Episode 262. Sylvia Sass Revisited

Episode 262. Sylvia Sass Revisited



Several summers ago I published my first episode celebrating the artistry of Sylvia Sass which primarily featured her 1984 album of pop songs sung in Hungarian. At the time I called it, without any irony, the finest crossover album of the 1980s and one of the best of all time. Sass is an artist who continues to engage discourse. Many of the opinions, theories, and input encountered therein are predicated on dissecting the reasons for her short international career. My objective with today’s episode, however, is simply to celebrate Sass’s singing in all its glory, extending from the standard Italian operatic repertoire with which she is most associated through the thorniest contemporary idioms to the subtlest art song to the most refined Mozart singing, with, once again, a nod to the pop material which initially drew me to her. I always say that I believe in giving flowers to our favorite artists when they are still around to receive them, and today’s bouquet is a stunning display full of color and variety humbly presented to one of my favorite divas.


Robert Schumann, Adalbert von Chamisso: Seit ich ihn gesehen (Frauenliebe und -leben, Op. 42/1). András Schiff [live Budapest 15.VI.76]

Sylvia Sass as Fiordiligi [Hamburg 1975]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Lorenzo da Ponte: Come scoglio (Così fan tutte). Aldo Ceccato, Philharmonische Staatsorchester Hamburg [live 1975]

Giorgio Moroder, Keith Forsey, Irene Cara, Iván Bradányi: Ez a mámor [Flashdance]. Arranged and conducted by Péter Wolf  [1984]

Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Adami [after Alfred Maria Willner, Heinz Reichert]: Ore dolce e divine (La rondine). Andrea Martin, Patrizia Dordi, Rosanna Didonè, Cristina Brancato, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Orchestra del Teatro la Fenice [live 15.V.83]

Zsolt Durkó: The Scene of the Mother and Moses (Mózes). Ferenc Szőnyi, András Kórodi, Hungarian State Opera Orchestra [1979]

Ferenc Erkel, Béni Egressy [né Benjámin Galambos]: Szép reménysugár (Hunyadi László). János Kovács, Hungarian State Opera Orchestra [1985]

With Neil Shicoff, Paris Opera 1982

Charles Gounod, Jules Barbier, Michel Carré [after William Shakespeare]: Un seul mot, puis adieu… Ah, ne fuis pas encore (Roméo et Juliette). Neil Shicoff, Alain Lombard, Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Paris [live Paris 04.X.82]

Gaetano Donizetti, Salvadore Cammarano (after Walter Scott): Spargi d’amaro pianto (Lucia di Lammermoor). Ervin Lukács, Hungarian State Opera Orchestra [1981]

As Giselda in I Lombardi, Covent Garden 1976

Giuseppe Verdi, Temistocle Solera [after Tommaso Grossi]: O madre dal cielo… Se vano è il pregare… No, Dio non vuole (I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata). José Carreras, Nicola Ghiuselev, Lamberto Gardelli, Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden [live 09.VI.76]

Giuseppe Verdi, Francesco Maria Piave [after Alexandre Dumas fils]: Follie! Follie!… Sempre libera (La traviata). Ryszard Karczykowski, Michel Plasson, Orchestre de Capitole du Toulouse [live Aix-en-Provence 22.VII.76]

Giuseppe Verdi, Francesco Maria Piave, Andrea Maffei: Una macchia è qui tuttora [Gran scena del sonnambulismo] (Macbeth). Giovanni Foiani, Maria Grazia Piolatto, Fernando Previtali, Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino [live 24.XI.77]

Sylvia Sass’s painting entitled Lady Macbeth

Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Giacosa, Luigi Illica [after Victorien Sardou]: Vissi d’arte (Tosca). Sylvia Sass, Orchestra conducted by Richard Woitach [live New York 17.III.77]

Emmerich [Imre] Kálmán, Julius Brammer, Alfred Grünwald: Heia, in den Bergen… Wo wohnt die Liebe (Gräfin Mariza) [sung in Hungarian]. András Sebestyén, Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Hungarian Radio and Television Chorus [1978]

Béla Bartók, Endre Ady: Nem mehetek hozzád [I Cannot Come to You] (Five Songs, Op. 16/5). Sylvia Sass, András Schiff [live Budapest 15.VI.76]

Ludwig van Beethoven, unknown librettist: Ah! perfido, Op. 65. Sylvia Sass, Lili Áldor, Ferenc Erkel Chamber Orchestra [1994]

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Tibor Miklós (Hungarian words): Nem tudom, hogyan szeressem [I Don’t Know How to Love Him] (Jesus Christ Superstar). Arranged and conducted by Péter Wolf [1984]

Richard Strauss, Joseph von Eichendorff: Im Abendrot (Vier letzte Lieder, AV 150/4). unknown orchestra and conductor [live Budapest 08.XI.82]

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