jane's blog

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Deutsche Oper vs. Bayerische Rundfunk

There’s a saying, which states that it’s “hell to be popular”. Well, I can tell you that circumstances arise where this saying really applies!

I had been asked to sing the original version (in Russian) of Stravinsky’s Les Noces, with Mo. Rafael Kubelik and the Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich, Germany. Mo. Kubelik was a superb conductor and a wonderful man, whom I honored and liked very much.

Three days before I was to be in Munich to start rehearsals for Stravinsky’s Les Noces, I received an S.O.S. call-offer to take over the title role in the Premiere of Weber’s little known opera Euryanthe in Berlin, Germany, at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. This was a very nice invitation, even if a bit life threatening time wise. They wanted me at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, because they all knew that I had previously sung Euryanthe in Dresden and at the Bruckner Festival in Linz, so they knew that this was something with which I could help them, if I were free to sing.

The Premiere of Euryanthe was in two days! I would be able to take over the Premiere of Euryanthe in Berlin and still arrive in Munich in time to start rehearsals for Les Noces with Mo. Kubelik. My only fear was that there might be problems if I were to be offered further performances of Euryanthe at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, creating conflict with the rehearsals and radio broadcast of Les Noces in Munich, at the Bayerische Rundfunk, and that contract, of course, had precedent. This concerned me, but I couldn’t think about it. I had to focus on the short time at hand, and I knew that everyone in Berlin and Munich was informed of the dates and elements involved.

Off I went to take over the Premiere of the production of Euryanthe, which was very well received and, indeed, I was immediately offered further performances of Euryanthe at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the second performance of which conflicted strongly with rehearsals and the radio broadcast of Les Noces in Munich with Mo. Kubelik. Everyone at the Deutsche Oper Berlin tried to coax Mo. Kubelik to release me from my contract with him and the radio, but he negated that emphatically: “Seldom has there been a singer I have valued as much as Frau Marsh, and for whom I wouldn’t try to be of help in every way, but I will not release her from Les Noces and her contract with me and the radio. Number one, why should I have to…Number two, I will not find a singer I value, in this short time, who knows Les Noces in Russian. Jane Marsh stays with me and Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich! End of discussion!!

The performances of Euryanthe couldn’t take place at the Deutsche Opera Berlin, because another singer couldn’t be found who knew the role of Euryanthe, and the whole production had to be postponed

Do I have to say that sometimes, “it’s Hell to be popular!

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