Tuesday, 27 February 2007


Nancy Fabiola Herrera and Giuseppe Filianoti
Las Palmas, 2006

From Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1774, The Sorrows of Young Werther (Translated from the German by R. Dillon Boylan)...

August 21

In vain do I stretch out my arms toward her when I awaken in the morning from my weary slumbers. In vain do I seek for her at night in my bed, when some innocent dream has happily deceived me, and placed her near me in the fields, when I have seized her hand and covered it with countless kisses. And when I feel for her in the half confusion of sleep, with the happy sense that she is near, tears flow from my oppressed heart; and, bereft of all comfort, I weep...

Friday, 16 February 2007

Googling I

Some of the more intriguing search terms that brought people to Voce di Tenore...

Juan Diablo Florez
juan diego fires
costume de bain Alagna
Juan Pons furniture
baritones are men
Franco Spanking Drawings
french house on e-bay
come si fanno i vestiti dei toreri
colorful sleeveless undershirts for boys

See also... Googling II and III

Friday, 9 February 2007

Stage Fright

Enrico Caruso on stage fright from Caruso and Tetrazzini on the Art of Singing, New York, 1909...

The most visible phase of the opera singer’s life when he or she is in view of the public on the stage is naturally the one most intimately connected in the minds of the majority of people with the singer’s personality, and yet there are many happenings, amusing or tragic, from the artist’s point of view, which, though often seen, are as often not realized in their true significance by the audience in front of the orchestra. One might naturally think that a singer who has been appearing for years on the operatic stage in many lands would have overcome or outgrown that bane of all public performers, stage fright. Yet such is far from the case, for it seems as though the greater the artistic temperament the more truly the artist feels and the more of himself he puts into the music he sings the greater his nervousness beforehand. The latter is of course augmented if the performance is a first night and the opera has as yet been untried before a larger public.

This advance state of miserable physical tension is the portion of all great singers alike, though in somewhat varying degrees, and it is interesting to note the forms it assumes with different people. In many it is shown by excessive irritability and the disposal to pick quarrels with anyone who comes in contact with them. This is an unhappy time for the luckless “dressers,” wig man and stage hands, or even fellow artists who encounter such singers before their first appearance in the evening. Trouble is the portion of all such.

In other artists the state of mind is indicated by a stern set countenance and a ghastly pallor, while still others become slightly hysterical, laugh uproariously at nothing or burst into weeping. I have seen a big six-foot bass singer, very popular at the opera two or three seasons ago, walking to and fro with the tears running down his cheeks for a long time before his entrance, and one of our greatest coloratura prima donnas has come to me before the opera, sung a quavering note in a voice full of emotion and said, with touching accents: “See, that is the best I can do. How can I go on so?”

I myself have been affected often by such fright, though not always in the extreme degree above described. This nervousness, however, frequently shows itself in one’s performance in the guise of indifferent acting, singing off the key, etc. Artists are generally blamed for such shortcomings, apparent in the early part of the production, when, as a matter of fact, they themselves are hardly conscious of them and overcome them in the course of the evening. Yet the public, even critics, usually forget this fact and condemn an entire performance for faults which are due at the beginning to sheer nervousness.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Giacomo V

Juan Diego Flórez in La Donna del Lago

From Sir Walter Scott, 1810, The Lady of the Lake,
Canto First, XXI...

On his bold visage middle age
Had slightly pressed its signet sage,
Yet had not quenched the open truth
And fiery vehemence of youth;
Forward and frolic glee was there,
The will to do, the soul to dare,
The sparkling glance, soon blown to fire,
Of hasty love or headlong ire.
His limbs were cast in manly could
For hardy sports or contest bold;
And though in peaceful garb arrayed,
And weaponless except his blade,
His stately mien as well implied
A high-born heart, a martial pride,
As if a baron's crest he wore,
And sheathed in armor bode the shore.
Slighting the petty need he showed,
He told of his benighted road;
His ready speech flowed fair and free,
In phrase of gentlest courtesy,
Yet seemed that tone and gesture bland
Less used to sue than to command.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Gian Carlo Menotti

Time Magazine, May 1, 1950, on the Broadway premiere of The Medium...

"On a rain-dashed afternoon in the spring of 1947 a lean, tense-looking man in his mid-30s walked into Manhattan's Edison Hotel, just off Broadway, and registered for a room. He specified that it must overlook 47th Street. Once upstairs, he walked quickly to the window, looked down on the street below, satisfied himself that the view was right, then turned away and began to pace the floor, chainsmoking cigarettes. Finally he settled down to a vigil at the window. With alert brown eyes he watched the bustling traffic on the sidewalks. How many of the passers-by would stop at the Ethel Barrymore Theater across the street? How many, once they stopped, would buy tickets for the show that had just opened?"

Gian Carlo Menotti died on February 1, 2006 at the age of 95.