Elena Souliotis and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau were both born on May 28. The former came into the world in 1943 while the latter came 18 years earlier in 1925.
Both singers had tremendous careers, the German baritone among the greatest lieder interpreters of all time. Meanwhile, the soprano was one of the leading interpreters of the Italian repertoire. Ultimately they are remembered for very different reasons, but they share a few other things, besides a birthday.
Dieskau sang his share of Italian operas, many of which Souliotis also performed regularly. But their paths only converged for one noted recording – Verdi’s “Macbeth.” The recording is quite famous because it also features Luciano Pavarotti in the opera, as well as Nicolai Ghiaurov and Lamberto Gardelli.
And while the recording is quite controversial, mainly because of these two artists’ interpretations, it remains one of the more recognized there is.
There is also something that is quite unique about both artists – they never sang at the Metropolitan Opera. At a time when all the famous singers in the world came to the stage in New York, these two venerated artists never got their chance to shine.
Souliotis was actually slated to perform there in 1969-70 but then wound up missing out due to strikes that canceled the first few months of the opera season. Fischer-Dieskau’s case is quite strange. He was known to have corresponded with the company about appearing in “Tannhäuser” or Wotan in “Das Rheingold,” it never worked out. He never even appeared in the United States.