High Kleiber diet

It’s funny how a few things in life can come together to plant a single notion in your head. Today, everything for me has suddenly become about authenticity. Not so-called “authentic performance” as it relates to classical music (which, I’m afraid, 50% of the time is about as authentic as a TV advert for stain remover) but meaning being genuine and true.
I was lucky enough to see the National Theatre’s “Hamlet” before Christmas where the desperate search for authenticity was the motor for Rory Kinnear’s brilliant performance, so perhaps there’s something in the air, or this has been germinating in my head for a few months.

March of the trolls

As you can see if you look to the right, I tweet. I don’t like Facebook but I like Twitter. I like the way you have to focus an idea into 140 characters.
One of my fellow Tweeters is Rebecca Caine, a soprano whom I worked with in the early 80s when we did “The Gondoliers” at Sadler’s Wells. I didn’t get to know her very well – we only had one scene together I think – though we bumped into each other once while doing different operas in Nice in the 90s. I haven’t seen her since. I stumbled on her on Twitter, decided to follow her and it turns out she’s an excellent and witty tweeter. The other interesting thing about her is a parallel with my wife Lucy in that she has managed to work both in opera and in musicals. Indeed Rebecca was in the very first cast of “Les Miserables”, a show I’ve never seen, nor I confess have much desire to see. But the point is, she’s no slouch.

Tour guide

It’s a lazy Sunday in Amsterdam for me. Saturday would have been lazy too; no rehearsals, for a change, and nothing pressing to do. But it didn’t turn out that way. A handful of Brits, despite a free weekend on the cards, decided to stay put in town rather than cough up the ridiculous sum it now costs to pop home for a weekend. Gwynne Howell, despite his mammoth career, has never spent anything more than a few days in the city. He’s 73 and his wife is joining him in a few weeks’ time. He wanted to know where they should be going, what the city had to offer, and having established my credentials as the cast’s longest-serving Amsterdam hack, it was only natural that he should turn to me for advice. I volunteered to take him on a little tour.

Move over Sharapova

It’s a strange thing about being a singer, that you far more readily remember your failures than your successes. Well, I suppose that’s probably true of any performer and it’s not just confined to the singing fraternity. The difference is, I guess, that singing technique is very much tied to confidence; half the battle goes on in the brain rather than in the throat, and anything that makes your brain say “really, are you sure you can sing that high note? Well, best of luck but don’t count on it!” is far from welcome.