July 11 update:
Ein Gott vermags. Wie aber, sag mir, soll
A god can do it. But will you tell me how
ein Mann ihm folgen durch die schmale Leier?
a man can enter through the lyre's strings?
Gesang ist Dasein. Für den Gott ein Leichtes.
Song is reality. Simple, for a god.
Wann aber sind wir? Und wann wendet er
but when can WE be real? When does he pour
an unser Sein die Erde und die Sterne?
the earth, the stars, into us?
This Sonnet to Orpheus by Rilke has been on my mind ever since Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's death last week. Gesang ist Dasein. Song is Reality. Music is Existence. Singing is Being. To sing in Truth is a different breath, indeed.
We like to label our favorite singers "divas"—goddesses—for being superhuman and for transcending mundane reality. But Lorraine Hunt Lieberson was not larger than life; rather, she exposed life at its largest. She was not beyond human, beyond reality; instead, she went unflinchingly to the extremes of what being human means. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson transformed human existence into song. Simple, for an immortal god. But how extraordinary that mortal Lorraine found a path through the strings of Orpheus' lyre.
Thank you, Lorraine, for your openness, your honesty, your generosity. I am grateful for your willingness to share your being with us through your singing, and for giving us a glimpse of that path.
Then Jesus said to it, "Raise up, palm, and be strong, and be a companion of my trees which are in my Father's Paradise. Open a water course beneath your roots which is hidden in the earth, and from it let flow waters to satisfy us."
And the palm raised itself at once, and fountains of water, very clear and cold and wet, began to pour out through the roots.
—Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew (via El Niño)
Elsewhere on TSR:
In Rotation: LHL
links to recordings
The Last Word
links to radio program with Peter Sellars, Craig Smith and others remembering LHL
Le Monde : Lorraine Hunt, mezzo-soprano nord-américaine
Machart: "chanté avec une douleur de chair presque insupportable d'intensité"
Opera Data Base Forums - Adieu Lorraine Hunt
"Tout ce qu'elle chantait était en même temps solide comme le marbre et vraiment humain"
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - The Times
"Being ill, she found, had changed the way she sang. Until then she had been dogged by perfectionism — 'Silly, really, because perfection isn’t what moves me when I listen to inspirational singers'"
NY Observer - An Inner Light Extinguished: Farewell to a Great Singer
Charles Michener on LHL: "she was not just raging at what she perceived to be another performer’s wrong choices, but talking fiercely to herself about the danger of indulging in histrionics at the expense of truth"
A True Inspiration - Times
Richard Morrison: "her transcendental courage and the grace of her artistry steadied my own nerve and renewed my spirit at a dark time. Does that sound trite and sentimental? I hope not, because it happens to be true." (scroll down)
Open Source » Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Remembered
her recording of the bach cantatas "have always verged on being too much to bear. But now these cantatas... are simply overwhelming" (see comments for note by steve ledbetter)
SF Classical Voice | TRIBUTE - In Memoriam: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, 1954-2006
"Lorrie Hunt, came forward to sing 'My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice,' from Saint-Saens' Samson and Delilah. ... She simply stood there and sang... There was even some smolder to this 16-year-old's delivery of the seductress' aria."
Opera News > Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, 52, Effulgent Mezzo-Soprano, Has Died
"it was perhaps her honesty as a musician that made her singing so distinctive. The fierce purity of her intention was at times almost startling; through scrupulous, rigorous preparation, she achieved performances of rare spontaneity"
Stereophile: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
"She just stood there,... dropped deep within herself, and sang. No show biz, no indicating or demonstrating, no having the audience's emotional response for them. It was one of the most powerful concerts either of us has ever attended."
Sieglinde's Diaries: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
"what I will remember most of all is the physical impact of that sound: an austere resonance that the gut knows, not from bitter song or poignant art, but from the recurrent trudge of the falling human life"
Chron | Appreciation / Focus, passion are Hunt Lieberson's musical legacy
Kosman: "No one who heard LHL perform that scene at the War Memorial Opera House--it was in 1998, in her only appearance at the San Francisco Opera--could possibly forget it" aaaaMEN, sistah; far and away the most gripping moment I've seen on that stage
Slate | Voice, Over - Remembering the mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. By Marc Geelhoed
on LHL's final performance, of Mahler 2: "The words seemed to have been pulled from deep within her as she imparted how she would, as the song says, ascend into Heaven and achieve peace when she is reunited with God."
LA Times: An Appreciation - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson: Fearless, onstage and in life
Swed: "Death, she reminded us time and again, was not to be feared, not if you understood it as the thing that makes life meaningful. Come to terms with it and every waking minute matters."
The Reverberate Hills: As with rosy steps the morn. . . .
an extraordinary personal reminiscence from a longtime follower: "this morning in my tatty cubicle at work I put on her Handel arias and had to take my headphones off when I started to cry too much for a woman I never met"
KUAT-FM Cue Sheet | LHL in the Archives
"My simplistic description is that it’s a kind of heart-voice, where the heart and the voice are connected, and the voice goes right to your heart, and there’s an opening, and when the heart opens is what makes you cry." -LHL
Paul Viapiano - Guitarist | The Voice
"Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s voice was soaring over my head…literally, three feet above me. It was on fire with the intensity of ten suns"
oboeinsight : So Many Tributes
"I've never seen (or read) anything like this before" (I got the news via voicemail from ACB)
St. Botolph's Town: Gravitas
"I never heard her live: I honestly thought there would be plenty of time"
Philadelphia Inquirer | A vocalist who invaded the soul
"If the less-pretentious Lieberson achieved goddess status among her admirers, it was conferred upon her, rather than something she sought.... The sense of honesty that she exemplified ... was what circumvented any possibilities of diva affectation."
Night After Night: Requiescat.
"the Liebersons included in some recital programs Bob Telson's poignant 'I Am Calling You'" (omg, just imagine how amazing that must have been)
Telegraph | Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
Peter Sellars: "a primal feminine force that connects the earth to the sky with lightning bolts" - i would add that she also connected listeners to the core of the earth and the core of her being, with a still energy even more powerful than lightning
Guardian | Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
"She had an extraordinary capacity for emotional connection, such that her performances seemed to penetrate the very marrow of those fortunate enough to witness them."
Sequenza21/ Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Remembered
a number of msm links (tx, jerry)
NPR : Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Remembered
a concert performance from last May
parterre box presents Unnatural Acts of Opera: Waft her, angels
lhl, on unnatural acts
Obituary: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson; her luminous voice lifted Boston Symphony Orchestra, transported listener - The Boston Globe
Richard Dyer: "When Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sang, time itself stopped to listen."
journal.nonesuch.com: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
"Nonesuch mourns the loss of our friend, the incomparable mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson" - stream entire LHL bach album for free
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, 52; Mezzo-Soprano of Great Range - Los Angeles Times
"I like to listen to singers where I feel the direct openness of the heart in the voice. It's not a veiled presentation. That's what I want to do when I sing for people." -LHL
On An Overgrown Path: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - one of the rare elect
"an artist of the highest order as well as a woman full of heart -- a true daughter of the muses"
ionarts: Pray for Us, Lorraine
LHL on ionarts
Counter/Point 3.0: Consummate Artist: Violist, Singer, Avatar
"she was the page liberated"
AP: Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson dies at 52
"People would forget all that is conventional in opera. People would forget even her singing; they would just feel something so deep and true."
Once Upon a Time...: An Angel, Ever Bright and Fair
"Genuinely extraordinary artists ... make us remember, in the very deepest sense, what it is to be human."
My Favorite Intermissions: Gone
the concert: LHL
"hoping against hope"
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Luminous Mezzo, Dies at 52 - New York Times
obit by tommasini
Prima la musica, poi le parole: Lorraine
"Defend her, Heav'n! Let angels spread/ Their viewless tents around her bed."
Life and Times of a Music Dork: RIP Sweet Muse
"Welt, ich bleibe nicht mehr hier"
Night After Night: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson 1954-2006.
"Ich bin von Gott und will wieder zu Gott"
The Rest Is Noise: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
Iron Tongue of Midnight: LHL
"'Addio, Roma' was a slow, slow walk downstage, and again, she drew the eye in a way I've seen only from her." Indeed