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I saw her do the role of Abigaille in "Nabucco". Abigaille is an extraordinary role (and a dangerous one if it's done before the singer is ready): one has to have vocal cords of steel and a will of iron and other metallic metaphors as well - she's a princess and she makes her play for power and pulls it off based on not much more than having more front than Myer. Batshit insane of course, as all the best roles are. And this roly-poly woman came out on stage and was Abigaille and left me breathless.

And then I got to stand behind her in the Royal Albert Hall (i was in the big choir) and hear her hang shimmering pianissimo notes in the air. Extraordinary.

Sadly, just as she was moving into all the fantabulous big big roles in her 60s (she is 63 in the performance below) she got cancer and died.

It is, as Terry Pratchett would put it, an EMBUGGERANCE. But at least she could do this (and fucking NAIL IT) and at least we still have it.  This is Isolde's Liebestod (deathsong), which I thought sadly appropriate.

Thank you, Miss Connell.

Oh - just to show the the joy she had in singing (can you spot it? *grin*) and the endless generosity of sound that I adored, here she is giving Rachmaninoff what-for in 2010:



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