Thread: Opera Small Talk

          
   
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  1. #841
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Never. I didn't even know it happened when I used to go regularly in London. But I wouldn't anyway, I wouldn't know what to say, and would feel awkward and intrusive.
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Never. I didn't even know it happened when I used to go regularly in London. But I wouldn't anyway, I wouldn't know what to say, and would feel awkward and intrusive.
    Hey, you did go with us to see Anna Caterina Antonacci backstage. Wasn't it fun?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    To be honest, even though she was lovely, I felt awkward and uncomfortable - do you remember me saying I didn't mind not going, but then you were worried because you had booked all of us to visit her and didn't want to change the numbers?

    You know I think it's partly because of kind of the person I am - I wouldn't want to interact with fans after a demanding performance, and so I find it hard to believe others would. But of course I know some singers really enjoy the contact - for example I think Joseph Calleja is a very friendly guy. But I'd be more of a Dima or René Pape, making my escape through another door.

    But the other thing is, that I'm quite satisfied with just the performance aspect of singers. I don't need to interact with them, I just want to listen and watch when they do their professional thing.
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    To be honest, even though she was lovely, I felt awkward and uncomfortable - do you remember me saying I didn't mind not going, but then you were worried because you had booked all of us to visit her and didn't want to change the numbers?

    You know I think it's partly because of kind of the person I am - I wouldn't want to interact with fans after a demanding performance, and so I find it hard to believe others would. But of course I know some singers really enjoy the contact - for example I think Joseph Calleja is a very friendly guy. But I'd be more of a Dima or René Pape, making my escape through another door.

    But the other thing is, that I'm quite satisfied with just the performance aspect of singers. I don't need to interact with them, I just want to listen and watch when they do their professional thing.
    Well, by now, I've interviewed 98 singers/conductors/composers/stage directors/scholars (I wonder who will be number 100 ).

    As you know, by now I hate the transcribing part. It's too much work and very tiresome and it burns me out to the point that I've slowed down and dramatically decreased the number of interview requests I send out - haven't sent one out for a while).

    But meeting them and interacting with them is fascinating. While it is variable and some are not as interesting, most are very intelligent and charming, and have a genuine passion for what they do. Most of the time I interview them before I see them on stage, and then I go watch the performance, and then I meet them backstage. I'll tell you, it adds a lot to the enjoyment. It creates a complicity; I start rooting for them and feeling paternalistic and protective of them. It did change a lot my appreciation of opera (for the better) after I started this journalistic activity, and they teach me stuff as well, since many of them perceive their characters in very original and insightful ways.

    See, for someone to make of his/her life a committed career of interpreting this beautiful art form, it usually means that the person is sensitive, and in tune with not only the musicality, but also the profound human dimension of opera, the strong feelings that it depicts and that are the core of human nature. The people who go into this art form are often very interesting. So, when they feel that the person talking to them shares this passion with them, the relationship gets very mutually rewarding.

    Lately my wife has been willing to come with me to meet the artists, and she was sort of surprised with how friendly they were with me, after the interviews (she said, "wow, these people do seem to like you a lot!"). For example, I had met Piotr Beczala before for a long in-person interview, and then I met him again and this time I brought my wife with me. He was clearly very pleased to see me again, gave me a bear hug, introduced his wife to mine, and all. Saimir Pirgu was another one who seemed very excited to meet me after our friendly interview, and he introduced his parents to my wife, we all had a wonderful time talking to them via interpreter (his agent) about how proud they were of their son. I met Diana Damrau's baby, Lisette Oropesa's young and loving husband, and so forth. Jay Hunter Morry's lovely wife Meg wrote me a personal letter to thank me for what, in her words, I've done for her family.

    It's a lot of fun. We get to feel part of the art form. This journalistic activity changed my stance from spectator to participant.

    You know, this is how human beings are. When you get close to them and personable, they respond in kind, and show their human dimension. You are thinking of the esoteric dimension of these people as ethereal artists. They are actually... people. Human beings. Regular people.

    While during the first few interviews I used to be nervous and awkward, now I'm very natural and it became second nature. (It also became so tiresome that I almost quit - but I've been recharging, and will restart). So, you know, you only get to be awkward for a while. Soon enough you see that these artists are just... people. Interesting people. Charming people. And most of them like to be with their fans and the public. You know, you don't usually go into the theatrical arts if you hate the public. They know that by embracing this career, they become public figures, and become the targets of public appreciation and idolatry. An artist who hates his/her public is in the wrong business, I think. I barely understand what is wrong with Dmitri. Probably, he doesn't know what he is missing.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); July 6th, 2013 at 07:04 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  6. #845
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    It's great that you've developed such a rapport with so many great artists, Alma!

    I can understand how transcription would be a chore (I certainly wouldn't want the task). Would it be worthwhile for you to go on Craigslist and hire someone to do it for you? It would be yet another expense, but if it gave you more time for other things and kept you from burning out, it might well be worth it--while providing a little extra part-time income for some struggling typist.

  7. #846
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    I can see how what you are doing is fun, Alma. But it is different from stage-dooring.

    All I'm saying is that I'm quite happy after a performance to go home with that performance in my head, re-living it and focusing on that. I wouldn't feel comfortable approaching the artist after, and wouldn't get anything out of it.
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    It's great that you've developed such a rapport with so many great artists, Alma!

    I can understand how transcription would be a chore (I certainly wouldn't want the task). Would it be worthwhile for you to go on Craigslist and hire someone to do it for you? It would be yet another expense, but if it gave you more time for other things and kept you from burning out, it might well be worth it--while providing a little extra part-time income for some struggling typist.
    Amfortas, this is highly specialized work. Singers often quote names of operas, conductors, other singers, their former voice teachers, names of arias, etc., often in foreign languages, and a regular typist would be puzzled. The one time I tried to hire someone to do this, the time it took me to correct the blunders was longer than the time that it would have taken me to do it on my own. Basically I'd be paying for a flawed product that wouldn't save me any time.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    A friend of my wife and I runs a vodka distributor and recently held an event in Poland where he had some entertainment, including someone he posed with that we here on OL know!

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    I'm afraid to ask our friend how much this event set him back (and yes, yes, Alma, I know I should have asked him to get a list of interview questions from us first! )

    [Yay! My 400th post! ]
    Last edited by tyroneslothrop; July 6th, 2013 at 11:06 PM.
    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

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  11. #849
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyroneslothrop View Post
    A friend of my wife and I runs a vodka distributor and recently held an event in Poland where he had some entertainment, including someone he posed with that we here on OL know!

    Name:  Screen Shot 2013-07-06 at 6.52.43 PM.jpg
Views: 61
Size:  14.7 KB

    I'm afraid to ask our friend how much this event set him back (and yes, yes, Alma, I know I should have asked him to get a list of interview questions from us first! )

    [Yay! My 400th post! ]
    You know, if through common friends you get Dmitri to grant us an interview, my respect for you which is already considerable will go off the roof. Dmitri only gives interviews to the likes of Opera News Magazine and The New York Times. I haven''t even tried because I know of his reputation. But if there is someone who knows him and can intermediate a contact, it would be wonderful. Is your friend who is with him in the picture just an acquaintance and he just happened to ask Dmitri for a picture (hey, in a Vodka event maybe Dmitri's guard was lower), or is he truly one of his friends?

    Another possibility is that since you speak fluent Russian and you're now a member of our staff, maybe if you contact him *in Russian* he will be more sympathetic to the idea. I've done this in the case of Maestro Daniele Gatti who is also difficult to pin down for an interview - I addressed him and his staff in Italian, appealed to our common roots, and it worked!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  12. #850
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    You know, if through common friends you get Dmitri to grant us an interview, my respect for you which is already considerable will go off the roof. Dmitri only gives interviews to the likes of Opera News Magazine and The New York Times. I haven''t even tried because I know of his reputation. But if there is someone who knows him and can intermediate a contact, it would be wonderful. Is your friend who is with him in the picture just an acquaintance and he just happened to ask Dmitri for a picture (hey, in a Vodka event maybe Dmitri's guard was lower), or is he truly one of his friends?
    Our friend hired Dmitri for his Poland event--and he sang various operatic arias at a private recital. I have to ask him if he has a recording of the entire thing. It wasn't Dmitri only of course. Since Poland is still the Eastern half of Europe, one can't conduct business by inviting male entertainment only! He had some female opera singers as well. I have to ask him who he had come to his event.

    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Another possibility is that since you speak fluent Russian and you're now a member of our staff, maybe if you contact him *in Russian* he will be more sympathetic to the idea. I've done this in the case of Maestro Daniele Gatti who is also difficult to pin down for an interview - I addressed him and his staff in Italian, appealed to our common roots, and it worked!
    My wife knows someone who is a personal friend of Dmitri. I will check with her and see if she is able to get her friend to ask him for an interview. My wife could probably do an interview herself of him in Russian. She could probably even get him to agree. But even she'd need to go through her friend. So that is probably the first stop.
    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

  13. #851
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyroneslothrop View Post
    Our friend hired Dmitri for his Poland event--and he sang various operatic arias at a private recital. I have to ask him if he has a recording of the entire thing. It wasn't Dmitri only of course. Since Poland is still the Eastern half of Europe, one can't conduct business by inviting male entertainment only! He had some female opera singers as well. I have to ask him who he had come to his event.
    Hey, if your friend is giving Dmitri work, a better reason for Dmitri to listen to him, to want to be on his good side and get more work in the future.

    My wife knows someone who is a personal friend of Dmitri. I will check with her and see if she is able to get her friend to ask him for an interview. My wife could probably do an interview herself of him in Russian. She could probably even get him to agree. But even she'd need to go through her friend. So that is probably the first stop.
    This would work. We'd brainstorm for questions (MAuer is spectacular for this) and would send your wife the questions in English, she'd translate them into Russian and would conduct the interview. Please do explore these possibilities and keep us informed in case your friend or your wife get him to agree.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  14. #852
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Hey, if your friend is giving Dmitri work, a better reason for Dmitri to listen to him, to want to be on his good side and get more work in the future.

    This would work. We'd brainstorm for questions (MAuer is spectacular for this) and would send your wife the questions in English, she'd translate them into Russian and would conduct the interview. Please do explore these possibilities and keep us informed in case your friend or your wife get him to agree.
    OK. Just followed up with messages to our friend and my wife. We'll see how this goes.
    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

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    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

  17. #854
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Interesting. I do point out that, although not from a disadvantaged background, my dear Amanda Echalaz is from South Africa.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  19. #855
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Interesting. I do point out that, although not from a disadvantaged background, my dear Amanda Echalaz is from South Africa.
    Yes, the "first" I am pointing out is that she is from the townships, not that she is from SA.

    (although, Pretty Yende is from Piet Retief, SA.)
    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

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