Episode 266. Sisters in Sapho (Listeners’ Favorites)

Episode 266. Sisters in Sapho (Listeners’ Favorites)



The perfect Octavian(s)

It’s been a whirlwind of a week chez Gundlach and I find myself at the end of it without a new episode ready to post. In addition to that, we are already halfway through Pride Month and I realized this morning that I had no new queer material up my sleeve. So I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do: I am going to get to work on a brand new episode which will post sometime early next week. But in the meantime, I’m going to do my own Listener’s Favorite episode, one which I posted during the very first season of Countermelody, a wondrous compilation entitled “Sisters in Sappho.” It features not only two of my favorite mezzos of all time (Tatiana Troyanos and Brigitte Fassbaender – both of whom happen to have been lesbians); but also a sampling of the key figures in the Women’s Music Movement of the 1970s, including Meg Christian, Cris Williamson, Margie Adam, Holly Near, and Deidre McCalla. In celebrating these pop icons, I also pay tribute to those who, in turn, paved the way for them, including icons Janis Ian, Dusty Springfield, and Ronnie Gilbert, as well as tipping my hat to two of the queer Black singers (Toshi Reagon, Meshell Ndegeocello), that followed in the wake of these women. We all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to these extraordinary artists, who paved the way for us, their musical and artistic descendants, at the same time setting standards that will stand the test of time. Vocal guest stars include Janet Baker, Ileana Cotrubas, Cecilia Gasdia, Nicolai Gedda, Margaret Price, Gundula Janowitz, Arleen Augér, and Reri Grist.


Francesco Cavalli, Giovanni Faustini: O decoro del mio coro (La Calisto). Janet Baker, Ileana Cotrubas; Raymond Leppard, London Philharmonic Orchestra [1971]

Holly Near: Imagine My Surprise [1979]

Reri Grist photographed by Carl Van Vechten

Alessandro Scarlatti: Del tuo ciglio vezzoso (Endimione e Cintia). Tatiana Troyanos, Reri Grist; Carl Mathieu Lange, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg [1969]

Krzysztof Penderecki [after Aldous Huxley]: Ich will einen Weg finden (Die Teufel von Loudun). Tatiana Troyanos, Andrzej Hiolski; Marek Janowski, Orchester der Hamburgischen Staatsoper [1969]

Nicolai Gedda

Richard Heuberger, Victor Léon, Heinrich von Waldberg [after Alfred-Charlemagne Delacour, Alfred Hennequin]: Geh’n wir ins Chambre séparée (Der Opernball). Brigitte Fassbaender, Nicolai Gedda; Willy Mattes, Symphonie-Orchester Graunke [1969]

Alban Berg [after Frank Wedekind]: Lulu, mein Engel (Lulu). Brigitte Fassbaender, Friedrich Cerha, Orchester der Bayerischen Staatsoper [live, München 06 July 1985]

Brigitte Fassbaender and Margaret Price

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Lorenzo da Ponte: Ah, guarda, sorella (Così fan tutte). Brigitte Fassbaender, Margaret Price; Wolfgang Sawallisch, Bayerisches Staatsorchester [live München 28 February 1978]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pietro Metastasio: Parto, parto (La Clemenza di Tito). Tatyana Troyanos; James Levine, Wiener Philharmoniker [live, Salzburg 1976]

Richard Strauss, Hugo von Hofmannsthal: Mir ist die Ehre (Der Rosenkavalier). Brigitte Fassbaender, Ileana Cotrubas; Georges Prêtre, Orchestra del RAI di Napoli [live, Napoli 16 October 1971]

Richard Strauss, Hugo von Hofmannsthal: Hab mir’s gelobt (Der Rosenkavalier). Tatiana Troyanos, Gundula Janowitz, Arleen Augér, Kurt Eichhorn, Münchner Rundfunkorchester [live München 1969]

Giuseppe Verdi, Antonio Ghislanzoni [after Auguste Mariette]: Judgment Scene [excerpt] (Aida). Brigitte Fassbaender, Robert Lloyd; Riccardo Muti, Orchester und Chor des Bayerischen Staatsoper [live, München 22 March 1979]

Giuseppe Verdi, Joseph Méry, Camille du Locle [after Friedrich Schiller; Italian translation by Achille de Lauzières]: O don fatale (Don Carlo). Tatiana Troyanos; James Levine [live New York, 21 February 1980]

George Frideric Handel, Antonio Salvi [after Ludovico Ariosti]: Scherza infida (Ariodante). Tatiana Troyanos; Raymond Leppard, Orchestra of St. Lukes [live, New York 27 January 1985]

Cecilia Gasdia

Vincenzo Bellini, Felice Romani [after Luigi Scevola]: Ah, crudel, d’onor ragioni (I Capuleti e i Montecchi). Tatiana Troyanos, Cecilia Gasdia, Donato Renzetti [live, Chicago 15 November 1985]

Serge Rachmaninov, Konstantin Balmont: Островок [The Island], Op. 14/2. Tatiana Troyanos; James Levine [live, New York 1985]

Traditional Greek, arr. Maurice Ravel: Tout gai (Cinq mélodies populaires grecques) [sung in Greek]. Tatiana Troyanos; James Levine [live, New York 1985]

Felix Mendelssohn, Heinrich Heine: Neue Liebe, Op. 19a/4. Brigitte Fassbaender; Erik Werba [1979]

Franz Schubert, Johann Gabriel Seidl: Der Wanderer an den Mond, D.870. Brigitte Fassbaender; Aribert Reimann [1992]

Gustav Mahler, text collected by Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentano: Rheinenlegendchen (Des Knaben Wunderhorn). Brigitte Fassbaender; John Wustman [1986]

John Wustman

Kurt Weill, Walter Mehring: Wie lange noch?. Brigitte Fassbaender; Cord Garben [1993]

Janis Ian: Roses [from Aftertones, 1975]

Margie Adam: Beautiful Soul. Dusty Springfield [from the unreleased album Longing, 1974]

Margie Adam: Best Friend (The Unicorn Song) [from Songwriter, 1976]

Meg Christian and Cris Williamson

Meg Christian: Joanna. Cris Williamson [from the self-titled album, Cris Williamson, 1971]

Meg Christian: Song to My Mama. [from I Know You Know, 1974]

Ferron: It Won’t Take Long [from Shadows on a Dime, 1984]

Deidre McCalla: Oh the Earth [from Don’t Doubt It, 1985]

Meshell Ndegeocello: Leviticus: Faggot [from Peace Beyond Passion, 1996]

Toshi Reagon: Terrify Me. Toshi Reagon with BIGLovely and Bernice Johnson Reagon [live from Joe’s Pub, 29 January 2012]

Holly Near: Singing for Our Lives. Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert [from Lifeline, 1983]

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