October 31, 2011

The Haunting

Margaret Hamilton

I watched the Wizard of Oz on TV as a kid and was fascinated by - and terrified of - Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West.  Her cackle and campy lines were riveting. 

Just try and stay out of my way. Just try! I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!  
You cursed brat! Look what you've done! I'm melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness? Oooooh, look out! I'm going! Oooooh! Ooooooh!  
Auntie Em! Auntie Em! Come back! I'll give you Auntie Em, my pretty! Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh! 

It was years later when I met another Margaret - the great American vocal pedagogue Margaret Harshaw -that Hamilton came to mind again in a big way. Why? Ms. Harshaw would tell students that coloratura should be sung with a witches hee in mind. Ms. Harshaw also told them that she would haunt them on her broom stick if they ever wrote about her teaching.

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