OP0133. LA TRAVIATA, Live Performance, 28 March, 1965, Nationaltheater, Munich, w.Patané Cond. Bayerischen Staatsoper Ensemble; Teresa Stratas, Fritz Wunderlich, Hermann Prey, Brigitte Fassbänder, etc. (Germany) 2-Orfeo C344 932, w.Elaborate Libretto-Brochure. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 4011790344225
“Teresa Stratas is the most ‘in the moment’ opera singer I have ever seen: no other artist in my experience sang with her passion for truth, her courage and her integrity. Her commitment was unswerving, her instinct impeccable, and her craft - her sheer know-how on a stage - was prodigious. The details of a Stratas performance were indelible; Stratas was the most vulnerable of singers - Nothing stood between Stratas and her music, which she served with extraordinary force.
The first OPERA NEWS interview with Stratas ran in the issue of December 12, 1959, on the occasion of her Texaco broadcast debut, as the actress Poussette in Manon - an event that followed the twenty-one-year-old soprano’s Met debut, in the same role, by less than two months. That interview, by Gerald Fitzgerald, told of her beginnings in Canada….The Met kept Stratas extremely busy - more than a quarter of the 384 performances in her twenty-five-season Met career were sung during her first two seasons with the company, when she was used chiefly in comprimario roles. Her first leading parts at the Met, as Liù (1961) and Mimì (1962), confirmed that Stratas was an artist of rare intelligence and sensitivity, and Met general manager Rudolf Bing gave his rising star increasingly important assignments, among them Sardula in the U.S. premiere of Menotti’s LAST SAVAGE (1964), Lisa in THE QUEEN OF SPADES (1965), the last new production in the Old Met on Thirty-Ninth Street, and Gretel in the first performances of the beloved Merrill-O’Hearn staging of Humperdinck’s opera (1967).
In a 1980 OPERA NEWS interview with Robert Jacobson, Stratas reflected on her responsibility as an artist: ‘I wonder if I have received a gift or a curse. I like to feel it’s a gift and sense the responsibility for it strongly - I feel I was chosen to develop a gift and convey it. If I touch some one person in an evening and enrich them and bring them happiness, then I have accomplished what I was put here to do’. As one who was lucky enough to see Stratas in some of her greatest roles, I will always be grateful to have shared that gift; those moments in the presence of her artistry will be with me forever.”
- F. Paul Driscoll, OPERA NEWS, May 2015