Why Isn't Jane Eaglen in the Next Ring Cycle?

An Answer

Comments

1
What you say about the unfotunate condition of Ms. Eaglen's health, physically and vocally, may be true. To go so far as to say that she is not a dramatic soprano would negate the opinions of James Levine, Riccardo Muti, John Mauceri, Zubin Mehta, Roger Norrington and Bernard Haitink to name just a few of the conductors Ms. Eaglen worked with regularly at the height of her career. I can't imagine you ever heard her live, or in her prime. No lyric sorpano ever had the amplitude and power that voice displayed at it's best.
2
I do not agree about Jane; however the casting of Janice Baird for The Ring should be a total embarrassment. She can be drowned out by the orchestra in Elektra; a full Wagnerian orchestra will probably cause her to disappear. I think this article just sounded mean spirited towards Jane Eaglen by someone without ears or journalistic talent.
3
Jane should be at the height of her career now. She is only 50 at the most.
4
I found this article quite presumptuous at best and mean spirited at worst. To propose that Jane had arrived at this point in her life likened as a bit part until someone better equipped camE along is astonishing. One almost imagines the scene from "The emperors new clothes". Everybody pretending Jane can sing when she clearly cant? How ridiculous!
5
Jane Eaglen sang in concert for me in the early eighties.Her voice was beautiful,strong and well produced.I found her warm and charming and dedicated to her art.She stayed with us along with mezzo Yvonne Howard,Jo Ward and John Woods the accompanist and was great company.The concert audiece was most enthusiastic.She was at that time studying with my friend Joseph Ward - Head of vocal studies at the Royal Northern College,Manchester,U.K.One of the best teachers of the day.I haven't heard her in recent years so cannot comment on this criticism.I have to say that a singers size is of no interest to me;as long as the voice and artistry are present and of exellent quality.I feel truly sorry,though, if what the critic says is true.
Leonard Warren-Beresford.
6
The correlation betwixt her schedule and teaching can be surmised in that she married a Seattle local in 2000 and since began her transition into a more comfortable home life, rather than one on the road. As far as weight is concerned, in Opera it's purely cosmetic. The voice is what really matters...just look at Pavarotti. I feel the world is being cheated out of hearing some of the great voices in exchange for gocking at a hot body. I'll take a stage full of over-weight folks anyday over the CK models we've been forced to listen to get drowned out by orchestras for the last 20 years.
7
Too bad the writer openly cribs from other catty websites, most notably "trrill.com," from which passages were lifted word for word. If you can't think of something original to write, you have no business parroting others and blackening the a singer's reputation for the sheer fun of it -- with other people's uncredited observations.
8
hey gottfried: nick, the author of this article, writes for trrill.com. he was cribbing from himself.
9
I've heard Jane live at Seattle Opera since her very first performance and have thrilled to her voice. So pure, smooth like velvet and incredibly powerful. I've missed her during this season's ring but heard Janice Baird in cycle 1- Die Walkure and Gotterdamurung and was perfectly happy with her performance. The last time Jane performed at SEattle Opera was in The Flying Dutchman. It was painful to watch and not easy to listen to. She was obviously winded and her phrasing seemed completely out of whack to my very untrained and unprofessional ear. She seemed to take a breath where another singer wouldn't have to and could barely move without stopping. When she had to ascend a series of steps I started worrying she wouldn't be able to sing but she managed to go 2 steps at a time-stop-continue-while singing. The same thing had happened in previous operas but it was worse in Dutchman. I ended up closing my eyes and listening. I do not give a damn what size the opera singer is but no one call tell me that weighing 350+ lbs is healthy. It just isn't. Obesity is serious and saying it's fine and making allowances and insisting a singer's voice will suffer if she/he loses weight is just absurd.
10
This reminds me of two other sopranos. I first heard Alexandra Marc in FRIEDENSTAG in Santa Fe in 1988; my jaw dropped as she showed no fear nor shortness of voice in the treacherous Strauss music. A few years later, she sung AIDA in Chicago; the voice just poured out ending gorgeous music. Not the Aida of one's vision, but definitely one of the voice. Now she seems to have disappeared.

Eileen Farrell was not of the same ample proportions, but not thin, either. She married a Brooklyn police officer and cut back, the retired, quite young. This despite the laudatory remarks on her voice by Toscanini.
11
Nick is a Kid who thinks he knows what he is talking about, but doesnt.
12
He's a wannabe singer who's never reached past the chorus.
13
Many years ago, I sang with Jane in the now defunct Opera Pacific in Die Walkure and then again in a somewhat flashy Die Walkure highlights performance at the Hollywood Bowl. The first time I worked with Jane in rehearsal she put me in awe. Her voice was probably one of the most perfectly placed, resonant-filled, large voice of beautiful quality that I ever have heard. She was one of the few sopranos that after a performance was fresh enough vocally to sing it all over again. Her vocal disipline was flawless and she was a wonderful and gracious colleague.

She absolutely was a dramatic, though her voice was flexible and languid enough to have real vulnerabilty in it.

The whole discussion and prejudice about size is unfortunate. Many a world class voice, especially dramatic sopranos have been left at home because of it.
14
all of this is fascinating in light of eaglen's now being cast by jenkins in minor supporting roles . . . i know nothing about scholl's credentials for writing this kind of analysis [he sounds VERY catty] but it's pretty clear -- in fact hs been clear for some time -- that eaglen, seen for a while as the great hope for wagnerian sopranos, has not lived up to those expectations . . . when i heard her at the MET a few years back, both as brunnhilde and as isolde, i was really disappointed . . . the voice was probably close to being loud enough but to my ear did not seem large enough, a somewhat diffrent thing -- by which i mean it did not have the warmth and amplitutde in the lower registers that are typical of the great wagnerians . . . but then again i've been waiting for the next flagstad and so am probably doomed to another half cnetury of dashed hopes
mike
15
Nicholas Scholl's tone is indeed catty. As to his opinion on Eaglen's being a lyric rather than a dramatic soprano, I agree that the judgements of the conductors she's worked with, Levine for one, are clearly better informed. Since I prefer the lyric to the spinto on the whole, I must leave that argument to others.
That said, I think the various aspersions cast at today's younger and more svelte sopranos are also overly critical. The media of course have a wonderful time puffing fine singers who also happen to be beautiful young men and women, but the predictable backlash against them once the novelty has worn off (public fickleness being what it is) is every bit as catty as the posing of this writer against Eaglen.
It seems to be true that new Wagnerian sopranos are thin on the ground (if you will excuse the expression), although there are certainly some younger singers (Jennifer Wilson, Anja Harteros, and Kate Lindsey -- admittedly a mezzo) who bear close watching. But anyone who knows anything about singing and the voice will tell you that it is not necessary to be 200+ pounds in order to produce a powerful sound or one suitable for Wagner or Strauss. New singers will appear, and will delight us, perhaps very soon.
Moreover, the argument in favour of singers whose appearance is dramatically apt seems to me sensible. Opera is a theatrical as well as a musical experience, and directors are perfectly justified in casting people who look the part as well as sound it. Neither quality should be sacrificed, it seems to me. It is also necessary that singers in opera be able to act, and the profusion of DVDs of productions from opera houses all over the world show up the unsettling effects of non-actors destroying the dramatic impact of great works, however well they may sing. Recordings and concert performances offer plentiful opportunities for singers whose acting or appearance do not measure up.

Sackerson
16
I am deeply shocked about Mr Scholl´s writing about Miss Eaglen. For me she is very much a "dramatic" soprano, capable to sing roles like Isolde and Bruennhilde as well as Norma.
Her registers are in great form, there are no breakings between them as we sadly knew for, to put an example, Hildegard Behrens, whome I loved nevertheless as Bruennhilde on stage.
Hear Miss Eaglen´s performance of Brünnhilde´s Farewell scene of Wagner´s "Goetterdaemmerung" in the 25th Anniversary Gala of James Levine at the Met. I must say that I appreciate this singing as near to perfection.
17
When I first saw Jane Eaglen at The Met in the controversial and doomed production of Norma, my first reaction was fear: fear that she would not survive the night. Obesity is a grave and fatal illness. These people are in failing health. Period. To go on to a stage that size in a theater that size to take on a role of that size in a body of that size was a suicidal gesture on her part, and denial on the part of all others involved in her engagement. At that point a dressing room was built for her and placed in the wings so she wouldn't have to stress her already mortally challenged frame. To maintain optimum health is essential to a stage career, and crucial to an opera singer. Her doctors were insane and are her enablers for allowing a woman who is that gravely ill to perform until she has received all the treatment required to return her to good health. It is not a vocal issue, it's an evasion of responsibility for all who were involved in this scandalous level of denial.
18
Jane Just joined the Faculty of my conservatory and i have never heard anything like her. I agree that she is large (not that i could disagree). But hearing here sing with the orchestra (from behind, because i play in the orchestra) was a truly overwhelming experience. I'm not sure that this article holds any truth other than that she wasn't cast in the new ring. I think the author needs to seriously take a look at himself if all he can do is insult an amazing artist.
19
What a bitchy, ill-informed article. Jane has been turning in wonderful performances for decades all over the world in major opera houses and on major concert stages. She has more than acquitted herself as a first rate artist. I for one am tired of hearing wispy singers cast for "the look" Would you play the Rachmaninov piano concerto on a spinet? And the swipe at teaching! Unconscionable! Rossi said it best-- opera is about voce, voce, voce. And Jane Eaglen has delivered voce, voce, voce with beauty, style, and class. From Norma to Brunhilde is quite a ride-- and a truly informed Wagner commentator should know that Wagner loved bel canto singing not just the loudest horn. Viva Jane!!
20
What a bitchy, ill-informed article. Jane has been turning in wonderful performances for decades all over the world in major opera houses and on major concert stages. She has more than acquitted herself as a first rate artist. I for one am tired of hearing wispy singers cast for "the look" Would you play the Rachmaninov piano concerto on a spinet? And the swipe at teaching! Unconscionable! Rossi said it best-- opera is about voce, voce, voce. And Jane Eaglen has delivered voce, voce, voce with beauty, style, and class. From Norma to Brunhilde is quite a ride-- and a truly informed Wagner commentator should know that Wagner loved bel canto singing not just the loudest horn. Viva Jane! And do you know how lucky University of Washington and the Seattle Opera Young Artist's Program is to have Jane Eaglen on-board!?? Arrogant ignorance is so annoying.
21
I heard her live on a number of occasions in New York and in Chicago and I am also amazed she got as far as she did. Let's face it; she got where she was because there was nobody else after Nilsson retired. Had there been, she would have been lucky to be singing Sieglinde in Tucumcari, New Mexico. She always sounded tired to me, not much ability to ride over the large orchestra and acting? Well forget about it. She was a large immovable static cube of fat on the stage and did not show any emotion either physically or vocally. There was no nuance, no shading of the voice, just a plain all-to-English bland vocal quality and no particular excellence in phrasing. It was in no way a beautiful sound to listen to; in fact tended to get squally towards those last performances with suspect intonation. Don't confuse opportune moments with any particular talent. She just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Had she really had the equipment, she would still be singing today. I cannot stress enough how totally disappointed I was in every one of the performances I attended where she was singing.
22
Do I REALLY need to read all this crap. Ms. Eaglen has an amazing voice. She is the highlight of all the operas I have seen her in. I loved her way back when in Parsifal. She has a pretty damn big and beautiful voice. Who the fuck cares if she is or isn't the next fill in the blank. Ohhh maybe she is really a lyric. OOOOh what an insult. you jealous little bitch. She is a fabulous musician, a beautiful and charming person. I love hearing her. She rocks. You all suck. Wow being a singer is soooo much better than being a critic! They say "those who can't, teach." Well that ain't true necessarily true. But I tell you what is: Those who can't poop on those who do. Piss off retards. Get a real job. Pick on someone who deserves it. Not this fabulous, dedicated artist.
23
Wow. Check out the last paragraph. It is utterly unrelated to the rest of the article. Should have been edited out. Just the author showing his ugly little fangs and hatred towards artists and the world. He even demeans Ms. Eaglen by calling her "Janie." That is meant to be insulting not endearing. He tries to get out of responsibility and accountability in his writing, by saying he thinks it is all a joke. Artists aren't a joke, Mr. Scholl, but you know people are starting to think you are. Wow, he even goes as far as saying he likes it when artists crack under pressure and hurt and destroy themselves. Well, if that is not showing your true colors and bias, I don't know what is. What poor unrestrained writing and an evil spirit. Wow. Your writing is disgusting Mr. Scholl. We all have bad days, Mr. Scholl. We all have disappointment and disillusionment. But some of us don't turn the other direction. We work to make things better and more beautiful, not worse. Read: "Janie will be fine—perhaps even better off than the gals who are crazy enough to stick around in the biz. I'm waiting for someone to crack under the pressure and become opera's first Amy Winehouse—cutting herself and shooting up in the dressing room between acts. Which is fine with me; she just better be able to sing the shit out of some Wagner when it's her cue." That's right dummy they are all performing for you. I think not, silly writer. Why don't you be a little smarter and more sensitive, believe it or not they can be mutually inclusive. :)
24
What exactly are the qualifications of the author of this article? I'm curious as to whether they have any formal music training beyond singing in a college choir..to say that Jane Eaglen didn't sound great in the beginning of her career is a huge mark of ignorance. If The Stranger wants to run articles about serious musicians and artist, they need to hire qualified journalists. I have seen this pattern repeated--incoherent garble about classical arts that comes off as tacky, pretentious and uneducated.

Go fuck yourself, Nicholas Scholl.
25
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