So you don’t believe in true love? Have you become a bit cynical because your heart has been broken too often, or have you seen too many marriages end in divorce? So fairy-tales are not real and your tears are flowing for La Bohème only??
I know a remedy: meet John Osborn and the love of his life, Lynette Tapia.
Their love blossoms and glows as if they have only just met and yet they have been together for many years! They also have a daughter, the now eighteen-year-old multi-talented Anna.
I met them both on a horribly cold February day in 2013 with ice, snow and wind outside, but in the café Puccini where we met, my heart and soul were soon to be warmed.
The lovely Lynette Tapia with her beautiful green eyes and shiny black hair is a celebrated singer as well and sometimes she manages to sing with her husband. In September 2006, they had their Amsterdam debut together in Capricio by Richard Strauss, as the Italian singers.
In October 2012, they both sang in Verdi’s Rigoletto at Schloss Braunfels, a production of Opera Classica Europa, an organisation that presents operas at the most beautiful historical locations in Europe.
I love what Opera Classica Europa does and the way they do it. The location was enchanting, we were wearing real, historical costumes. Old-fashioned? Yes, definitely: old-fashioned beautiful. We didn’t have that much rehearsal time, but there was no need. There was nothing you really had to learn, everything being already in the music.
The role of the Duca is particularly suited to a high tenor. I have been a singer for 22 years. I am not a baritonal tenor but I can sing ever heavier roles. It depends on the location, of course, and it also matters who your conductor is, and whether he knows how to keep the orchestra in check. The music has been shifted to a higher pitch, the orchestras are playing louder, but you still have to rise above the orchestra and you have to be audible everywhere, even in the back rows. Add to that the fact that we tenors don’t sing in falsetto any more; today’s audience would not be appreciative.
I am from the generation that grew up with the three tenors, but a lot has changed since then. You can’t afford not to look good. Or not to be fit. When I was younger, I didn’t participate in sports and fitness, I thought it was a waste of time. But in a way, I think it is fair and good that we take care to look the part a bit more, for the public’s sake. Although it is still mainly (I hope?!) about the singing!
Directors? Are they really important?
Who ever heard of a director, say 50, 60 years ago? We knew who the singers were and that was all that mattered. The conductor, the orchestra, yes, but a director? We still speak of Tosca by Callas or Don Carlo by Corelli, but nowadays the name of the director is written in big, bold letters at the top of the poster, even before the composer! Many of the directors have also developed a somewhat perverse way of manipulating human feelings, which bothers me. Sometimes I think: do you really want to create something new? Then create something new! Write your own opera!