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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Marilyn Zschau

Growing up where I did, in what was at the time semi-rural Western Australia in the 80's, I was dependent on the ABC for my source of opera and fine music.  Back then I eagerly awaited the direct broadcasts from Opera Australia which expanded my horizons and introduced me to singers and operas I was only just becoming familiar with.  

One singer who really stood out for me was Marilyn Zschau.  I'd seen her already as Musetta in a broadcast of the Covent Garden, John Copley produced La Boheme with Ileana Cotrubas and Neil Shicoff which I loved, but really took notice in a radio broadcast of Richard Strauss' Salome.  

Though I no longer own a copy (I taped it off the radio) I remember to this day the impact she had in the final scene, but mostly the sensual/sexual quality Zschau gave to Salome.  A revelation to someone who'd only ever heard the Nilsson recording. 

She performed regularly in Australia and was very popular.  I remember an Elektra for the State Opera of South Australia in the early 90's which was simulcast, in which she played the title role, a role which suits her perfectly.

Here is a clip of a concert performance from the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in 1993, Marilyn Zschau in spectacular voice as Strauss' tormented heroine.  Happy Birthday for yesterday Marilyn. 


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