This is a performance by the amazing petite Juyeon Song of Wagner's Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde. People are still talking about her recent success in the title role of Aida in 4 performances in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Libestod ended the Wagner part of this concert where Juyeon sang the full Venus scene from Tannhäuser with 'Met' tenor Eduardo Villa along with the Love Duet from Tristan accompanied by Maestro Hans Richter and his Smetana Philharmonic. This concert is to be followed in the Fall with further Wagner in Italy, the Czech Republic and Norway. Beyond Isolde and Venus, her Wagner repertoire includes the 3 Brünnhilde roles and Kundry.
Juyeon is the final vocal artist to come out of Claude Heater's studio with a changed voice, going from Adele to Isolde, Venus and Brünnhilde. Korean born American Soprano Juyeon Song's continually moves her audiences by the depth she brings to the Dramatic Heroines that she portrays. The critics praised Ms. Song's heart breaking dramatic performance as Cio Cio San. Her riveting performance in the Title role of Aida was proclaimed "an emotional vocal performance that connected viscerally with the audiences as did her electrifying acting, from desperation to courageous resolve." (The Independent Newspaper) "This performance should signal the birth of the next great star" by stage director Yuval Sharon in Korean Entertainment News Paper.
Her stage Director David Bartholomew said of her performance "she is one of the top Sopranos internationally who plays the role of Cio Cio San, in Madam Butterfly"
Juyeon has developed in recent years under the guidance of Helden Tenor and Opera Director Claude Heater who, besides his role of Jesus in the film Ben Hur with Charlton Heston, met Maria Callas at a Bernstein rehearsal at La Scala through Lenny Bernstein's wife after her triumph at La Scala as Medea. Claude spent 3 years at the Vienna Staatsoper under Herbert von Karajan with his first La Scala debut under him with Nilsson. His Bayreuth debut came later under Karl Böhm in Tristan and Walküre. His last La Scala was Flying Dutchman with Rysanek under Wolfgang Sawallisch. He had a memorable debut after his Belgium Film of Tristan und Isolde, as Tristan under GianCarlo Menotti at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoletto, Italy. This Tristan film was presented at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, by the Wagner Society in 1985.
He had a busy career singing opposite these sopranos including, Jones, Varnay, Tebaldi, Caballé. Claude sang 5 German seasons at the Liceu in Barcelona one performance of Tannhäuser with Caballé and sang 6 years at Munich's National Theater with an acclaimed Götterdämmerung, with Lorin Maazel in Berlin. Claude's Wagner Ring Cycle with Herbert Graf in Geneva, Switzerland is still remembered where the audience applauded his exit of his first scene while the music was still playing. This was the only time in the Ring's history that this happened, other than in Maazel's production in Berlin where Claude again sang the Siegfried.
Herbert Graf, the leading stage director at the Metropolitan Opera for over 30 years, came to Claude's dressing room after a performance of Siegfried in France and told Claude that he was the best Siegfried he had ever seen and wanted him for his Ring Cycle in Geneva the following year. A leading Austrian Newspaper's headline at the time, said Claude's "Siegfried exceeded the wildest expectations!"
Milan's leading newspaper 'Corierre della Serra' said of Claude singing Tristan at Menotti's Spoletto Festival of Two Worlds: "Claude Heater, Tristano, magnifico e senzationale!"
Claude brought Juyeon from a lyric soprano to the dramatic repertoire and believes she will be a leading Turandot of the 21st Century. She compares physically to sopranos like Janice Baird and Nina Stemme but vocally to the ones Claude sang with when voices were treasured.
Watch videos with other singers performing Liebestod:
Mild und leise wie er lächelt, wie das Auge hold er öffnet --- Seht ihr's, Freunde? Seht ihr's nicht? Immer lichter wie er leuchtet, stern-umstrahlet hoch sich hebt? Seht ihr's nicht? Wie das Herz ihm mutig schwillt, voll und hehr im Busen ihm quillt? Wie den Lippen, wonnig mild, süßer Atem sanft entweht --- Freunde! Seht! Fühlt und seht ihr's nicht? Hör ich nur diese Weise, die so wundervoll und leise, Wonne klagend, alles sagend, mild versöhnend aus ihm tönend, in mich dringet, auf sich schwinget, hold erhallend um mich klinget? Heller schallend, mich umwallend --- Sind es Wellen sanfter Lüfte? Sind es Wogen wonniger Düfte? Wie sie schwellen, mich umrauschen, soll ich atmen, soll ich lauschen? Soll ich schlürfen, untertauchen? Süß in Düften mich verhauchen? In dem wogenden Schwall, in dem tönenden Schall, in des Welt-Atems wehendem All --- ertrinken, versinken --- unbewußt --- höchste Lust!
English Libretto or Translation:
Mildly and gently, how he smiles, how the eye he opens sweetly --- Do you see it, friends? Don’t you see it? Brighter and brighter how he shines, illuminated by stars rises high? Don’t you see it? How his heart boldly swells, fully and nobly wells in his breast? How from his lips delightfully, mildly, sweet breath softly wafts --- Friends! Look! Don’t you feel and see it? Do I alone hear this melody, which wonderfully and softly, lamenting delight, telling it all, mildly reconciling sounds out of him, invades me, swings upwards, sweetly resonating rings around me? Sounding more clearly, wafting around me --- Are these waves of soft airs? Are these billows of delightful fragrances? How they swell, how they sough around me, shall I breathe, Shall I listen? Shall I drink, immerse? Sweetly in fragrances melt away? In the billowing torrent, in the resonating sound, in the wafting Universe of the World-Breath --- drown, be engulfed --- unconscious --- supreme delight!