When I was researching Andre Previn for my doctoral dissertation over ten years ago I was led on a journey to unexpected places. Previn led me to his extended song “The Giraffes Go To Hamburg” and ultimately to the novel Out of Africa, the work from which the text is excerpted. Previn led me to Hollywood and to Mia Farrow and then to Rosemary’s Baby – which led me to Woody Allen Films.
I learned that composer Peter Lieberson died this week and I realize that I never would have listened to his Neruda Songs had it not been for his second wife, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. I fell in love with her interpretation of Bach’s Cantata “Ich habe genug” (BWV 82) a long time ago and even gave the recording as a gift to a good friend whose mother had died because I found it so significant. And loving the texture and timbre of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s voice, I sought out more.
Peter Lieberson met his wife when she starred in his opera Ashoka’s Dream at the Santa Fe Opera in 1997. Tonight I’m thinking that I need to track down a recording of that opera and see where it leads me.