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HANS HOTTER IN MUNICH

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An occasional addendum to last year's 'Captivating Moments',
with JULIET AVERAY

 

The scene: a cavernous, nearly empty stage, its darkness stifling. A solitary, regal figure sits at his writing desk, having just poured out the heartbreak of his frustrated love in the great aria: Ella giammai m'amò. A sudden gleam of light pierces the profound gloom in the deepest recesses of the stage, and the king turns to watch a towering intruder pacing through a massive door which swings eerily shut behind the hooded, monkish form. Slowly, and with sinister majesty, the newcomer advances like a panther stalking its prey.

Hans Hotter does not need to raise his voice above a mezza voce; the terrifying menace of his presence leaves no doubt that he is the Grand Inquisitor, and that his is the ultimate authority. Hotter's superb artistry during that Munich production of Don Carlos in the mid-70s (a year or two after his official retirement) remains unforgettable, reducing any other memories of the performance to mere shadow play.

Copyright © 25 June 2002 Juliet Averay, Vancouver, Canada

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