Opera once was an important social instrument—especially in Italy. With Rossini and Verdi people were listening to opera together and having the same catharsis with the same story, the same moral dilemmas. They were holding hands in the darkness. That has gone. Now perhaps they are holding hands watching television. —Luciano Berio
Cat. A symbol of
liberty. The Roman goddess of Liberty was represented as holding a cup
in one hand, a broken sceptre in the other, and with a cat lying at her
feet. No animal is so great an enemy to all constraint as a cat. —Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898)
Brother @lm@viv@, purveyor of musical wonders, offers two selections (un and deux!) from Wagner’s Die Meistersinger featuring Klaus Florian Vogt.
You may recall that Vogt made a splash as Lohengrin at the Met last spring. Sister Sieglinde was entranced, and vilaine fille was struck dumb with rapture. (We note, however, that Dr. B was not convinced.)
Still… If Wagner casts more often featured Mr. Vogt (instead of meatballs-who-bellow-like-stuck-pigs), vilaine fille might venture forth more frequently. Well, that, and if someone firebombed all the Otto Schenk productions…
Vogt and Randy from the Village People. Monsalvat, YMCA: It’s all the same.
Yesterday (13 January) was the 34th birthday of Juan Diego Flórez. He was already moaning about being old back in 2005, but let’s be frank: Tenors do moan. Last vilaine fille heard from Don Juan Diego, he seemed in sparkling form.
According to the indispensable Voce di tenore, Don Juan Diego in coming months sings concerts in Paris and Málaga and Donizetti’s La fille du régiment in Milan before returning to New York for his rescheduled Carnegie Hall recital and more Barbieres at the Met.
The person you would turn to in times of difficulty? My mother, without a doubt.
Your idea of earthly happiness? To be as serene as possible.
Jealousy? It’s a sign of insecurity, foreign to my nature.
Not having devoted more time to people who are no longer with us.
The happiest day of your life?
Still to come, for sure.
And the saddest?
When my grandmother died.
What are you afraid of? Not being sufficiently prepared.
Your favorite city?
Your favorite color? Ultramarine blue.
Your favorite flower? Magnolias.
Your relationship with food? More than excellent, I would say…
Your favorite dish? Ají de gallina, a typical Peruvian dish, rather spicy. It might be called pollo al peperoncino (chicken with chili-peppers).
Your favorite drink? A good glass of wine, without a doubt.
Your happiest memory? My Pesaro début in 1996.
When do you lie? When I don’t wish to hurt someone.
What can you not do without? The good things of life.
The last book you read? Voyage au bout de la nuit by Louis-Ferdinand Céline.
Your favorite pastime?
Your favorite singer?
Alfredo Kraus and Luciano Pavarotti.
Your favorite scent?
The smell of the sea…
A trip you would like to take?
I’d like to know Australia, a fascinating country.
Which past or present historical figure would you like to have been?
The art you love most besides music? I love dance in all its forms.
Your relationship with television?
Good, but with no particular passion.
The last film you saw? Mar adentro by Alejandro Aménabar, a really intense film.
Your favorite actor?
Too many, I couldn’t say.
The most extravagant thing you’ve done?
Sing at the Metropolitan in New York.
If you could change one thing in your appearance, what would it be?
If you won an enormous sum playing the lottery?
I would make large charitable gifts.
A dream you’ve set aside?
The thing you most detest? Hypocrisy.
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
The ability to read quickly.
The most precious gift you’ve received? Love.
How would you like to die?
Peacefully and as old as possible.
To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Those we call minor.
What is your present state of mind?
Good, I’d say.
I don’t have one.
Birthday bonus: A “live” recording of Idreno’s cabaletta from Rossini’s Semiramide. (I believe it’s from Spain, late 2005, though I’m not entirely sure.) Please, if possible, download the file instead of streaming it from this site. vilaine fille is bandwidth-challenged!