Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thank you, Jerry

...and thanks to each of you wonderful people who wrote with your own tributes to him. I was profoundly moved to read them, and I'm sure others reading this blog will have the same response.

Those of us who suffered with/from depression know what havoc this can wreak on our lives. As a friend said to me last night, we must support each other so that we never fall into that deep pit of despair ourselves.

There are artists the memory of whose tragic lives often threatens to take precedence over their artistry: Judy Garland, Piaf, Billie Holiday, Callas, and others. And those who died nobly but too young are not exempt from these either: Ferrier, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, and Lipatti, among others. And those others who also ended their lives by their own hands: Saramae Endich, Marie Collier, and Susannah McCorkle, about whom I was just writing the other day. And yet in the end, one wants these people to be remembered for their supreme and unique artistry. Jerry represents the very best among his generation of tenors and I hope he will always be remembered this way.

I was just writing to another friend this morning about some of my favorite memories of Jerry. One day he and I took a U-Haul out to Jersey to pick up some furniture that a friend of ours was buying from another friend who was moving away. We had the most rollicking good time. I remember he backed the van into the mailbox as he was maneuvering onto the driveway. Loading up the van was somehow uproariously funny as well. And afterward, we sat at the GWB for ages waiting for the backup, and just talked and talked about anything and everything.

I don't quite have the heart to post a clip of his singing right now, but I have Lipatti's performance of the Schubert G-flat impromptu that I will put here instead. This is from his last recital in Besançon, 16 September 1950. Leukemia felled him less than three months later. Here is an almost desperate lyricism, the summoning of waning strength to share one last moment of Schubert's poetry. I think it's a fitting tribute to Jerry, and to all those other artists whom we have lost before their time.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wonderful pieces you have written about Mr Hadley. I am just a huge fan of his and cannot tell you how saddened I am about his passing. He has left a wonderful musical legacy behind him, and will never be forgotten by those of us who admired him. I am sickened by some of the venom that is now being posted on the internet about him and say bless you for your dignified writings. Depression is an insidious illness and those of us who do not suffer from it cannot always understand it - however that does not give anyone the right to cast stones. Mr Hadley was a wonderful tenor who could bring tears of joy to your eyes and shivers down your spine. The opera and operetta world is a poorer place today.

July 21, 2007 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Counterleben said...

Dear Linda,

Thanks for your comment. I watched Jerry singing Candide on youtube the other day and found it so profoundly moving. I heard it said that all were so sick with the flu they barely got through it. Yet he, as always, was a consummate professional. I have avoided reading comments on the internet about him. I was irritated by so many of the obits that spoke of him as a has-been. It was precisely this attitude that dragged him down so much... 'oh, our Great White Hope of tenors; whatever happened to him?' I can tell you that it was not so much that his voice deserted him (it sounded pretty great when he worked with me) it was his confidence and therefore his joy of singing that he had lost sight of. Bless you for your kind thoughts.

July 21, 2007 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger paal said...

Good point.

July 22, 2007 at 10:50 PM  
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