Sucedem-se as homenagens à grande Senhora da lírica, Elisabeth Söderström.
«I was once told a story about Söderström that may help to convey how her artistry burned. She was rehearsing the Countess Madeleine at Glyndebourne under John Pritchard. The contract with the orchestra meant that Pritchard had to stop the rehearsal on the dot, or else the musicians would start qualifying for overtime, which could not be afforded. The rehearsal went slowly, and had only reached part way through the magical closing scene for the soprano when the deadline was reached. In the pit, Pritchard promptly put down his baton. The orchestra stopped and began packing up. Söderström, in full flow and unprepared for the break, looked as if she had been physically struck down by the sudden end of the rehearsal. In tears, she refused to stop, and sang her part unaccompanied to the end.»
«Shortly after her debut, she joined the Swedish Royal Opera. She remained a member of that company until her retirement. In her early years she focused on soubrette roles, including Mozart heroines. Soon she was branching out dramatically. Her debut at the prestigious Glyndebourne Festival in England came in 1957 as the Composer in Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos,” and for years she remained a favorite with the festival. Among Strauss singers, she was one of the few to have sung all three lead roles in “Der Rosenkavalier,” as the Marschallin, Octavian and Sophie.
A milestone in her career came in the 1969-70 season with the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in London, when she sang Mélisande in an acclaimed production of Debussy’s “Pelléas et Mélisande” conducted by Pierre Boulez, subsequently recorded. That Sony Classical recording, with George Shirley as Pelléas, is considered by many to be definitive.
Another series of landmark performances and recordings involved the Australian conductor Charles Mackerras, an informed champion of the Janacek operas. Ms. Soderstrom became Mr. Mackerras’s soprano of choice for his Decca label recordings of complete Janacek operas, including “Jenufa” and “Katya Kabanova,” with Ms. Soderstrom singing the title roles, and “The Makropulos Case,” a mysterious, haunting work in which Ms. Soderstrom portrayed, unforgettably, the 300-year-old Emilia Marty.»