Stories of Survival: Angele Dubeau and Elaine Stritch
The old saying goes, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Angele Dubeau is living proof. An acclaimed violinist and leader of the ensemble La Pieta, Dubeau's story is both hopeful and enlightening.
On the webpage highlighting her new Analekta Records release, Blanc, Angele says, "BLANC like purity and serenity. BLANC for luminous music that can bring interior peace through its strength and powerful evocation. Fully charged emotions that reflect the strange solitude found in illness. After months of battle against breast cancer, music has been my focal point, it has brought me comfort, tranquility and sometimes, an essential escape. This music is of Brubeck, Dompierre, Golijov, Hisaishi, Morricone, Mozetich, Munsey, O’Connor, Phillips, Sakamoto, Schyman and Stevens. A music without artifice, real and filled with hope. This album tells my story, the story of a woman like many others who had to fight against illness and, serenely, came out of it stronger."
A favorite guest of Crossover, Angele returns to the show and speaks with Jill about the struggle through despair, loneliness, and eventual triumph. We'll also hear some of the music from her new CD.
Another great woman who survived in her own way died last week. The wonderfully salty, acerbic, witty, brassy actress and singer Elaine Stritch was 89 when she passed away in her sleep July 17th, 2014. Stritch made her stage debut in 1944 and appeared in Bus Stop, Sail Away, Wonderful Town, Show Boat, Mame, Company, and many, many other Broadway shows. She also did extensive work in radio, TV and film. Throughout it all, Stritch was known for her style as a brash and incorrigible scene-stealer with a razor-sharp wit. Her most recent roles were as Alec Baldwin's mother in 30 Rock, and in the film self-portrait Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me.
A self-described "broad," who once called herself a "Catholic, diabetic, alcoholic pain in the ass," Stritch took her first drink at age 14. In her early stage years, she had problems with stage fright and her own insecurities, and used alcohol to help her cope. When Stritch's husband of nine years, the English actor John Bay, died in 1982, her drinking worsened to the point that she finally sought help. With the assistance of Alcoholics Anonymous, Stritch spent two decades of her life in sobriety, though at her last performance in 2013, she shocked the audience by telling them she'd resumed drinking.
Over the years, she'd also been stricken with diabetes, and wrote two books about dealing with the disease.
In 2003, Stritch brought her one-woman act, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, to the Academy of Music. Jill had the chance to speak with Stritch just before the show opened.
Crossover, with Jill Pasternak, airs Saturday morning at 11:30 am on WRTI-FM, with an encore Friday evening at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2. Both airings are available on the All-Classical stream at wrti.org.