Anna E. Schoen-René, who had been a student of Pauline Viardot-García and her brother Manuel García. It was at Juilliard where Harshaw, after singing the rôle of Dido in Purcell’s DIDO AND AEANEAS, met Walter Damroasch who prophesied: ‘My child, one day you will be Brünnhilde!’. She won the Metropolitan Opera’s ‘Auditions on the Air’ in 1942, and made her Met début as the second Norn in Wagner’s GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG. Gifted with an extended range, Harshaw sang many mezzo-soprano rôles for the next nine seasons before she entered soprano territory in 1951 when she sang the rôle of Senta in THE FLYING DUTCHMAN. By 1954 she had inherited the mantel of Kirsten Flagstad and Helen Traubel, and sang all the leading Wagnerian soprano rôles, including Isolde, Brünnhilde, Elisabeth, Kundry and Sieglinde. Harshaw retired in 1964 from the Metropolitan Opera after having sung 375 performances of 38 rôles in 25 works over 22 consecutive seasons. She then became a professor of voice at Indiana University in 1962, where she taught until 1993. She also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music and Westminster Choir College. Among her many students are Benita Valente, Vinson Cole, Matthew Polenzani, etc."
- Daniel James Shigo