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CDA: Ewing and Spector

My brothers Patrick and Howard both alerted me to the death of American opera singer Maria Ewing, who died at the age of 71. Patrick gets the gold star because he was first. The three of us Ryan boys saw her as Salome in Chicago in 1988. She was my first Salome and wow, she was amazing. My only other experience of her live onstage was in my first visit to the Met, in November of 1994. She was playing the title character in Shostakovich's *Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.* An even more impressive performance. I saw this same production again in 2014. This is what I wrote in my review of that performance:


"Eva Maria Westbroeck had the leading role, and she did a great job, but it gets complicated when I compare her to the singer I saw in the role in 1994, Maria Ewing. Ewing’s voice wasn’t as beautiful as Westbroeck’s, not by a long shot, but she really made the most of what she had. Westbroeck is a powerful presence onstage, so it’s not that she was lacking in that regard, but Ewing delivered the whole package in a way that was more satisfying. Her vocal limitations were fully integrated in her performance."


Here's Ewing in the final moments of *Salome.*

And Richard alerted me to the death of Ronnie Spector, lead singer of The Ronnettes, Her story always focuses on her brief marriage to Phil Spector, but they were only married for four years, could we please talk about the music? "Be My Baby" is one of the greatest songs ever and her lead vocal is essential to its appeal and place in history. Her dishy 1990 memoir had the fabulous title *Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, Or, My Life as a Fabulous Ronette.* I read it when it was new and enjoyed it.

Be my little baby!




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