Sunday, 17 December 2006

Fair dos

Just a reminder, with everything that's gone on, this guy is still one of the greatest tenors in the world.

From a recording session 12 years ago:

The melodrama continues

The reaction of most people to the follow-up story below (at least, the first part about Alagna's 'final' performance outside La Scala) has been one of disbelief, or life imitating art gone too far. Am I alone in thinking that this was a beautiful and poetic gesture? A bit OTT perhaps (OK, a LOT OTT...) but this could have been a memorable scene from an opera:

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Alagna's exit

I suppose it was inevitable that I'd end up posting about Roberto Alagna's early exit at La Scala on my blog. If you haven't heard what happened, you can read all about it here:

Initially, the rumour was that a young British female musician named after a Victorian moving image device was taking photos of the rehearsal on her mobile and in so doing had enraged the French tenor to the point where he stormed off, but it turns out that he was booed by the loggionisti instead.

I'm very much of two minds about this. I can only imagine how it must have felt to have been booed after singing Celeste Aida (and, to be fair, he is one of the finest tenors in the world). I'm very fortunate never to have been booed or had a bad review, but that's mainly because, as a young bass-baritone playing medium sized / relatively insignificant characters, my performances rarely get mentioned in reviews at all... ;-)

On the other hand, if I had been one of the audience members who had paid 2,500 Euros for a ticket, I'd have been pissed-off too.

I can see both sides of the story, and for some reason my instinct is to side with the artist. I can't imagine storming off in the way that he did, but then I've never been in a situation where I was under anywhere near as much pressure as he must have been, singing a tenor lead at La Scala in front of (allegedly) one of the most demanding audiences in the world.

Rather than making a judgement outright, I'm going to be open-minded (or, to put it another way, a bit of a coward) and sit on the fence on this one, choosing instead to ask what other people think. Any thoughts?

Friday, 8 December 2006

On a lighter note... occured to me today that I've never seen an owl fly, except in cartoons, which doesn't count. Maybe they do only fly in cartoons??

Can anyone out there shed any light on this? Has anyone else had a sudden realisation of never having witnessed something seemingly ordinary?*

*with an obvious nod to Eddie Izzard, who claims never to have seen anyone slipping on a banana skin. "I've heard stories... ohhh yes. That's propaganda..."

My first thought

People who know me know that I love singing more than anything in the world. Besides the concert work that I do, I've been enthusiastically learning and performing arias by Mozart, Donizetti, Bellini and others for some years now. I recently read a quote from the British baritone Simon Keenlyside, who is, in my opinion, one of the greatest singers around at the moment. In his contribution to the age-old debate about how soon is too soon to sing operatic repertoire, he describes the dangers of performing opera in your early-to-mid-twenties as: "a Faustian pact you pay for later." I like to think that I look after my voice reasonably well and have a good technique, but the reality is that I have no idea whether or not the repertoire I'm singing now, particularly some of the heavier Donizetti bel canto baritone stuff, will cause me vocal problems later. The thing is, even if it does, am I alone in thinking that it's worth making "the pact"?

My second blog

Having been cruelly ejected from the University of Warwick blogging community upon graduating (some time ago now!) and finding myself missing the routine of recording my thoughts, rants and things that make me laugh in writing, I've returned...