Linz. Hat man im Linzer Landestheater bei einer Oper jemals so viel applaudiert? Kaum! Allerdings hatte man auch kaum jemals Gelegenheit, so großartige Sänger in einer Wagner Oper zu erleben wie bei der heurigen Ring.
Has the Linz Land Theater ever heard so much applause? Hardly! Especially since we have never had the opportunity to experience such magnificent singers as in this current Wagner Ring Cycle.
"Das bleibende Erlebnis des Abends aber war ein Siegfried, wie man sich ihn großartiger nicht mehr vorstellen kann. Claude Heater übertraf seine Leistung als Siegmund noch bei weitem und hielt mit fast unerschöpflcher Reserve sich steigernd die vier Stunden glänzend durch."
The lasting impression of the evening was Siegfried that one cannot imagine to be any greater than what we have seen. Claude Heater exceeded his performance as Siegmund and remained with seemingly inexhaustible reserves that he increased in his four hours with brilliance to the finish.
"Je stärker er zu singen hatte, desto shöner strahlte sein wunderbares Organ. Mit makelloser Intonation, deutlicher Ausprache und großartigem Ausdruck verlieh er der gefüchteten Partie die Gestalt eines richtigen leuchtenden Helden."
As the role got more difficult, the more beautiful his wonderful voice rang out. With precise intonation and clear diction with magnificence interpretation he commanded the most feared role like a true glorious hero.
"Sein blendendes, Jugendfrisches Aussehen (wie wenn der Bamberger Reiter herabgestiegen wäre) und sein natürliches Spiel, das ganz gefangennahm und einen besonders ansprechenden Gegensatz zur stillisierten Bühne bot, machten den unvergesslichen Eindruck vollkommen."
His astonishing fresh young appearance (like Bamberg Knight had arrived) and his natural acting, the whole experience was a great contrast to the stylized Stage and made this an unforgettable evening perfect!
The Linz Opera House like many others has a ‘budget’ for guest performers for each season. In Linz, Austria, they divide this between 7 or 8 guests. After this Ring Cycle they offered Claude the whole amount to open the following season as Otello with a total of 27 performances and Claude doing the staging. Following his Tristan at the Liceo in Barcelona at his villa in Spain Claude did some extensive painting ending up with lead poisoning before he was scheduled to return to Linz for Otello, the Season opener, but his throat was all irritated and he had to be replaced. This was such a disappointment for Claude that he just quit his career with a full calendar for the next 3 years! He did recover enough to sing his last Fidelio in Venice, but did so with a temperature of 102 degrees.
When the world famous Metropolitan Opera Stage Director, Herbert Graf chose to do Wagner’s Ring in Geneva, Switzerland he wanted Claude for Siegfried. He had heard about the fight in the auditorium after Claude’s Siegfried in Götterdämmerung with Lorin Maazel in Berlin, he wanted to hear Claude’s Siegfried for himself so he came to France to hear Claude’s young Siegfried and later introduced himself in Claude’s dressing room after the performance saying: “In my 35 years of staging at the Metropolitan Opera, I have never seen or heard a better Siegfried than you. All of them saved their voices in the second act to hold their own with a fresh Brunnhilde, you didn’t, and finished with a very strong third act! There is no one singing Siegfried today that can touch you! I want to engage you for my Ring Cycle for next year.”
Claude achieved records in his short career. In Geneva when he finished his opening duet with Brunnhilde, as he left the stage for his Rhein Journey he heard again the scene applause that never happens in Wagner for applause while the orchestra continues. When the Brunnhilde came off stage, she showed her amazement to Claude who had to tell her that it happened in each performance in Berlin when he sang it with Maestro Maazel.