Tuesday, 17 January 2012


Sometimes we're called on to do seemingly contradictory things. I'm currently working with socially-challenged, ESN* Italian opera singers on one of Verdi's most popular operas, Il Trovatore. You may know the odd tune from it but the work is basically tedious and formulaic with, at least for our contemporary sensibilities, a ridiculous plot. Nonetheless, it's considerably better than what goes on in the heads of its main protagonists, at least in our version, sort-of nice as some of them may be. Notwithstanding, it'll probably be a huge success as these works are often much (MUCH) larger than the sum of their parts. The difficulty is seperating the working process from the end result, and for me, applying that to mid-nineteenth century Italian opera is easier said than done.

The other piece of meat on my plate is proof-reading an English translation of a French book on obesity. It's interesting that such a svelte nation could come up with such a work of literature, but it makes for intriguing reading. The translator has done a stonking job; apart from the odd Oxford Comma (and they really are a matter of taste) I can't find much to gripe about in the realm of Shakespeare's lingo. Looking around me, I would have thought that obesity was the least of this country's worries, but the Frogs are always up for chewing the fat and debating and that's one of the things that makes living here such a joy: sometimes you just want to chat for chatting's sake, preferably on an eighteenth-century terrace in the company of a variety of happy juices, and no either course of action can be deemed acceptable. That's where I am right now and Toulouse, bless its cotton socks, provides all the above. It serves as a wonderful counterweight to listening to those overpaid, overweight crooners struggling through their mother tongue with no regard for tuning, rhythm or characterisation. Anyone who has had the 'privilege' of working with this particular caste will know what I'm talking about. To be fair, though, I'd like to cite a few names I've worked with who not only buck the trend, but would positively stand it on its head if challenged one-on-one in a court of law: Daniela Mazzucato, Marco Armiliato, Daniele Callegari, Marta Moretto, Chiara Angella, Alberto Rinaldi, Marco Vinco and a few others, but it's too late to remember their names. And so endeth a pretty nonsensical stream of consciousness. The picture below is of Deborah Voigt before she lost 564lbs and her marbles:

No comments: