Following Christine Brewer's recital last Saturday, Richard Dyer, the former classical music critic for the Boston Globe, made an apt comparison between Brewer and an earlier operatic denizen of St. Louis, Helen Traubel. Brewer herself mentioned Traubel, but it was Mr. Dyer who made the comparison and got this writer thinking...
I took a look in the Celebrity Series archives and sure enough Aaron Richmond had presented Ms. Traubel at Symphony Hall in 1942 with BSO cellist Jean Bedetti and two piano accompanists: Conrad V. Bos and Leonard Bernstein (you heard me). There were numerous overlaps between Ms. Traubel's 1942 program and Ms. Brewer's (at least as originally planned). Traubel also programmed Gluck's "Divinités du Styx" from Alceste, some of the same Wagner and Richard Strauss. Both singers closed their programs with Frank LaForge's "Hills." I wonder if Ms. Brewer conceived of her program as a kind of tribute.
I wasn't around in 1942, but I'm betting Ms. Traubel's recital was as musically wondrous as Ms. Brewer's. It's nice to know that our muse here at the Series has not drifted too far and that we are in some way representing quality performing in a continuum.
Here is the Boston Globe's review of Ms. Brewer's recital.
UPDATE: Please see Ms. Brewer's comment below (a first!) and note that Amazon.com is taking pre-orders for her CD, Echoes of Nightingales, and Hyperion, the label releasing the CD, is offering streaming excerpts.