- hello dear members,
i was asked to introduce myself and share some information about my tastes
and the opera activities in my community.
i was born in buenos aires, argentina, where i have always lived. i am 43.
although i am neither a professional musician nor a music scholar, music has
always been at the core of my life.
opera was an everyday treat at home when i was growing up. my mother, an
italian, had a great lyric soprano. we had sunday lunch at my maternal
grandmother's home, and my mother, uncles and aunts would sing verdi and
puccini for hours on end. nature had been very wise and had allocated a
well-balanced assortment of sopranos, contraltos, mezzos, tenors, baritones
and one great bass (my uncle eduardo) among my mother's seventeen siblings.
so there were always enough people to do complete scenes on the spur of the
moment. i guess that they were just a bunch of freaks, but hey, how many
people have heard their mothers sing aïda while doing the dishes?
when i was about ten and i was in bed with the flu one cold winter
afternoon, i hear something that changed my life for ever. i was listening
to the radio. i was bored and i kept fiddling with dial until i came upon a
something that i couldn't quite describe. it was music but at the same time
it seemed as if the women on the radio were talking and screaming at one
another. i was mesmerized. i called my mother and asked her what that was.
she listened for a while and in cold tones told me that that was "modern
opera". i listened through the whole program and in the end the announcer
said the magic words "elektra by richard strauss". i had just heard a
broadcast of the newly released nilsson/solti elektra. there was no turning
back. i pestered my mother to get me the set (we're talking LP days here).
she said that THAT opera was not fit for children. my father was more into
orchestral music and wouldn't be bothered. finally, my aunt zulema came to
my rescue. as the only dramatic soprano in the family she was sick and tired
of all the butterflies and violettas and lucias that her sisters did on our
musical sundays. out of sheer spite, she went and bought me the elektra. it
was our secret.
so by now you must have guessed that i'm a strauss and wagner fan. i enjoy
italian opera very much, but i seldom listen to the more classical works.
since i have always loved the dramatic soprano register, my life has been
full of brunnhildes, salomes, elektras and dyers' wives. and turandots. the
ice princess has been a true obsession. for years i have collected countless
versions of in questa reggia, from the early anne roselle and eva turner
recordings to eva marton and maria slatinaru. my favorite turandot? ingrid
a brief, very incomplete list of my favorite singers (in no special order):
and many, many more i can't think of right now.
singers i hate:
oh no! you won't catch me there...
as to opera in buenos aires, well, it's always been here since the times of
the spanish domination in the 18th century. the first documented complete
performance took place in 1825, a few months before the first complete
performance in new york. it was Il barbiere di Siviglia -- and so it was in
new york! however the first opera house in buenos aires was built in the
the first radio broadcast of a complete opera in history also took place in
buenos aires: parsifal in 1920. i live four blocks away from the legendary
teatro colon. everybody who is somebody has sung there. alas, in the last
two years, the country's economic woes have taken their toll on the opera
world here and we can afford very few international companies. the silver
lining is that this situation has created a lot more employment
opportunities to local talents. at present there are seven opera companies
in the city performing in different venues, and two more companies in the
greater buenos aires. that means about an opera a day. pretty good for a
totally collapsed economy!
there are three radio stations in the city that broadcast opera programs.
two of them have sensational archives containing recordings from old radio
broadcasts. it should be noted that several singers chose the colon to sing
some roles for the first time: del monaco did his first ottelo here and
crespin her first carmen.
well, this introduction has become too long already. i'm not even sure that
i'm not breaking any bandwidth rules here!
i hope you all had a wonderful weekend, filled with music and joy.