Im Oktober 2016 verstarb Linda Kelm, Hochdramatische Sopranistin im Wagner- und Puccini-Fach. Sie sang unter anderem im Ring der Deutschen Oper Berlin, dort auch die Turandot. Im Folgenden ein Nachruf aus der Salt Lake City Tribune, eine Kritik zu ihrem Turandot-debüt in New York und eine Würdigung ihrer Agentur.
Linda Lee Kelm, 71, passed away on October 2, 2016. She was born to Robert Gordon and Hettie Wight Kelm on December 11, 1944. As a young woman she was an active member of Bethel # 1, International Order of Job’s Daughters and later became a Guardian of Bethel # 7. She made many life-long friends through her association with the IOJD, and in her last years was a devoted member of Lybia Temple, Daughters of the Nile, where she served as Queen and many other offices. She was deeply committed to the extended Masonic family in Utah.
A 1963 graduate of Highland High, she attended Westminster College of Salt Lake City, where at age 18, she began her vocal studies with the late Elizabeth Simpson, developing a full, rich contralto voice. She won a scholarship to the Aspen Summer Music Festival where she studied with the late Jennie Tourel. After winning the district round of the Metropolitan Opera auditions in 1974, she moved to New York City to pursue further training and opportunities. She studied voice with Judith Oas and repertoire with Maestro Walter Taussig. Shortly thereafter she made the astounding change from contralto to dramatic soprano.
In 1977, two years after making that change, her professional debut came with Seattle Opera’s Pacific Northwest Festival production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, singing Helmwige and the Third Norn. She repeated these roles each summer until 1983, singing in both the English and the German cycles. In 1985 she was given the lead soprano role of Brϋnnhilde in her first fully staged performance in Seattle. She performed that role for a number of subsequent years. She shared a Grammy© for her recording with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera in 1987, singing in „Die Walkϋre“. In 1988 she appeared as Brϋnnhilde at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
In 1979 she conquered the role considered the most taxing and difficult in the Italian repertory, that of Puccini’s Turandot. She sang with the Wilmington Opera Society in Delaware and inspired one critic to describe her as „a combination of Kirsten Flagstad and Maria Callas.“ She also performed the role with the Seattle Opera and Houston Grand Opera, and a critically acclaimed performance with the San Francisco Opera in 1983. Her debut with New York City Opera was the same year, appearing on the stage of Carnegie Hall.
She sang with the St. Louis Symphony under the direction of Leonard Slatkin in the title role of Salome. She also performed in Miami, Portland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City and many opera houses in Europe. She continued to enchant opera goers worldwide in performances with Deutsche Oper (Berlin), the Umbra Festival in Perugia, Italy, RAI Orchestra of Rome, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In 1982, Opera Guide wrote: „The audience was rapt in the presence of an uncommon force. Linda Kelm is an incredible find, a true phenomenon of nature.“
Linda traveled the world doing what she loved to do and when she came home to Salt Lake City she became a caring companion to her now 95 year old Mother. Her family, friends and fans will truly miss her. (Quelle starksfunerals.com/ saltlakecitytribune.com)
Dazu noch eine Kritik zu ihrem New Yorker Turandot-Debüt 1988 in der New York Times: OF principal interest in Sunday afternoon’s “Turandot“ at the New York City Opera was the debut of Linda Kelm in the title role. Miss Kelm, an American in her mid-30’s from Salt Lake City, sang Puccini’s music with an arresting and powerful soprano. And more than this, her singing managed to communicate Turandot’s grandiose mixture of savagery and passion with real effectiveness. In its top register, Miss Kelm’s voice tended to lose its warmth of timbre and take on a fiercer, more cutting quality, but it was almost uniformly steady and accurate. A generously-sized woman, Miss Kelm ceded the stage to no one during her time on it – either dramatically or vocally. While Christopher Keene’s loud conducting managed usually to obliterate the somewhat strangled sound of Harry Theyard’s Calaf, Miss Kelm penetrated Mr. Keene’s overeager tuttis with confidence. She seems to have the vocal size and the musical temperament for opera’s heavier soprano roles. Sunday’s City Opera audience obviously agreed on Miss Kelm’s talents and greeted her with great enthusiasm at the end.
Und ein Fan schreibt auf facebook: I saw Kelm in a Seattle Ring Cycle in which Leonie Rysanek sang Sieglinde, and later in a concert performance of Fidelio, and she was extraordinarily promising. A Turandot from Fort Worth was more than promising. She sang at the City Opera and one performance of Siegfried at the Met, as well as in Turandot in the parks Health problems curtailed her career, but she did sing some performances that were recorded. – among them a concert t Salome conducted by Leonard Slatkin in St. Louis, and Cherubini’s Demophon in Europe.. I don“t think her Seattle Rings have ever circulated and I think there was once a broadcast from one of the midwestern orchestras (Detroit? Milwaukee?) of the final scene from Siegfried
Linda Kelm: Professional debut in Der Ring des Nibelungen, 1977. Performed in Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung, 1977-1983. Sang title role in Turandot, 1979, Salome, 1984, Fidelio, 1987, Elektra, 1990, Tristan und Isolde, 1991. Performed with: Rai Radio Orchestra (Rome), Residentie Orkest of Holland, Minnesota Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Opera Orchestra New York, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Denver Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Seattle Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Long Island Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Deutsche Oper/Berlin, Associaciones Bilbania de Amigos de Opera-Bilbao, Spain, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Mexico City Opera, Kentucky Opera, Utah Opera, Portland Opera, Greater Miami Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, England, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Bordeaux-Aquitaine, Cincinnati Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony of the New World, Philippine Youth Symphony Orchestra, Spokane Opera. Sang role of Brünnhilde, Seattle Wagner Festival, 1986, 87. Appeared in major opera houses throughout the world. Metropolitan Opera debut Brünnhilde in Siegfried, 1988. Avery Fisher Hall debut, 1987. Carnegie Hall debut, 1988, Concertgebouw debut, 1983, Royal Festival Hall debut, 1989, May Festival debut, 1986. Recording debut Helmwige in Deutsche Gramophon, Die Walküre Metropolitan Opera, 1988 (Grammy award). (Foto oben: Künstlerpostkarte Linda Kelm mit Widmung an Sebastian Siercke – Dank an ihn für die Genehmigung zur VerwendungIGM Artists/ youtube/ OBA)