Opera lost one of its greats this past weekend when Evelyn Lear passed away. The American soprano was a dynamo both on the stage and off. In 2009 I managed to book Lear into our Washington studio for an interview. There was no particular reason, it was just an opportunity for host Bill Richardson to speak to one of the great operatic voices of our time.
Lear proved to be charming, funny and full of great stories. The highlight of the interview was when Lear told the story of calling in sick to Luciano Pavarotti.
After we aired the interview, Lear called me up to complain that I had not informed her of the airing. In all my work, I'd simply forgotten to let her know when it was going to air. She was very forceful: "Young man, you're to let me know of these things!" And so I was sure to let her know when it was rebroadcast later that season.
That's just a brief excerpt from the interview we did with Lear. If you'd like more, comment below and if there's enough demand, we'll put more of the interview up.
There's suprisingly not that much material on YouTube featuring Lear. Considering the amazing career she had, her voice is not that present on the internet. There is, of course, her amazing recording of Wozzeck.
But for me, the find that is most fascinating and breathtaking is the recording of Eugene Onegin, featuring Lear and the also recently departed great baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
RIP Evelyn Lear
Evelyn Lear, premier American soprano of contemporary opera, dies at 86
Baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau dies at 86
on Jul 03, 2012