Pagliacci, props and peril

David RendallThe picture on the left is yours truly as Canio in Pagliacci. In 1998 (a year or so after my Pagliacci performances in Portland, Oregon) I was invited to Milwaukee in Wisconsin by the conductor Jo Rescigno (the nephew of Nicolo Rescigno with whom I had performed at the Met and in San Francisco) to reprise the role, albeit in a different production with the Florentine Opera Company.

Milwaukee is known as the beer capital of the world, being home to several breweries – Miller and Schlitz to name just two.  The world-famous motor cycle manufacturer, Harley Davidson is located there as well. As things turned out, it also appears to be the home of misfortune and near death experiences.

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Hamburg, hellhound and hospital

IGerman-shepherd-dog-snarlingn my previous blog post, I talked about my time in Buenos Aires and the performances at the Teatro Colón of ‘Les Illuminations’, which I illustrated with an excerpt from a radio broadcast I made some time later for the Nord Deutsche Rundfunk in Hamburg, under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras. My first rehearsal for that performance finished at around 5.00 pm, and we arranged to meet for dinner at the hotel Vier Jahreszeiten at about 9.00 that evening.  It was the middle of winter, and snow was falling.  I wore thick woollen socks and leather ankle boots, as well as appropriate upper body clothing for the climate. Continue reading

Don’t cry for me, Argentina

Colon-interior-escenario-TMI was engaged at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires during September/October 1981 for a production of L’Italiana in Algeri by Rossini.  The role of Lindoro has a very high tessitura. So high, in fact, that I very nearly pulled out of the contract as I didn’t think that I could do it.  My lack of confidence stemmed from my not really having the role in my voice at that point, together with the fact that Rossini demanded exceptionally fast patter (words strung together at an incredible speed).  This fear kicked in whilst learning the role.  In the end, I was persuaded to go through with it by Joan Dornaman, who was senior coach at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  Continue reading