Claude Debussy: “I need something to love”

The Scottish operatic soprano Mary Garden, who sung the part of “Mélisande” in the original production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande in 1902, was to later write about the composer, “I honestly don’t know if Debussy ever loved anybody really. [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | March 15th, 2018
Erich Korngold and Luzi Sonnenthal A Triumph of Love

Luise von Sonnenthal (1900-1962) was born into a dynasty of ennobled actors. Her grandfather Adolf Ritter von Sonnenthal was not only Vienna’s most popular classical actor and matinee idol at the Burgtheater, he was also one of the first Jewish [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | November 16th, 2017
Lure of the Siren Carl Maria von Weber and Gretchen Lang

The soprano Margarethe Bernbrunn, née Lang, who frequently performed under the stage name “Adalbert Prix,” was described in the following terms. “Gretchen possessed a little plump seductive form, was about twenty years of age, and, in addition to her undoubted [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 14th, 2017
Love on a cosmic scale Olivier Messiaen, Claire Delbos and Yvonne Loriod

Claire Delbos was the daughter of a Sorbonne professor, a member of the prominent new music society “La Spirale,” and an accomplished violinist and composer. Predictably, she studied at the Paris Conservatory and quickly crossed paths with another highly talented [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 21st, 2017
Tango Passion II Astor Piazzolla and Amelita Baltar

With his marriage to Dedé Wolff in serious trouble, Astor Piazzolla was finding solace in the arms of other women. “I am now seeing a youngish lass, divine,” he told a friend. The affair with the “youngish lass” was short-lived [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | July 20th, 2017
Tango Passion I Astor Piazzolla and Dedé Wolff

Odetta Maria Wolff, affectionately known as Dedé, first laid eyes on Astor Piazzolla at a tea party in September 1940. She was not impressed at all, and found him “a rather ugly boy, round faced, who paid more attention to [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | July 16th, 2017
An arranged and happy marriage Claudio Monteverdi and Claudia Cattaneo

Claudio Monteverdi was a precocious musical talent who published his first collection of madrigals at age 15. Ambitious and highly confident he was hired as a singer and instrumentalist by Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua in 1590. Mantua and nearby [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | May 24th, 2017
“Sex is more fun than cars but cars refuel quicker than men” Germaine Tailleferre and Ralph Waldo Emerson Barton

It started like a fairy tale, as it often does. In 1925, she was the hottest French musical ticket in New York City. Germaine Tailleferre had just arrived on a huge wave of personal and artistic success stemming from her [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | April 9th, 2017