Throat-struck mezzo makes perfect Vienna comeback

Elisabeth Kulman was rehearsing Brangaene in Tristan und Isolde in the Ruhr this summer when she was hit in the larynx by a colleague in one of those freak accidents that happen when singers have too much to do apart from singing.

She was rushed to hospital and ordered to stay off work for the rest of the year. That meant cancelling Salzburg. Fears abounded that she might have sustained permanent damage.

Happily, she’s back singing Gaea in Strauss’s Daphne at the Vienna Opera (Simone Young conducting) and is, by all accounts, fully recovered.

photo: Elisabeth Kulman als Gaea in “Daphne”
(c) Michael Poehn / Wiener Staatsoper

 

 

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  • Elisabeth Kulman actually did perform in Orfeo in 2010. This year she was forced to cancel a gala concert with Barenboim at the Salzburg Festival due to the rehearsal accident.

  • Sad to think that this smart, warm, agile, accurate mezzo-soprano has had to sink into the Wagner repertory in order to secure enough work. Gaea I can understand, at a stretch. But Isolde! There are hundreds of non-damaging roles she might have sung before taking this path.

  • That is less alarming. Still, the voice I have come to know over the last three seasons would do well to avoid Richard Wagner. I see that a foray began (gently) with Floßhilde and Grimgerde in 2009 and has progressed to Fricka and Waltraute, and now Brangäne.

    She is not Ludwig or Lipovšek. This is a lighter and more agile instrument — think Ottavia, Cornelia, Orfeo, Dorabella, Néris, Marguerite (Berlioz), Léonore (Donizetti), Ursule, Charlotte, Margaretha (Schumann), Angelina, Quickly.

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