I’ve included Alex Ross’s blog The Rest is Noise on the Links list here, but I’ve lifted this video performance of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau from there just in case it’s missed your notice. Much has been written about the great baritone since his death, but no amount of words can convey his rare artistry as well as this short clip of Der Leiermann, the final song from Winterreise.
Alex Ross’s blog entry also includes the following links to other tributes: Worth reading are a Guardian obituary by the late Alan Blyth; a memorial from Ian Bostridge; appreciations by Tony Tommasini and Leo Carey; and Martin Kettle's quietly heartbreaking 2005 interview with the singer, in which he wonders if he will be forgotten. He will not.
It’s an April morning on the Place de l’Opéra in Paris and Gilles Djeraouane, house manager of the Palais Garnier, perches on a roof ridge of the opera house’s majestic dome at a vertigo-inducing height above street level. A few paces further along the roof, lapped by sun-sparked clouds, stands the Garnier’s crowning decoration, a statue of Apollo with his golden lyre.
Planted limpet-like on the 19th-century metal stairway scaling the dome, I look down queasily at the flat-topped section of roof Mr. Djeraouane is now indicating. “Over there are five beehives,” he says. The bees are tended by a retired prop man, explains Mr. Djeraouane, and the floral honey is sold in the gift shop.
The photo shows the oh-so-grand (and, for me, rather desperately over-the-top) splendour of the grand foyer of Palais Garnier, the much-longer-established half of Opera National de Paris, and the text is the opening of an article in the Wall Street Journal which provides a fascinating insider’s view of some lesser-known aspects of the building. Worth a read, especially since it makes a nice advance introduction to next year’s trip.