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Free on 28th Apr 18 - 2nd May 18
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This book contains 250 anecdotes about opera, including these anecdotes: 1) When Pierre Monteux started working at the Metropolitan Opera, he decided to buy a shiny Ford touring-car. He paid $300 for the car, which he was proud of at first, although it looked modest when parked beside the luxurious cars of the stars of the Met. However, the car did give Mr. Monteux trouble. One day, as he was driving it, the car developed engine trouble and stopped. Mr. Monteux got out of the car, tipped his hat to it, and walked away, never to return. 2) When Canadian figure skater Toller Cranston served as a judge at a Miss USA beauty pageant, the contestant from New York told him that she loved opera. However, in conversation, he found out that she had never been to the Met and that her favorite opera was “Phantom of the Opera,” so he told her, “My dear, don’t even think about going to ‘La Traviata.’ You would hate it.” 3) Very early in his career, John McCormack made a record titled “Killarney” for The Gramophone Company. Later, when he was a very famous opera singer, Mr. McCormack would play the record for distinguished visitors, saying that the recording was of a singer who wanted his advice about whether he ought to pursue singing professionally. Mr. McCormack said, “Without exception, everyone of them, including such an excellent critic as my friend Dr. Walter Starke, said, ‘Oh, Lord, John, don’t advise that poor boy to study singing. It is too pathetic for words.” Then Mr. McCormack would show the listeners his name on the record and laugh and laugh. By the way, one of Mr. McCormack’s funniest reviews appeared in the Melbourne Australian after he gave his first-ever concert at Exhibition Hall: “If this Irish boy is not known in a very few years as one of the greatest tenors in the world, it will probably be because a careless builder dropped a warehouse or a terrace on him as he was passing.” 4) While recording an album, all involved must be very careful not to record extraneous noises such as squeaks. While recording the album “Diva!,” soprano Leslie Garrett and the musicians ran into a problem because of a squeak that would not go away. Thinking the squeak might come from a wobbly music stand, the musicians moved the music stands a few inches and tried again. The squeak remained. Thinking the squeak might come from a wobbly chair, the musicians moved the chairs a few inches and tried again. The squeak remained. Then Ms. Garrett took thought, held the music engineer’s head to her chest, and asked, “Is that what you heard?” It was — the squeak came from the underwiring of her bra. Ms. Garrett removed her bra in the ladies room, then made a squeak-free recording. Afterward, whenever they recorded a new album together, the music engineer asked her, “Have you got the right bra on?” 5) Sir Thomas Beecham once told a soprano, who was lying in a prone position during a death scene, to sing louder because he couldn’t hear her. She replied, “Don’t you realize that one can’t give of one’s best when one is in a prone position?” Sir Thomas replied, “I seem to recollect that I have given some of my best performances in that position.”

Free on 28th Apr 18 - 2nd May 18
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