Long ago, in a galaxy far away – I mean, the era before supertitles became common in opera houses around the world – you could always tell the text-mad opera fan. He was the one who arrived early to the theater and spent the remaining minutes to curtain hunched over his libretto booklet, trying to cram as much of the libretto as he could into his head before the curtain went up, so he could (hopefully) follow along with the words as they were sung. Some text divas even brought pen lights with them so they could follow along with the text while the opera was going on, to the great annoyance of their seatmates.
The annual Richard Tucker gala came and went at Avery Fisher Hall with the usual quota of gaffes, wardrobe malfunctions, no-shows, too-much-shows, substitutions and surprise guests (well, guest). And sandwiched between the routine, the egocentric and the just plain dull were moments of true dementia, the moments that we melomanes live and die for. Most of those moments were due to the antics of a certain well-known Slavic diva (of whom more later). But first, the specs. Read more »