This picture is of me as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Glyndebourne in the summer of 1988. I was in the middle of the run when I started my next contract at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in southern France. This was for the title role in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, a new production directed by the Greek film maker Michael Kakoyannis, famous for his film Zorba the Greek. Michael was a truly wonderful director. He saw everything as if through a camera lens, pulling focus to where the important things were going on, thereby not allowing the audience to be distracted by other things happening on stage. It was a really great time to be in Aix, for both the rehearsals and the performances. The whole team became more of a family, and that included the wonderful chorus called The Sixteen.
In September 1988, I was in Hamburg, rehearsing for Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, in which I had, in 1981, created the role of Lensky in German; this time – the first revival – it was to be in the original Russian. No problem, I had already done it in Russian at the Met in New York.
I left the Royal Academy of Music in June 1973, having already auditioned successfully for Glyndebourne Festival Opera. In addition to securing a contract to sing in the chorus during the forthcoming season, I was asked to understudy the role of Idamante in Mozart’s opera, Idomeneo.But first, it was off to Salzburg for the Opera Course that summer. Whilst there, I was selected to help on the conductor’s course, which was led by none other than the great Herbert Von Karajan.
During 1978, I was in Munich to record for the Bayerische Rundfunk. I hadn’t met my German agent (Herr Stoll) before, and my agent in England suggested that I buy a bottle of whisky (duty free) on my outward journey, and give it to him when we met. I went to visit Herr Stoll on a Friday morning after my final rehearsal, only to be told that he couldn’t see me as he had a problem that needed his full attention. Stoll’s secretary informed me that he was on the phone to Herbert von Karajan, who was trying to find a Tamino for Die Zauberflöte. Continue reading