Friday, April 22, 2011

Marina Poplavskaya Enchants Writer and Offends Immigration

Poplavskaya: A tigress on and off the stage?
(Photo: Phil Fisk/The Guardian)
The Guardian's Peter Conrad seems to never run out of superfluous adjectives to describe what seems to be his muse, Marina Poplavskaya: "Poplavskaya's jaw – angular, horizontally extended to give her square face the look of a cubist carving....it stores the breath she releases when sculpting the air as she sings....That sound is cool and silken, stoically controlling the passions it expresses....She does not vivaciously seduce us like her colleague Anna Netrebko, and her air of withdrawn mystery is increased by the waist-length cascade of hair that she wears like a veil. She is the Mona Lisa with a bevelled jaw; it's up to us to intuit what goes behind that alabaster mask...This pining futility could not be further from the determination of Poplavskaya herself....Arriving at the theatre, she told the selectors with precocious self-possession that she had a large repertoire and intended to perform all of it; they of course succumbed."

Worse yet may be having to experience Ms. Poplavskaya at the airport: "'Every time at the airport,' sighs Poplavskaya, 'I am a victim again.' Before each foreign engagement, she has to return to Moscow to join sullen, shuffling queues in quest of a visa. 'I'm trying to bring my mum to London now to visit; she's at the embassy today. On the phone she was hysteric, terrified by it. They are suspicious, they interrogate us, they tell us we must wait weeks for a decision and it is so expensive! Even if you get visa, sometimes you are not allowed into the country where you sing. At Heathrow once I slept a night on the floor because they wanted more information before they admit me. I am in a herd with workers, house cleaners, many people from Araby. Do they think I sell drugs or carry bombs? One man in a blue uniform saw I had a 1A visa to come here, and he said, 'This is only given to persons of extraordinary ability.' I replied, 'But I am person of extraordinary ability!' He asked what my job was and I said, 'I am opera singer.' 'Madam,' he said, 'do you make fun of me?' Finally, I had to threaten that I would report him for his intonation. 'Just put the stamp,' I said, 'and say welcome.' He did it, but with such a look! He expected maybe that I would give him champagne?' Bob Dylan pitied the poor immigrant; I'd rather pity the poor immigration officer who has to match wits with the deplaning Poplavskaya." [Source]

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