Tennis in the Second Golden Age of Sports

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Dan L, May 7, 2015.

  1. Dan Lobb

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    Here is a better transfer of the classic 1957 recording of the Prokofiev Seventh Sonata, which Richter had premiered in 1943.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScpRBS8kpFc

    Richter had the unique gift of peering into the mind of Prokofiev and revealing hidden depths in the late piano sonatas.
    In the late sixties, I purchased this 1961 recording of the Eighth Sonata, and wore it out on my turntable.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzODV6moOE4
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  2. Dan Lobb

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    Were the late 1950's the Golden Age of Television?

    Yes, without a doubt. Many of the greatest all-time actors achieved their supreme performances not on film, with its strict time limitations, nor on the stage with a limited audience and relying on vocal rather than facial skills, but television, which gave sufficient close-up views to add realism to the acting, yet could better maintain the original script or play without savage cutting for time limits.

    And we now know that the late fifties were the golden age of televised sports, with major pro tennis events available on television.
    I formerly relied upon the N.Y. Times to conclude that the Forest Hills Tournament of Champions was not televised, but no, it was nationally broadcast on CBS television, the ONLY American pro tennis tournament to achieve that status.

    There is a tantalizing possibility that CBS Sports possesses in its vaults priceless footage of the final days' matches of the Forest Hills TOC from 1957, 1958, 1959, all of them Hoad/Gonzales classic matches.
    Until now, all we have are these highlight film clips from Forest Hills. Let's hope for something more.

    Here is the Hoad/Sedgman match from 1957 Forest Hills TOC.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8x-yEjgb6U

    Here is the 1957 Hoad/Gonzales match from Forest Hills TOC,

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=76m9Sts2vvE

    Here is the 1958 Gonzales/Rosewall match from Forest Hills TOC.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbvGws9fCCA

    We now know that there were a total of six TOC events from 1957 to 1959, three at Forest Hills, two at White City Sydney (1957, 1959), and one at Kooyong Stadium in 1958.

    The Kooyong event was the richest tournament in the entire era, with 10,000 GBP in prize money.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Dan,

    When do you think was the Golden Age of televised tennis in the US?
     
  4. Dan Lobb

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    I would cast my vote for the fifties.
    The Davis Cup was telecast nationally in the U.S.A. in 1955, which drew huge numbers of viewers, and the pros had television coverage of Forest Hills in the late fifties.

    I hope that CBS Sports still has these late fifties classics in their vault somewhere.
    The very best Hoad/Gonzales matches were probably these three final day showdowns from Forest Hills.
     
  5. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    i was alive but not watching tennis in the 1950s.

    The best coverage I experienced was probably the late 70s. I recall watching lesser tournaments on PBS many weekends.
     
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  6. Dan Lobb

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    The first serious tennis I watched on TV was the early open era, 1968 to 1975, many great players, and real grass exponents.
    Unfortunately, until about 1974, they only broadcast the final two sets of Wimbledon finals.
    I preferred the public television broadcasts of the U.S. Pro from Boston, with Bud Collins having long off-the-cuff conversations with the players. Day-long broadcasts.
     
  7. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    To quoth the youngsters: awesome.
     
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  8. Dan Lobb

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    The Hoad/Gonzales rivalry in the late fifties has my vote for the greatest rivalry in the history of tennis, based on quality of play.

    Unfortunately, we currently possess only the clip above of these two giants playing against each other in their prime.

    Hopefully, CBS Sports may have the Forest Hills matches in their vaults, which would be historic footage.

    There were other great rivalries in this Second Golden Age, particularly in golf in the early sixties, the Palmer/Nicklaus showdowns, most famously at the 1962 U.S. Open.

    Here is the recent film of this legendary event, great in full screen.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqB-2UGk88A
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  9. Phoenix1983

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    How interesting that your youth happens to have been the greatest period for pretty much everything.

    :cool::p
     
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  10. Dan Lobb

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    The late fifties was certainly "youth" for me, born in 1951.
     
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  11. Dan Lobb

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    Here is the Wiki article on the Tournament of Champions, incorporating the new information, some of which was provided by NoMercy.

    The 1956 L.A. event has been removed.

    The "draw" section includes a corrected score for the 1959 semi-final between Hoad and Rosewall, previously only the first three sets were posted.
    While McCauley provides the full scores, many references exclude the fourth set, I think because the N.Y. Times article by Danzig only mentioned the first three sets.
    Why? I am guessing that Danzig was reporting after seeing the previous rounds' best-of-three format, and assumed the Hoad/Rosewall semi was also best-of-three, and left the match after the third set.
    I will accept my own guess on that until someone can provide a better one.

    There is no doubt that the Tournament of Champions in the late fifties was the premier tennis tournament, and possibly premier tennis event, of the era.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tournament_of_Champions_(tennis)
     
  12. Dan Lobb

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    The West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills is still a premier grass venue in N.Y. City.

     
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  13. Dan Lobb

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    Forest Hills was renovated from the brink of destruction and returned to professional tennis play in 2013.

    Like a portal into the history of the game...

     
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  14. Dan Lobb

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    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  15. Dan Lobb

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  16. Dan Lobb

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    The West Side Tennis Club clubhouse and grass courts are still the supreme iconic symbol of American tennis, like Yankee Stadium, and also built in the exact same year, 1923.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  17. Dan Lobb

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    Here is the local TV station which carried the Cleveland World Pro tennis tournament in the later 1950's.

    Notice the Twin Heart's Anniversary Ball ad, showing that the Cleveland Arena was a multi-purpose venue. Also the home of the Cleveland Barons ice hockey team, which later would join the NHL for a brief period.

    Careful, tennis players, don't slip on that ice!

    Pete Franklin later hosted the sports radio in Cleveland, I sometimes chatted with him on his phone-in show, in the seventies.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeLptRHAj_E
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  18. Dan Lobb

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    This was the greatest age for the transmission of classic literature to the new medium of television.

    One great achievement was in 1959, a superb and gripping adaptation of Hemingway's greatest novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls", adapted by Hemingway's personal friend, supervised and cast by the author himself.

    They don't make them like this anymore. Looks okay in full screen.

    Part One: https://archive.org/details/SCV31

    Part Two: https://archive.org/details/SCV41
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  19. Dan Lobb

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    Jason Robards starred in the Hemingway adaptation above, a summit achievement, and also made another major event in 1960, "The Iceman Cometh" by Eugene O'Neill.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYPkiH-pVDA
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  20. Dan Lobb

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    Robards single-handedly revived the great O'Neill plays on Broadway, his breakthrough coming in 1956 with "Iceman Cometh" and continuing with "Long Day's Journey" immediately following.
    Robards' close friend Christopher Plummer also experienced his breakthrough success on Broadway with the 1956 Stratford production of Shakespeare's "Henry V", and the following season at Stratford season in 1957 introduced his modern take on Hamlet.
    Here is the 1957 playbill, showing a long list of famous supporting actors that year.

    http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Theater/production/stage/3291/
     
  21. Dan Lobb

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    In April, 1963 Plummer was able to preserve his Hamlet for the BBC in a special quadra-centennial for Shakespeare. This remains the most critically acclaimed production and performance of Hamlet, a role which Plummer owned for his generation, and which fit him like a glove.

    Also prominent in this production, filmed at Elsinore castle in Denmark where Hamlet actually lived, are other great actors, all drinking companions of Plummer, Robert Shaw, Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Roy Kinnear, and other prominent actors.

     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
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  22. Dan Lobb

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    This 1957 Hamlet production featured the elite classical actors in Canada, but the Stratford Festival itself had begun in 1953 with the headline actors drawn from Britain and the U.S.A., Alec Guinness, James Mason, and the American classical actress Irene Worth.

    Here is a summary of how the Festival grew in those early years,

    https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/AboutUs/OurHistory/Timeline
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  23. Dan Lobb

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    .........slow day.
     
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  24. Dan Lobb

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    Part One: https://archive.org/details/SCV31

    Part Two: https://archive.org/details/SCV41


    This great adaptation of Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" from 1959 was a presentation of Playhouse 90, the major drama production of CBS Television, which ambitiously adapted major works to an extended 90 minute format, with a special 180 minutes for the Hemingway classic.

    The directors for Playhouse 90 included major Oscar winning film directors.

    CBS was the most prestigious network for television broadcast of music and drama, and the network also presented many broadcasts of Leonard Bernstein and the N.Y. Philharmonic.
    CBS also broadcast nationally the Forest Hills Tournament of Champions, the only national broadcast of a professional tennis tournament.

    https://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Playhouse_90
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  25. Dan Lobb

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    In April, 1963 Plummer was able to preserve his Hamlet for the BBC in a special quadra-centennial for Shakespeare. This remains the most critically acclaimed production and performance of Hamlet, a role which Plummer owned for his generation, and which fit him like a glove.

    Also prominent in this production, filmed at Elsinore castle in Denmark where Hamlet actually lived, are other great actors, all drinking companions of Plummer, Robert Shaw, Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Roy Kinnear, and other prominent actors.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3w_cohUO8E


    Another major Stratford production in 1957 was "Oedipus Rex" in the W.B. Yeats translation, filmed here...notice William Shatner in the opening scene.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=TonLOAkc1OY
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  26. Dan Lobb

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    William Shatner was a member of the Stratford regular company which travelled to Broadway for the 1956 season, Shatner taking supporting roles in several productions, and understudying Plummer in the "Henry V" role.

    In 1957, Shatner appeared together with Steve McQueen on a CBS live drama, a great success which led to both Shatner and McQueen being offered Hollywood contracts.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIVeQeVu5xQ
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  27. Dan Lobb

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    Jason Robards and his close friend Christopher Plummer appeared together in this 1959 televised performance of Ibsen's "Doll House".

    This was a live performance, and both men had been out drinking together overnight, and had some difficulty with their lines...understandable.

    These two could challenge the great Aussie tennis players of the day for drinking achievements.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF3SqW4wdcA
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  28. Dan Lobb

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    Plummer would be offered Hollywood contracts, but his best roles were in historical, "costume" films.

    Plummer's finest performances were in the big budget films "Fall of the Roman Empire" filmed in summer 1963 in Spain, and "Waterloo" filmed in 1968 in Russia. Plummer stole both films with superb character acting.

    Both of these films were gigantic box office disasters, and effectively ended his career as a lead actor. However, he enjoyed a long career as a supporting actor, eventually winning an Oscar.

    Here is a recently available "Fall of the Roman Empire", Plummer's best film performance.

    Notice the superb confrontation scenes with Stephen Boyd, the drinking and friendship scene starting at 28:30. Plummer relishes his drink here.

    And the temple scene at 2:22:00, which is a bookend to the earlier scene, and quotes the same lines.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8nL9mk8io4
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  29. Dan Lobb

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    This being Remembrance Day, I am drawn to consider the military contributions of my own family, and in particular, the foundation of my first name, Daniel, which was my great-grandfather's name (my Kemp grandmother's father). Daniel Kemp was grandson of John Byrd Kemp (1793-1867), who had joined the British Army as a kitchen helper age 9, then progressed to non-com status in the Peninsular War and served at, and survived, the Battle of Waterloo. He was posted to Canada in 1816, married a local girl in 1818, and my great-great-grandfather was born in the military barracks at Fort George in 1819.

    A few weeks ago, my wife and I visited Fort George and saw the barracks where my ancestor was born. Only 6 out of every 100 barracks soldiers were allowed to keep their families on the post with them.
    The commissioned officers enjoyed much better quarters, now reconstructed.

    Here is a look at Fort George, at the 0:55 point can be seen a non-com barracks "home" area, like the one where my great-great-grandfather was born.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2Gyv8bagHk
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
  30. Dan Lobb

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    Here is Sergei Bondarchuk's cinematic vision of the Battle of Waterloo, in which my ancestor Cpl. John Byrd Kemp served, and somehow survived.
    During WWII, his descendant, Clarence Kemp, my dad's first cousin, would achieve distinction, leading patrols behind enemy lines in Italy and France.
    A special courage.


    At the 34:20 point, there is the excellent military ball sequence, leading to the commencement of the campaign....good atmospheric realization.


     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  31. Dan Lobb

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    The Lobb's served, also. My dad was an infantry captain, in transit to the front lines in Holland at war's end. He had assumed that it would be a one-way trip.
    In WWI, my grandfather Lobb's brothers were in the British Navy, the Lobb's were a merchant mariner family.
    One of his brothers was in the Battle of Jutland, and suffered post-battle stress.
    Another became commanding officer of the Cutty Sark training ship in WWII.

     
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  32. Dan Lobb

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    Glenn Gould became a regular performer at the Stratford Festival in its glory days in the late fifties and early sixties, and Gould was appointed music director for a classical series at the Festival.

    Here is a great performance, live not studio, from the Stratford main theatre (thrust stage) on August 7, 1960, with Leonard Rose on cello of Beethoven op. 69, somewhat livelier, faster and more intense than their later CBC television performance of the following year.....the best.

    Beethoven's dramas in sound seem to belong on a dramatic stage, such as Stratford's main thrust stage.

    First Movement

    Second Movement

    Third Movement
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  33. Dan Lobb

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  34. Dan Lobb

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    Tomorrow afternoon, my wife and I will hear the TSO perform a Vaughan Williams program, including the Oboe Concerto with the TSO principal oboe (above in the Britten work) as soloist.
    This concert will be recorded live, and issued commercially on Chandos records around the world. If you hear enthusiastic applause on that recording, my wife and I will be among the contributors.
     
  35. Dan Lobb

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    The oboe soloist can be heard at the 2:05 point and onward, and also from the 5:00 point onward in an extended passage, in this live performance by the TSO of the Vaughan Williams "Romanza" movement of his 5th Symphony. TSO Conductor Peter Oundjian has developed a notable reputation as a Vaughan Williams interpreter, this great movement by VW shows Oundjian at his best.

     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  36. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    Dan, In German it's "Geistertrio", not named after a tennis expert...
     
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  37. Dan Lobb

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    Great concert yesterday (and Wednesday), the Wednesday providing the basis (with "patches") for a Chandos double CD of Vaughan Williams due out early in 2018. Worldwide release.
    The oboe soloist provided the best interpretation I have heard of the Oboe Concerto, and the Piano Concerto, showing influences from Ravel and Bartok, both friends of Vaughan Williams was given a supreme performance by Louis Lortie.

    Lortie is best known for his series of Ravel and Liszt recordings, here with a great Gershwin achievement.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvVO8aXERNI
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  38. Dan Lobb

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    The Vaughan Williams Piano Concerto is a vast, moody, exultant masterpiece, Bartok loved it... here is a good recording, the accompanying pictures look great in full screen.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB72RETYua4
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  39. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I have a friend/colleague who believes, that for most people, they still love and think the best are those things they first experienced in their youth-teenage years.

    In his opinion, it really does not matter what it is or who it is.
     
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  40. Dan Lobb

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    Actually, my first tennis awareness was in 1961, 10 years old, watching Davis Cup of Canada vs. Mexico, and Bob Bedard defeating both Llamas and Osuna...I started playing tennis shortly after that. I never watched Hoad play until 1977, in the U.S. Senior doubles final.
    Never saw or heard of Hoad, Gonzales, Sedgman, Trabert until I was into my twenties.
    The stars I heard of in the mid-sixties were Emerson and McKinley, not Hoad or Gonzales.

    My conclusions that the late fifties was the summit of tennis history came many years later, formed by researching the newspaper archives of London Times and N.Y. Times.
     
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  41. Dan Lobb

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    In recent years, my wife and I have performed with our church choir members from Toronto in local senior's residences in the Christmas season, as we will this year, various Christmas music, and twice we performed with a famous former singer, Jon Vickers, among our audience, without my awareness. My tenor solos reached my best ever level, fortunately.

    Vicker's father and my father were colleagues in the Prince Albert, Saskatchewan education system in the early fifties.

    Vickers received an honorary musical doctorate from my university in 1974, and one of my professors told me how he noticed Vickers reading through our library's copy of his unauthorized biography and adding annotations to comment on and correct the text.

    Here is Vickers singing the greatest ever Christmas solo, with Sir Thomas Beecham conducting in 1959, Handel's "Every Valley".
    Vickers told the story of how Beecham asked him to pronounce "valley" as "vall-ay", not "vall-ee".
    Vickers replied to him, "Where I come from, a "vall-ay" is someone who brings your slippers and housecoat in the morning."
    Beecham laughed at that.

    This was recorded in one single take.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uGCyCQ4760
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  42. Dan Lobb

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    In 1958, Vickers was singing a performance after which he was approached by the famous conductor Herbert von Karajan, who enthusiastically invited him to sing Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" the following season,
    Vickers declined, stating that he was not ready for such an important role. However, the two worked together in performances of Beethoven's "Fidelio" in Vienna (Wien) in the early 60's.

    Here is Vickers in his most central calling-card aria, Florestan from "Fidelio", a role which Vickers transformed into a "helden" tenor style, and away from the light lyric tenors who had typically sung the part in previous generations. He owned the part.

    Vickers is accompanied by Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=oubBWWjTuEU
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
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  43. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I notice that he did record Tristan with Karajan in 1971.

    I have him in Fidelio in the Klemperer EMI recording. He was great.
     
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  44. Dan Lobb

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TonLOAkc1OY

    The late fifties saw revivals of major Greek drama, the famous 1957 Stratford production of Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex", in the translation by W.B. Yeats, arguably the greatest poet of the modern era, was performed in the mask tradition of ancient Greece, a startling innovation.

    The following year saw the debut performance in Dallas of the Covent Garden production of Cherubini's operatic setting of Euripides' "Medea", based on Corneille's stage adaptation from the court of Louis XIV.

    Cherubini's opera was composed in the mid 1790's and debuted in 1797, Beethoven believed it to be the greatest opera ever composed. The French Revolution and its aftermath are clearly in the background, and it contains an obvious political allegory with respect to the power politics of Robespierre and Napoleon, the successors of the revolution who destroyed their own creations.

    Philip Downs described Cherubini's achievement in this work, "...he and Mozart stand alone as the two opera composers of the time with sufficient technical ability and artistic "savoior faire" to be able to accomplish what they set out to do."
    High praise from the foremost music historian of his time.

    This production was probably the most successful performance ever by Maria Callas, ably partnered by Jon Vickers as Jason, an unmatched pairing....nothing since has reached this level as a combined musical/dramatic achievement.

    The great Callas/Vickers duet in Act I occurs at the 50:15 point and following.

     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  45. Dan Lobb

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    Here are some scenes from that Covent Garden production of "Medea" from 1958, showing Callas and Vickers with impressive sets, and Callas' acting style on stage. Great in full screen...the sound track is from a studio recording without Vickers.

     
  46. Dan Lobb

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  47. Dan Lobb

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    Here is that 1962 Fidelio recording conducted by Klemperer, with Vickers as Florestan, redefining the role for a larger, dramatic tenor voice.

    Vickers' main solo begins at 1:16:45.

    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAEO5-4fWY8
     
  48. Dan Lobb

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    Here are some great portions of that "Tristan und Isolde" recording by Karajan with Vickers and Dernesch, with luminous accompaniment from the Berlin Philharmonic, a monument to the potential beauty of sustained sound. Nothing has matched it.

     
  49. Dan Lobb

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    There were still great lyric tenors active in that golden era, for example, Bjorling became more than ever a recitalist, and left some memorable Schubert recordings.

     
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  50. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Directed by John Frankenheimer. Impressive.
     
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