Tag Archive: Singing


Music Matters… to Me

2. Mi Convien Cosi Crepar?
(Is it better that I kick the bucket?

Berta-The Barber of Seville 1984
A face like this, (mine!) very similar to the one that woke me up in the mirror this morning, might call for such drastic measure.

In my case, it only took me to old memory lane and my youthful self, singing the part of Berta from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville with Colombian National Opera Company.

The links below are to the aria, -one for the vocals, one for the looks- as one of the singers sings it beautifully in my view but looks too young, while the other has the looks but… well, it is a matter of opinion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuuruXoFfH4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIXngsbh1jk

Anyway, there are no recordings sung by me as in those days in Colombia (1983-84), live performances weren’t recorded. Even when, as it was the case with this tour, I had the honour of singing alongside Luigi Alva, -one of Maria Callas’ famous tenor partners,- and Thomas Hampson (1983-84)!

Luigi and Thomas were at the opposite ends of their musical careers: Luigi was 56 by the time he sang with me, but still in great voice and physical agility. The role of Count of Almaviva requires that to make of it a great comical, lively character, and Luigi was a real master! The rest of soloists and choristers were often in stitches watching him from the wings. He was also a wonderful team player. He always treated me –I was the youngest and, by far, the less experienced of all the soloists – with both, respect and forbearance. More than once he prompted me into the stage when my queue arrived and gave me plenty of discreet but extremely useful advice.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Alva

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xqRx5ggOqs

an incredibly old and terrible recording but you can still appreciate his voice and acting. His coloraturas are divine. Very similar to the voice of another famous Peruvian tenor, Juan Diego Florez. What’s with Peruvians and those incredibly high voices? Incredibly high mountains?

Thomas Hampson, 29 at the time was at the start of what would become a very successful career. If you are into any vocal classical music, you will have heard of him. His versatile voice and personality and his curious mind have driven him to perform all sorts of music from the XVIII to the XXI centuries as far as I know. Have a look at this link.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/opera–tall-dark-and-hampson-thomas-hampson-is-the-thinking-mans-baritone-equally-at-ease-in-everything-from-mahler-to-american-musicals-but-asks-edward-seckerson-isnt-he-just-a-bit-too-good-to-be-true-1368226.html

He had the biggest bottom I’ve even seen in a man, made look bigger by the fact that with his height, 6’4, it was far closer to my eyes than his head was! He was just as handsome as he is nowadays, but he had long curly hair, that gave him more angelic, yet, less sexy looks. He was also as kind and interesting as the article says.

Well… that was an unexpected trip down memory lane… I think I can afford that. If you managed to read till here, you also afforded it!

Till next time.

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  1. Growing Old is Obligatory; Growing Up is Optional.*

Sunday 5th April 2015

Berta-The Barber of Seville 1984

This morning I woke up old and I realized, my obligation had to be fulfilled like everyone else’s.

The image I saw in the mirror brought to mind the photo you see: my 30-year-old self, singing the role of Bertha, a mid-60s maid, from Rossini’s Opera, The Barber of Seville.

At the time, I was quite convinced I would never reach such a ripe age. I dreaded both, reaching it and not.

Today, as I scanned the prune-like face in the mirror, I felt, as I often do, so happy and triumphant that I have made it this far!

I dare say I have also kept growing up.

I have grown in wisdom, therefore, in self-acceptance and self-love.

Death doesn’t frighten me as it used to. Neither wrinkles do.

Berta’s aria finishes with the lines:

“E vecchietta disperata

mi convien così crepar.”

And old, desperate

It’s more convenient that I kick the bucket.

First I thought of writing that, Non mi convien cosi crepar,

But then, as I am learning Italian, I checked in the dictionary and crepare also means: to splitting one’s sides laughing. You only need to add “dalle rise”.

Therefore, I will crepar dalle rise, and continue to laugh into any age, genes, fate and my own efforts, take me.

Happy growing old and up!

* I wish the quote was mine. I translated it from Spanish, and I guess it comes from my cheerful 82-year-old brother-in-law, Luis Carlos, who spends a lot of his time sourcing interesting, wise and funny quotes and stories from the Internet.

** For the old or young, but curious, go to my Music Matters… to Me, for some links to Berta’s aria, none sung by me as in those days in Colombia (1983 and 1984), live performances weren’t recorded. You will also find a trip to memory lane from my days with the Colombian National Opera Company.