I sang Brünnhilde three nights running…

The Swedish soprano Iréne Theorin has posted that she sang the role in Budapest on June 16, 17 and 18, just like they used to do at Bayreuth. Current practice is for artists to take a two or three day break.

But does everyone need time off when the blood is high and the fires burning?

 

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  • If it’s absolutely fine for her and she wanted to do it, great. But no artist should feel under pressure (or be made to feel it represents ‘professionalism’, or similar) to perform beyond what is physically appropriate for them – and to risk their health in doing so. Myths of the so-called “Golden Age” should remain just that.

    Large amounts of serious recent research have made us far more aware of the health risks posed to musicians (to hearing as well as physical and psychological wellbeing) when they are compelled to perform beyond reasonable limits of stamina and technique. We know this now; we did not know it then. To ignore this, and to glorify bad (or uninformed) practice in the past, is irresponsible at best.

    (It’s akin to longing for the “good old days” when manual workers cheerfully did 14 hour shifts in factories with no goggles, gloves or earplugs “and were none the worse for it…”)

  • Ms Theorin is a force of nature. I was there and she seemed as fresh as a daisy at the end, having given what counts for me the most blistering Goetterdaemmerung Act 2 ever (apart from the Chereau, which I only saw on the telly). Helped that Adam Fischer encouraged her to sing a lot of it very softly. No tiring at any point.

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