Thursday, July 5, 2012

Great Cesare's ghost

 Normally I am not one for death anniversaries but just now here I was, reading up on Cesare Siepi, and I found he died on this day, just a couple of years ago.

It has been two years since Mr. Siepi left us!

Siepi was said to be one of the great Don Giovannis of his day and if there is something better that can be said about a person I know not what that could be.

Unless you say it, as one commenter did on the video:

"Si, el mejor Don Giovanni!"

He always performed with the greatest conductors and above he is singing the Champagne Aria with Wilhelm Furtwangler, with whom we have been earlier preoccupied.

In 1955 he made a great recording of "Don Giovanni" with Josef Krips that is still regarded as pretty much unsurpassed. The scene at the end where the Commandatore drags him down to hell is supposed to be more terrifying than in any other version EVER. I say "supposed to be" because although I have read all about it I am still waiting for the right time to listen to it. You cannot just listen to it any old day, you know? Someone might interrupt you.

Also I sort of wish I could watch the whole opera. It is cheating to watch that scene by itself.

As I wait for the correct moment, it is fun to watch him seducing poor little Zerlina in "La Ci Darem La Mano." Poor Zerlina, she does not stand a chance, who does?

It is strange to read in the British obituary that for his last 25 years, Cesare Siepi had lived a reclusive life in Atlanta, Ga. Twenty-five years is a long time for an opera singer to live a reclusive life.

It seems he had a long marriage, to Louellen Sibley, a dancer at the Met. My guess is she was the Georgia connection. That name Louellen, it sounds like a Southern belle.

Imagine being a dancer at the Met and picking up with Cesare Siepi. I wonder if it was like the video up above!

Whatever, it must have been fun.

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