|Distinguished soprano Marie
McLaughlin has enjoyed more than three decades of performance at the highest
international level. Over that time, she has collaborated with some of
the world’s greatest conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, Bernard Haitink, Sir Antonio Pappano
as well as such legends as the late Leonard Bernstein and Giuseppe Sinopoli. A wide
repertoire of core roles took McLaughlin around the world at an early
age including to the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Opéra
National de Paris, and the Salzburg and Glyndebourne Festivals. Her substantial
discography includes many of those roles.
-- Links in this box, and throughout this webpage, refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website. BD
Marie McLaughlin at Lyric Opera of Chicago
1987-88 - Così fan tutte (Despina) with TeKanawa, Howells, Hadley, Titus, Nolen; Pritchard, Ponnelle, Schuler
1988-89 - Don Giovanni (Zerlina) with Ramey, Vaness, Mattila, Winbergh, Desderi, Macurdy, Cowan; Bychkov, Ponnelle, Schuler
1991-92 - Marriage of Figaro (Susanna) with Ramey, Lott, Mentzer, Shimell, Loup, Palmer, Benelli, Kraus, Futral (Barbarina); Davis, Hall, Schuler
|[Here are a few brief sections from a long
essay by Graham Johnson, which he wrote when the entire series was being
re-issued in 2005.]
It took Franz Schubert eighteen years (1810–1828) to write his lieder. It has taken Hyperion Records exactly the same amount of time (1987–2005) to record all the songs, to issue them on thirty-seven separate discs, with over sixty solo singers.
The Hyperion Schubert Edition came into being because of the daring and initiative of the late Ted Perry, founder of the label that contains his own name in its second and third syllables. In the middle to late 1980s it was a particular joy to be caught up in the orbit of Ted’s confidence, his optimism and generosity of spirit, and his unswerving belief in his chosen artists. Although he was a businessman, he trusted his own ears more than the critics’, and he was not afraid to listen to his heart. At that happy time a favourable climate in the classical music industry provided strong winds in the sails of his enterprise.
At this time the horizons and the aspirations of the series were still local. Ted saw it as part of Hyperion’s brief to record fine British artists who had been unaccountably passed over by the bigger companies. It was impossible for me to plan out the allocation of songs for this series far in advance. Hyperion could not engage singers years ahead – if we had had the clout of a great opera house it would have been different – but artists who were available would usually slip three days of recording into their timetable fairly late in the day, and in the absence of operatic or orchestral engagements. Who were to be my next singers? I did not really know, yet all the programmes had to be tailor-made with an actual voice and personality in mind. To avoid a pile-up at the end, it was a general rule never to allow any one singer too many well known songs. After more than a decade of Songmakers’ Almanac programmes, many of my closer colleagues trusted me to provide them with suitable material.
We continued on the basis of two to three recordings a year, [and began to includ singers from abroad]. This fitted Ted’s idea of how many new Schubert discs from Hyperion the record-buying public could cope with. There was still the ambition to finish by 1997, Schubert’s bicentenary, which then seemed a long time ahead; some simple arithmetic at the time might have made us more realistic.
Right at the end of 1990 Marie McLaughlin came into the studio for a mixture of songs, both sacred and suggestive (Volume 13). The settings from Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake gave the programme an appropriately Scottish accent. These performances remain among my personal favourites of the series. When at the end of the sessions the beautiful (and happily married) Marie whispered that she needed a lift home (the microphone was still ‘live’), a phalanx of admirers materialized in seconds, competitively brandishing their car keys.
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By the way, in addition to Ms. McLaughlin, I have interviewed several of the other singers who participated in this Hyperion Schubert Edition. These include Sir Thomas Allen, Dame Anne Murray, Arleen Augér, Brigitte Fassbaender, Elisabeth Connell, Dame Margaret Price, Elly Ameling, Ian Bostridge, Christine Schäfer, Thomas Hampson, Dame Felicity Lott, Peter Schreier, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Edith Mathis, Marjana Lipovšek, Gerald Finley, and Michael Schade. (Names which are not links have not been transcribed as yet.) BD
Sir Alexander Drummond Gibson CBE FRSE FRCM FRSA (11 February 1926 – 14 January 1995) was a Scottish conductor and opera intendant. He was also well known for his service to the BBC, and his achievements during his reign as the longest serving principal conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in which the orchestra was awarded its Royal Patronage.
Gibson was educated at Dalziel High School. He excelled at the piano and organ, and at 18 became the organist at Hillhead Congregational Church, Glasgow, while studying music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. In 1943 he matriculated at the University of Glasgow to study Music and English. After his first year, however, the war interrupted his studies and he served with the Royal Signals Band until 1948 when he took up a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London. After that, he studied at the Mozarteum, Salzburg under Igor Markevitch, and under Paul Van Kempen at the Accademia Chigiana, Siena.
He was Assistant Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra 1952–54, and conducted two productions for the amateur Glasgow Grand Opera Society in 1954. At the time of his appointment in 1957 as musical director of Sadler's Wells, he was the youngest ever to have taken that position.
Returning to Glasgow, in 1959 he became the first Scottish principal conductor and artistic director of the Scottish National Orchestra, a post he held until 1984, to date longer than any other conductor. Under his leadership the orchestra built an international reputation through recordings and foreign tours, and appeared regularly in the SNO Proms in Glasgow, in Edinburgh International Festival, where he also created the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, and in London at The Proms.Gibson created and launched Scottish Opera in 1962 and was its music director until 1986, when he was succeeded by John Mauceri. Through Gibson's artistic achievements, the Theatre Royal, Glasgow was bought from Scottish Television and transformed in 1975 to be the first national opera house in Scotland, and the home theatre of Scottish Opera and of Scottish Ballet, and from 1980 the Scottish Theatre Company. In 1987, Gibson was appointed conductor laureate of Scottish Opera and held this title for the remainder of his life. From 1981 to 1983 he was also principal guest conductor of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He was principal conductor of the Guildford Philharmonic. During his career he made guest appearances with all the major British orchestras and extensively throughout Europe, Australia, the Americas, Hong Kong and Japan.
His many awards include two Grand Prix International de l’Academie Charles Cros Awards, the Sibelius Medal in 1978, and honorary doctorates from Aberdeen, Glasgow, Newcastle, Stirling, York and the Open universities. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1967, was created a Knight Bachelor in 1977 and became president of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where in his memory, the Alexander Gibson School of Opera was opened in 1998. It is the first purpose-built opera school in Great Britain.
Gibson had a particular affinity for Scandinavian music, particularly Jean Sibelius, whose work he recorded several times, and Carl Nielsen. He was awarded Finland's Sibelius Medal in recognition of his distinguished service to the composer's music. He was strongly committed to contemporary music and in 1961 he founded a new music festival in Glasgow originally called Musica Viva, later Musica Nova Festival, Glasgow. Among the many important premieres he conducted there was the first British performance of Gruppen by Karlheinz Stockhausen, in 1961. He was also a constant advocate of new music by Scottish composers. In the opera house he was regarded as a particularly fine interpreter of Mozart and Wagner, conducting the complete Ring des Nibelungen with Scottish Opera in 1971. He was equally at home in the Italian repertoire. In 1969 he conducted a memorable Scottish Opera production of Les Troyens by Berlioz – the first ever complete performance of both parts of the opera in one evening.Gibson was the recipient of the 1970 St Mungo Prize, awarded to the individual who has done most in the previous three years to improve and promote the city of Glasgow. In the Theatre Royal, Glasgow there is a lofty portrait of him in the orchestra pit perched on a stool, painted by David Donaldson, the Queen's Limner in Scotland, and a bust of him as conductor by the sculptor Archie Forrest. A street in his home town of Motherwell, is named Alexander Gibson Way in his honour.
© 1991 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on October 17, 1991. Portions were broadcast on WNIB in 1994 and 1999. This transcription was made in 2019, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.