It is a very wonderful gift when someone guides you. The opera landscape is as rich as a 20-course meal, all delicacies. You can nibble, but it helps to know what you're "tasting" and what the next course might be and how it's related to coming courses.
In my first opera experience, Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte", the Despina was Judith Raskin. Her voice spun like liquid silver. I heard her many times after that - Sophie in "Rosenkavalier", Susanna in "Nozze di Figaro", Pamina in "Zauberflüte", Anne in "Rake's Progress", Nanetta in "Falstaff", Marzelline in "Fidelio", concerts and recitals. These were my formative opera years.
Her musical generosity was without limit. She was my guide, suggesting what I might like to hear, not necessarily performances in which she was involved. I sampled operas and other vocal forms and learned from them all. From her I learned the beauty and integrity of the art form, as well as what it takes to be a great artist - exquisite singing, style, dedication.
All pre-2002 images are scanned from films.
All images Copyright © Beth Bergman All rights reserved