Saturday, February 21, 2015

Evelyn Lear Legacy Continued By Dolora Zajick Through Students

Queen Lear: During the zenith of her career
"Since 2013, Washington’s Wagner Society and Zajick’s institute have been linked in a partnership that picks up where the Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart Emerging Singers Program left off with Lear’s death in 2012. Lear and Stewart were two leading American singers of their generation who, with the help of the Wagner Society, worked with more than 75 singers over 12 years. Their program lives on. Reborn as the American Wagner Project and funded by the Wagner Society, it now represents one of six distinct training arms of the institute. 'It’s under the umbrella of our program,' Zajick said, 'but it runs on its own engine.' It’s headed by Luana de Vol, the American Wagnerian who has sung extensively in San Francisco and Europe. 'I gave her carte blanche,' Zajick said, 'to do whatever she wants.'....Lear recognized the importance of Zajick’s program. John Edward Niles, the conductor who oversaw the Emerging Singers Program in Washington for 12 years and is now on the faculty of the American Wagner Project, recalled in an e-mail a conversation he had
Force of Nature: Dolora Zajick leads the next
 generation of large voices in opera 
(Photo: David Sauer)
with the soprano shortly before she died. 'You have got to PROMISE me,' he said she told him, 'that you will keep the ESP going and merge the program with Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. I know now that this is the ONLY place for the ESP.' Niles added, 'If Evelyn Lear asks you something in that tone, YOU DO IT!'"[Source]  Watch videos of big voices of the future Issachah Savage and Rachel Willis-Sørensen, as well as the possible mystery tenor mentioned in the Washington Post article, after the jump. Learn more about the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, including the multitude of programs offered for various levels of experience, by clicking here. Also visit the official website of Dolora Zajick for her upcoming opera engagements by clicking here.

"Evelyn Lear (January 8, 1926 – July 1, 2012) was an American operatic soprano. Between 1959 and 1992, she appeared in more than forty operatic roles, appeared with every major opera company in the United States and won a Grammy Award in 1966. She was well known for her musical versatility, having sung all three main female roles in Der Rosenkavalier. Lear was also known for her work on 20th century pieces by Robert Ward, Alban Berg, Marvin David Levy, Rudolf Kelterborn and Giselher Klebe. She was married to the American bass-baritone Thomas Stewart until his death in 2006. Lear was born as Evelyn Shulman in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Nina (Kwartin), a coloratura, and Nathan Shulman and granddaughter of the distinguished cantor Zavel Kwartin.
Her family was Russian Jewish. She completed her musical education at Hunter College, New York University and the Juilliard School of Music studying voice, piano, French horn and composition. She married Walter Lear, a physician and later political activist, divorcing in the mid-1950s. While at Juilliard she studied under Sergius Kagen and met her future husband, baritone Thomas Stewart. Both Lear and Stewart won Fulbright scholarships to study at Hochschule für Musik in Berlin where she studied with Maria Ivogün. Lear started her opera career as a member of the Städtische Oper Berlin in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos playing the Composer, a lead role which she would later play at a number of leading opera houses. She played the title role in Alban Berg’s Lulu in 1960 in its Austrian debut in concert form. She had only three weeks to learn the role, having been called in as a late replacement. Her performance was so well received that she played the role in the first staged version since World War II at the Theater an der Wien at the Vienna Festival of 1962 with Karl Böhm conducting. The performance was repeated in 1964 and recorded by
Deutsche Grammophon. She also performed in Lulu in the late 1980s, albeit in the mezzo-soprano supporting role of the Countess Geschwitz. She appeared as Nina Cavallini in Robert Altman's 1976 film Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson. In 1989, she played the role of Queen Elizabeth I of England in the musical Elizabeth and Essex, based on Maxwell Anderson's 1930 play. Lear created a number of roles during her career. In 1955, having just graduated from Juilliard, she created the role of the heroine Nina in Marc Blitzstein's Reuben, Reuben – a role that would prompt Leonard Bernstein to name his daughter Nina. In 1961, she created the title role of Giselher Klebe's Alkmene in Berlin. Two years later, she created another role as Jeanne in Werner Egk's Die Verlobung in San Domingo in the reopening of the Munich Nationaltheater.
Her debut with the Metropolitan Opera came with the creation of the role of Lavinia Mannon in the world premiere of Marvin David Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra in 1967. Soon after this she experienced vocal problems, losing much of her upper range and clarity, which she blamed on singing so much modern music. This did not stop her performing modern roles, however. In 1974, she created the role of Irma Arkadina in Thomas Pasatieri's The Seagull at the Houston Grand Opera. Lear created the role of Magna in Robert Ward's Minutes to Midnight in 1982, followed by creating the role of Ranyevskaya in Rudolf Kelterborn's Der Kirschgarten in Zurich in 1984. Lear enjoyed success performing Richard Strauss's works. She made her London debut in a performance of the Four Last Songs. Her longest association, however, has been with Der Rosenkavalier having performed all three major female roles. She sang the role of Sophie in regional German opera houses with the Berlin State Opera, progressing to sing the role of Octavian in major opera houses in Vienna, Berlin and New York. Her greatest success in this opera was her role as the Marschallin which she debuted in 1971 and
played in leading opera houses including La Scala and her farewell performance at the Metropolitan in 1985. The Senate of Berlin gave Lear the title of Kammersängerin for her contribution to the opera in that city while the Salzburg Festival honored her with the Max Reinhardt Award. She won a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in the Grammy Awards of 1966 for her work with Karl Böhm, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Fritz Wunderlich and the German Opera and Chorus for their performance of Berg's Wozzeck. Lear and Thomas Stewart married in 1955 and were together until his death on 24 September 2006, aged 78. She had two children by her previous marriage. Lear died on July 1, 2012, at Brook Grove nursing center in Sandy Spring, Maryland, aged 86." [Source]

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