I was in a party yesterday. Some people I was meeting for the first time asked me what I do for a living. I replied with a description of my "day job" but added - you know, I have a sort of second career although it's not for profit; I've been getting into opera journalism.
People then were curious to know more and I told them about Opera Lively and some of the journalistic content we've been publishing. They asked if we had interviewed any famous people.
I said, "as a matter of fact, yes, our various staff members have had access to some rather big names in opera and we've published interviews with them; some short, some long."
Who? - they asked.
I said - Jonas Kaufmann, Juan Diego Florez, Anna Netrebko, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Sir Thomas Allen, Iain Paterson...
Blank looks. Short silence. A guy says - oh, these I don't know. You haven't interviewed the most famous one of them all.
Me - And that would be?
Guy - Andrea Bocelli.
Me, shocked (I should have seen it coming - but since this was a gathering of rather educated professionals, I was hoping for something like Renee Fleming or Placido Domingo or at least Pavarotti if the guy didn't know that he's dead) - Erm... that one isn't an opera singer. He sings opera arias on microphone, and not very well.
Guy - Get out of here! He's the best!!!
Me - Why so?
Guy - Because I paid 400 bucks to see one of his shows. He's gotta be the best if he can command this kind of ticket price.
Me - You know, the best seats at the Metropolitan Opera House to see some of the people I've named cost $1,000 and up...
Guy - Really? What a rip-off! Why would someone pay $1,000 to see some unknown person if they can pay $400 to see the best one, Bocelli?
Me - Erm... because the ones I mentioned are better singers, and the real thing, able to sing a 3-hour opera on stage without amplification?
More blank looks. I realize that I am on the edge of being considered a weirdo and a snob. So I add:
OK, whatever, people like what they like, that's fine. By the way, who do you all think will win the Super Bowl, the Giants or the Patriots?