Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gay Talese Takes in Traviata

(Photo: Jason Andrew/Financial Times)
"Gay Talese has hated opera for almost all of his 78 years. The legendary journalist’s father, a tailor, played it all the time in his shop in Ocean City, New Jersey, and at night, after dinner. “For Italian-Americans, opera was about the only respectable thing they had going for them,” Talese says. “Otherwise, it was just mafia, mafia, mafia. And, of course, Mussolini.” The young Talese wanted to be American, not Italian, so he resented the Verdi and Puccini, this soundtrack to the boyhood he didn’t want to have. And yet, here we are, more than half a century later, going to see La Traviata."

"Talese stopped hating opera exactly three years and two months ago, when a friend takes him to see a rehearsal of War and Peace, and he finds himself eating a hamburger in the cafeteria of the Metropolitan Opera, where the singers, stagehands and electricians eat, and he sees a blonde sitting at a table. He strikes up a conversation with her, and it turns out Marina Poplavskaya is an opera singer from Moscow." [Source]

(Photo: Jason Andrew/Financial Times)

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