I was lucky enough to sing onstage with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and see her weave her art at close range night after night during a run of La clemenza di Tito. More than anyone I can think of, she sang like an instrumentalist, that is, she phrased like nobodies business. This seemed to be, in retrospect, her primary concern. Perhaps it is no coincidence that she was first a professional violist. This is not to say she didn't make a beautiful tone. She did. But in her case, the beauty of her voice always seemed to serve something else, something- how can I say this- much more spiritual.
I still remember when I heard that she had died. I was at a busy market on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and ran into a colleague. "Oh my God! Did you hear?" He told me the news. No. I didn't know. And my immediate thought was that a great light had left the world.
Listen to her here.
|Lorraine Hun Lieberson|