That was my seven year old son’s critique of Richard Tucker’s performance in Carmen; it was his first exposure to the great American tenor. Tucker had sung Don Jose in his customary style. Wonderful singing combined with ham (what my son meant by “noble”) acting. He had mastered every operatic cliché – fist on the breast, fist shaking, galumphing around the stage like Frankenstein’s monster. He could have run Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks. When Tucker performed with Zinka Milanov, which was often, they could have cornered the world’s prosciutto market. But what voices! The rest didn’t matter.
Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) Born into an aristocratic family, Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov was educated at a naval college in St. Petersburg and sailed the world as a naval officer. While still a naval officer, he was composing music and was part of a group
Saint-Saëns – like Berlioz, is one of a rare breed – a French composer who does not owe his success to opera. His father was a civil servant who died from consumption when the boy was only a few months old which meant that he was brought up by his mother and his Great-Aunt and it was she who encouraged his musical talent. He was a child prodigy in every sense and soaked up knowledge like a sponge. By the time he was three he had learned to read and write and by the time he was eight he had some mastery of Latin and was well on his way to being a multi-faceted intellectual. He Saint-Saëns – like Berlioz, is one of a rare breed – a French composer who does not owe his success to opera. His father was a civil servant who died from consumption when the boy was only a few months old which meant that he was brought