Remembering Thomas Stewart: Wotan, Wanderer, Gunther, Sachs, Dutchman, Telramund, Amfortas extraordinaire
Wotan, Wanderer, Gunther - Karajan
Sachs - Kubelik
Telramund - Kubelik
Amfortas - Boulez
Gunther - Böhm
Dutchman - Böhm
Perhaps it does Mr. Stewart injustice to remember him only by his Wagner, because part of what made him such an extraordinary musician was his versatility and success in varied repertoire. Alas, to the extent he will be remembered, it is likely as a Wagnerian. What made him so remarkable in his field was his care and respect for the text, giving it the necessary effort to enunciate and express the words. Assuming that you can follow the German of a Wagner opera (difficult as it can be), you can understand every word of his. In this, he resembled Fischer-Dieskau or Kurt Moll, resisting the epidemic laziness among Wagner singers to ‘assume not to be understood, anyway’. Today there are even fewer exponents of such painstakingly clear diction – Waltraud Meier is the only one that comes to mind.
Tim Page, Thomas Stewart, A Singer and Man As Grand as Opera (Washington Post, September 26)
Allan Kozinn, Thomas Stewart, 78, Baritone on Opera Stage, Dies (New York Times, September 26)
Opera's Thomas Stewart Dies (AP via Washington Post, September 26)
We are being left by a generation of singers: Ghiaurov, Hotter, Nilsson, Schwarzkopf, Varnay all died over the last few years – and although all of them had had enough time to give us all that their active careers could have, they will be missed. Thomas Stewart has now joined them. He, too, will be missed. Our thoughts are with Mrs. Evelyn Lear.