This enchanting album dates from Julia Schechtman's career in roles such as Rosina (cover), Gilda, Adele, Zerbinetta, when she slipped into a recording studio in Cologne, Germany one day and recorded five of her favorite arias - "just for fun," she said. Yet her Lucia has been described as "poignant and utterly moving." The thrilling opening fanfare of The Daughter of the Regiment, and the impressive fioratura of the happy, tender 'O luce di quest' anima' are good examples of her artistry. And then there's the fun of Adele's 'Laughing Song,' or 'Mein Herr Marquis.' But every piece beguiles. Conductor Sergiu Comissiona described her high D as "the single most beautiful note I have ever heard."
As the youngest singer on the roster of her first European opera house, she was in rehearsal one day for Adina in "L'Elisir d'amore" when the General Manager called her over and said, "Hast du Mut?" ("Do you have guts?") She said yes (a little breathlessly). He explained that the soprano singing the part of the Daughter in Shostakovich's "Nase" had come down sick, and there was no one in Germany who could or would jump in to the role on 3 days' notice. The cast had had months to learn and rehearse it. She said yes, and immediately started to learn the role, all 30 pages of it. No orchestra rehearsal, no full stage rehearsal, just piano help. The evening arrived. The entire ensemble gathered in the wings to watch her pull off the feat. The spotlights blinded her. The orchestra sounded nothing like the rehearsal piano. The prompter hummed the first few bars with her so she could tell where she was in the music, and then she was off and running - so to speak. Afterwards the General Manager sent her a bouquet so large, only the bathtub could hold it, with a terse card: "A remarkable accomplishment. Grateful thanks."
"The single most beautiful note I have ever heard," said conductor Sergiu Comissiona about her high D, who heard her - not on recording but live, and the high D he was referring to belonged to the aria "Je suis Titania" from the opera Mignon.
High Ds abound on this album. Her enormous and beautiful high E which rang through theaters, is not in evidence here but was heard in a variety of other roles which, alas, can be heard only in inferior bootlegged recordings of stage performances, including Zerbinetta and Rosina.
But what those who saw her onstage, and reviewers, repeatedly remarked on were also her warmth, sparkle, and grace of movement. Touching as the innocent and heroic Gilda, she also had an unexpected comedic talent that made audiences laugh out loud at her Susanna or Adele or Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring).
A petite and slender 5'2", she nevertheless managed to fill the stage with her bright presence and sound. She was heard in opera houses in Germany, Holland, and Switzerland.
FROM OPERA REVIEWS:
"A stroke of luck: Julia Schechtman. Great expressivity, vocal presence in all registers, and ability to change completely from role to role, gave her Lucia grandeur and her Adele humor..."
"Her trustworthy musicianship, her masterly execution directed towards lyrical beauty of sound, evoked bravos and ovations."
— Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung
"Julia Schechtman sparkled ['brillierte'] with a glorious voice that even in the top notes radiated clarity and security."
— Westfaelische Rundschau
"The only real star of the performance is the leader of the comedian troup, Zerbinetta, played by Julia Schechtman. She...takes herself lightly, and moves as agilely as she masters her voice... Through her this Ariadne [auf Naxos] gains shining points of light." -De Volkskrant
"Julia Schechtman was...a whirlwind of a Despina, 'wirbelig,' [vivacious] but never nervous..." -OPERA NEWS
"Among the soloists was a surprisingly virtuoso Julia Schechtman as Zerbinetta..."
" Remarkable how Julia Schechtman [Gilda] masters the nuances with surety of intonation as well as vocal loveliness."
"A touching Gilda..." - Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung