When Shirley Verrett switched fachs from mezzo-soprano to soprano much of the opera world didn’t know what to think since hardly ever did a singer make such a drastic transition while still in their vocal prime. One can only assume the constant hemming and hawing from those associated with such a pristine art form that got shaken up over the slightest bit of change must have worn out La Verrett over time. I made this presumption after walking along the fountained plaza of Lincoln Center one day in the late 1980’s to see banners being newly put on display along the cultural center’s entire perimeter which stated in big bold letters:
“SHIRLEY VERRETT – SINGER”
To which I murmured aloud, “What vocal coglioni!”
(If you’re not sure what that foreign word means, good.)
Through those simply worded banners, Shirley Verrett was telling every nay-sayer in the classical world in no uncertain terms to Fach Off.
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Even the Maestro, himself, was star struck when it came to artistic greatness. In fact, Giuseppe Verdi was so thoroughly well versed in this one man’s artistry, it’s not a stretch to say the Father of Italian Opera could very well have been one of his biggest fans.
This hyper-fandom is evidenced by the Maestro not only having read each and every one of this man’s numerous works, he did so repeatedly. This famed personality was so revered by the composer, a special term of endearment was reserved for him whenever Verdi used the word “Pappa”. Giuseppe Verdi held this man’s genius in such high regard, the Maestro took four of his complete works and set them each to music.
I can only be referring to that 17th century British actor whom many consider to be the greatest writer of the English language and whose plays are as timely today as when they were when originally written some 500 years ago – the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare.
Read more "Remembering Joe Green: The Life & Art of Giuseppe Verdi, Part VII"