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Questions, contradictions, corrections
1. Troyanos' birthday was Sept. 12. Some sources (including Grove) had Dec. 9, an inversion presumably based on misreading "9/12" in the European format. The Wikipedia article also included this mistake at one point.
2. Her first piano teacher's name is spelled "Petrini" in various articles about her, but articles in the New York Times and Brooklyn Eagle about his instrument-collecting program and teaching at Brooklyn Home for Children as well as an article in Opera News agree on Louis Pietrini.
I was never so inspired by a colleague on the stage as I was by Tatiana, because she just gave everything. I remember after she passed away, the next time I sang Clemenza I opened my score and just got all teary-eyed, because the smell of that page, of that score, reminded me of sounds in my ears of her singing. When I did my first Sesto this spring in Paris, there were certain phrases that I found myself singing just like she did, because it was in my ear that way.
Living It Up in Operaworld Susan Graham is having the time of her life as one of opera's most in-demand mezzo-sopranos. DAVID J. BAKER
JANUARY 2000 — VOL. 64, NO. 7
Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham
The Gramophone - Volume 84, Issues 1010-1014 - Page 17
https://books.google.com/books?id=dt44AQAAIAAJ 2006 - SUSAN GRAHAM ON WORKING WITH TATIANA TROYANOS
Early in my career, my first job with a major opera company was in a star-studded production of La clemenza di Tito at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Carol Vaness, who wsang Vitellia in those performances, said that Troyanos gave 110 percent.
Return, memory, and the almost synaesthetic power of music to collapse time, are recurring themes for Graham. Preparations for Sesto in Paris have her looking into an old score, one that she used when she sang the role of Annio opposite Troyanos.
Robert Jacobson wrote in Opera News, "The night of March 8, marked the house debut of Tatiana Troyanos as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, and she made the ideal entry, returning with a kind of vocalism, standard of acting and artistry that immediately put her in the Met tradition of Rise Stevens and Christa Ludwig." In Ariadne, "Again it was the mezzo's artistry and concentration that made the prologue come into focus. Her Composer radiated passionate commitment and was sung with a rich array of colors, soaringly expressive line and strong top voice. The duet with Zerbinetta provided the dramatic pinnacle of the afternoon."
Oberlin's voice is like a fine wine: once tried, nothing else seems quite the same.
"What in the world was Troyanos, that mistress of heavy mezzo roles -- our Octavian, our Carmen, our Composer in "Ariadne" -- doing in this music? She soon made it spectacularly clear. She launched headlong into an incredible cascade of runs, ornaments, embellishments and adornments that left the listeners almost more breathless than she. The aria was superbly articulated and always right on the beat. Where, and why, has Troyanos been hiding this coloratura technique all these years? At the end, there was no question that she herself realized what she had done -- as she grinned broadly while the audience interrupted the opera with a tumultuous standing ovation."
Lon Tuck Washington Post Glorious 'Cesare' By Lon Tuck February 25, 1985
" any alterations must be clearly marked, i.e. [square brackets] for added or replacement text,"
Sources differ as to her Hamburg Opera debut role -- Lola and Preziosilla have each been cited, as well as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and others. But (cite Abendblatt article on Lola.)
"A great, New York–born mezzo with a striking stage presence, wide range of roles, and glorious tone and musicianship, Troyanos's untimely death from cancer left a great void in our music scene." NPR The Curious Listener's Guide to Opera by William Berger
vol. 53 Brian Kellow, in the May 2002 'Opera': "Performance anxiety is democratic; it afflicts both beginner and veteran. . . . In the case of singers such as Teresa Stratas, Tatiana Troyanos, Luciano Pavarotti and Franco Corelli, it definitely added a brilliant edge to their singing; it's safe to assume that they would not have been the treasured artists they were without it. . . . Troyanos was, by all reports, someone caught between a rock and a hard place: her stage fright was equalled only by her love of singing. But she, like Stratas, Pavarotti and Corelli, was able to tap into her stage fright and transform it into an energy that took her to another level, allowing her to create a long series of compelling portraits."
"Few if any in the opera world knew she was ill -- her book was as full as she let it get for several years into the future.... Hers is on various counts a legacy of courage."
--Martin Mayer, obituary, Opera
"Tatiana Troyanos was one of the defining singers of her generation ... She was a kind of conscience that sometimes exposed the shallowness and superficiality of what was going on around her; Tatiana Troyanos lifted the level of every performance she participated in."
Richard Dyer "Busy time for Williams" The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) August 27, 1993
"Here's the artist as shaman, a sort of androgynous everywoman who seems to have experienced every peak and valley we have, and is able to give voice to it on our behalf." Cori Ellison REMEMBERING TATIANA TROYANOS February 22, 2003 12:30 p.m. ET Intermission #1
"Sometimes listening to Troyanos's recordings, we tend to forget the radiant glory of the voice itself because of the burning intensity and conviction of her dramatic projection. Like all truly great singers, however, she realized that the art of drama and the art of song go hand in hand. From the very beginning, the composers of opera sought to create _dramma per musica_, 'drama _through_ music.' At her best, that is what Troyanos achieved -- intense dramatic projection communicated through the art of beautiful singing." "American Opera Singers and Their Recordings: Critical Commentaries and Discographies" by Clyde T. McCants (McFarland, 2004). (p. 331)
"A principal artist at the Metropolitan for seventeen years, she sang more than 250 performances with the company in a wide-ranging variety of repertoire from Handel to Glass. She was possessed of a rare combination of passion, commitment, emotional intensity, and fragility, enabling her to reach deeply into every role she performed" NYT death notice 1993, placed by Metropolitan Opera (signed Joseph Volpe & Levine)
Her parents, who had separated when she was an infant and later divorced, were operatic hopefuls who "had beautiful voices"; her father, born on the Greek island of Cephalonia, was a tenor and her mother, from Stuttgart, Germany, was a coloratura soprano. Tatiana was looked after by Greek relatives and lived for about ten years at the Brooklyn Home for Children in Queens. She began studying piano there (her first teacher was Metropolitan Opera [principal] bassoonist Louis Pietrini, who had volunteered to teach the children to play a variety of instruments and also instructed them in solfege) and continued, on scholarship, for [seven or eight] years at the Brooklyn Music School. She sang in school choirs and the All City Chorus. When she was sixteen, a teacher, Herman Schuckman, heard her voice in the chorus and took time "to find out who the voice belonged to ... and got me to the Juilliard Preparatory School and my first voice teacher." She was initially trained as a contralto, a range she found uncomfortable.
but "it was in my genes to sing"; her early inspirations included Mario Lanza and Jane Powell ("my father and mother, obviously") and later Maria Callas on recordings and Risë Stevens at the Met. She sang in school and church choirs and the All City Chorus. When she was sixteen
and a senior at Forest Hills High School, a teacher "tried to find out who the voice belonged to ... and got me to the Juilliard Preparatory School and my first voice teacher." In her late teens, she moved to the Girls' Service League at 138 on East 19th St. in Manhattan, near Gramercy Park, and later to a co-ed boarding house on East 39th; the old Met, where she was a frequent standee, was on West 39th.
Voice and artistry
[ Matthew Epstein said she was "as controversial offstage as she is on, but a total delight." [Matthew Epstein, in Jacobson, "Getting It Together"]
Troyanos's manager at Columbia Artists in the 70 and 80s, Matthew Epstein acknowledged that she was "as controversial offstage as she is on."
"the number of important rising or just-arrived singers in serious trouble swamps the small gathering of singers who have been wise and cautious. This season has already found Jose Carreras, Pavarotti, and Domingo all in diminished form. And the list is not limited to tenors. Katia Ricciarelli, Montserrat Caballe, Renata Scotto, and mezzo Tatiana Troyanos are all showing disturbing signs of the effects of repertoire too heavy for their voices. And these are the singers opera managements around the world are relying on to fill casts and rosters."
"Great voices are treasures - and should be guarded" By Thor Eckert Jr. / January 20, 1982, Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/1982/0120/012000.html
"Charlotte and Werther can be legitimately encompassed, not merely managed, by voices of lyric weight, although they also lend themselves to heavier casting ... Troyanos is wonderful. At a time when many of even our best singers have fundamental vocal defects, it's a special pleasure to hear a voice under genuine control: beautiful in sound, free and flexible in handling, so firmly projected from top to bottom that it has managed some successful impersonations of dramatic mezzo roles (Geschwitz, Venus). If her Charlotte isn't grippingly individual, it's still sensitively done -- unfailingly expressive as well as pleasurable to the ear.
Tatiana Troyanos does the Wood Dové's song about as well as it can be done without without the lower-range strength of a dramatic mezzo or contralto." Kenneth Furie in Keynote: A Magazine for the Arts, Vol. 4, no. 1 March 1980 pp. 31=33
In 1989, Will Crutchfield in The New York Times, recalling "dozens of Metropolitan Opera evenings in which the mezzo-soprano has performed with passion and sincerity, has focused everyone's attention on the meaing of the piece," added that Troyanos "has upheld a standard of firm, admirable singing into middle age while mezzos all around her have gone to wrack, ruin and wobble." (March 11? 1989)
"Troyanos is still a profoundly immediate and expressive artist. Hers was the most pliant and meaningful delivery and coloration of the text, the most beautiful, sophisticated and natural shaping of the musical line." -Boston Globe 1993
=---------- private by own description;
- He was Herman Schuckman, as cited in Colvin and elsewhere.
- Jacobson, Robert. "Getting It Together." Opera News, vol. 47, no. 3, September 1982.