Lebendige Vergangenheit - Kyra Vayne (Vol. 2)

Artist Kyra Vayne
Title Lebendige Vergangenheit - Kyra Vayne (Vol. 2)
Release Date Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Genre Classical > Choro
Composers Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Modest Moussorgsky, Franz Lehar, Johann Sebastian Bach / Charles Gounod, Karol Szymanovski, Sylvian Provost, Richard Wagner, Dmitri Kotchetov, Alexander Gretchaninov, Johann (Sohn) Strauß, Sergey Vasilenko, Hector Berlioz, Giacomo Puccini
Songwriters Kyra Vayne, Kyra Vayne / Colin Tilney, Colin Tilney / Kyra Vayne
Copyright © Preiser Records

Promotion Text

Lebendige Vergangenheit

After the reception afforded the first volume of previously unpublished recordings of the fine soprano, Kyra Vayne, I'm delighted though not entirely surprised that high sales have prompted the issue of a companion collection. For those who have not seen Volume 1, (PREISER 89996), perhaps some biographical details should be provided. Mme. Vayne was born Kyra Knopmuss in Petrograd as it was at that time called, emigrating to England in 1924. By the early 30s, she gradually became aware that she possessed a voice of outstanding quality. As with sopranos like Rosa Ponselle, Kyra first sang popular and folk-based music, (though, naturally, in her case it was of a Russian rather than an Italian bent), progressing through musical comedy to more serious music. Family circumstances did not stretch to continual vocal-training and, very much in the way of such singers as Camso or Chaliapin, her technique had to be picked up, as it were, in instalments. After three months of initial training with Horatio Davies there were two years with Manilo Di Veroli, then a gap of several years before the problems of fusing her vocal registers were sorted out by Mignon Nevada (whose mother Emma was a Marchesi pupil). Although Kyra also pays tribute to help given by the Italian coach, Sr. Ricci, this was in the 1950s, so that it is apparent that a good deal of vocal development was due to her own instinctive intelligence. In any event, at the end of the day, Kyra's technique became something on which she could always rely, demonstrating many of the hallmarks of true bel-canto singing not least of which was the ability to produce an exquisite diminuendo and crescendo on even her highest notes. It was only by the beginning of World War Two, however, that the full operatic potential of her voice began to be appreciated. After a menu of Chu Chin Chow and Hit The Deck etc., the first real opera in which she was featured was Moussorgsky's SOROTCHINSY FAIR, alternating with Oda Slobodskaja, then in her prime. Unlike Rose Ponselle, however, her career was not helped by the onset of war. Indeed, far from it. Nevertheless, by 1945, after lots of varied musical experience, she was given the chance to sing in the English version of DIE FLEDERMAUS (Gay Rosalinda) under the baton of no less a figure than Richard Tauber! Then, after a wide range of work in Europe and concerts shared with the likes of Paolo. Silveri, her next really important break came in 1949. After submitting the very selection that now open Kyra's first PREISER CD as a recorded audition, she was engaged to sing Fevronia in Rimsky-Korsakov's THE INVISIBLE CITY OF KITEZH. For this, she was coached by the legendary Maria Kousnetzova who had created the role in the original production and shared the honours on stage with Georgi Pozemkovsky. During the 1950's, she worked both in Dublin and as a founder member of the Welsh National Opera in such works as LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, LA TOSCA and LA TRAVIATA and toured Gt. Britain extensively in concert with THE ITALIAN OPERA QUARTET. Her performance of 'Ernani Involami' so impressed one distinguished member of the audience that Kyra found herself invited to tea when she was next in Aberdeen, this time singing the title role in LA TOSCA. Mary Garden, for it was she, hailed Kyra as belonging to the Garden Age of singers, giving her her own Tosca ring. Despite poor management, (explaining why she was never offered a recording contract), the early 1950s were busy years for Kyra. She shared a concert with Boris Christoff at the Royal Albert Hall and sang in several London seasons of Italian Opera alongside Tito Gobbi and Ferruccio Tagliavini before spending a considerable time in Italy itself. Among the highlights of this period of her career, her wonderful 1954 performance in Dargomijsky's THE STONE GUEST given in Florence has happily been preserved but sadly, the historic final operatic appearance of Beniarnino Gigli during which Kyra partnered him in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA seems to have been lost. During the late 1950s, Kyra widened her horizons to include Belgium, Scandinavia and even Jugoslavia, adding at least one opera to her repertoire, EVGENl ONEGIN. After the death of her manager, however, her career faltered and by around 1960 she had virtually retired. All was not over, however. Every now and then, the BBC would contact her when, knowing what a quick study she was, something unusual was required. Thus it was, for instance, that she undertook the challenge of Stravinsky's LES NOCES in a broadcast alongside Dame Janet Baker. Astonishingly, when these offers came in she would have only 6 weeks to both learn the music and bring her voice back up to performance standard. Into the story at this point too comes Colin Tilney, then Kyra's regular accompanist, now a distinguished harpsichord soloist and without whose help neither of these CDs of Kyra's voice could ever have been issued. At this time, while researching into various musical archives, he came across the long-forgotten manuscript of Berlioz's scena LA MORT DE CLEOPÄTRE. This work of the youthful composer had been written for Le Prix De Rome (which Berlioz did not win) and, for all we know, had never ever been performed. Certainly, when Kyra sang it as you hear it on this CD, it had not been heard this century. lt is a 20 minute piece of highly emotionally charged and challenging music, demanding in this short time as much singing as is required in many a complete operatic role. Kyra's performance, as you will hear, is a real tour de'force...the bench-mark alongside which all subsequent performances have to be compared. Perhaps among her most impressive work of this period, …