Archive for March 4th, 2017
Shortly after her debut, [Maria] Jeritza sang her second role—Tosca. She had a bit of stage business, a little scheme of her own, that wowed the audience. During the struggle with Baron Scarpia…she rolled off the couch in his apartment with such reality and yet with such grace that again the audience gasped aloud. And then they oh’d and ah’d as her great mass of gorgeous gleaming golden hair came tumbling about her. Jeritza herself had been preparing for this dramatic moment while singing, touching her hair caressingly now and then, unloosening a hairpin and allowing it to slip to the stage floor. The last few and important pins came out in the struggle with Scarpia, and a shake of the head achieved the wonderful effect at just the proper moment.
I used to watch this performance with the keenest delight, keeping close watch to see the pins slide unnoticed to the floor, and then quickly looking at the faces in the front rows of the orchestra to see if anyone had taken notice—but no one ever seemed to catch on. It was truly an act of legerdemain.
—Helen Noble, Life With the Met