Um… Erm… Huh… Hm?… Um.

Um… Erm… Huh… Hm?… Um.

I’ve been thinking… What does one say to one’s Diva when you finally get a chance to hand the flowers after the performance? Total silence is probably the least embarrassing option. Or is it? Um… Have you ever handed flowers to your diva(s) and have you uttered anything during those 30 seconds?

Frida Leider, probably being weirded out by a crazy fan. Or Tristan.

To exorcize the worst possible scenarios, here’s

The Top Fifteen Things Not to Say to Your Diva If You Ever Cross Paths

1) Please stop singing pop. Please?

2) Why didn’t you sing more Rossini when your voice allowed for that possibility? I found your Nacqui all’affanno from a Frankfurt Opera House young stars gala on YouTube and I’ve been listening to it non-stop. You were in your early thirties, basically a child, on your way to become the Arsace and Cenerentola of your generation. Your dropping bel canto then is now ravaging my life.

3) Please stop singing jazz. Or at least sing it every fifth recital? No? How about every fourth? Third?

4) Who got to keep that spatula, and what is  their phone number?

5) Why aren’t you on Twitter?

6) That is your husband?!

7) One more thing about this and I’ll shut up: I dream about your Rosina. If anybody said you were too tall for Rosina, they are rotting in hell right now. I probably dream more about your Rosina than about your Romeo.

8 ) Of all the Sofies, Marschallins, Countesses, Vitellias, Poppeas you seduced on stage, who was the best kisser?

9) One doesn’t have to recycle one’s dresses all that much, does one? That lovely black number on the cover of your Ariodante CD? You’re wearing it in one of your earliest Habanera performances at La Scala, and many years later in your Offenbach concert, and that’s only the recorded instances. Please get rid of everything in your wardrobe with gigantic floral prints, big ruffles, any degree of puffed-up-ness or — and this is a must — anything pink. Please. You can’t poorly dress a goddess. It’s a basic rule, contained in all theological manuals across cultures and religions.

10) Do you need a slave?

11) When do you wrap up the cycling season in Stockholm? ‘Coz our winters are similar, so I was wondering…

12) Do tell – why did you ditch Deutsche Grammophone last year and went to an independent label?

13) Please stop singing pop.

14) I admire how unglamourous you are off stage. That must be a conscious political decision?

15) Um… Erm… Huh… Hm?… Um.


27 thoughts on “Um… Erm… Huh… Hm?… Um.

  1. Well of course one could just follow the Scottish route and make strenuous efforts to ensure one never *ever* does cross the path of one’s diva. After all, a diva on the stage is worth two in the, err… Oh gosh that spatula affair has left me rather muddled… Mildred, quick, the malt.

  2. Yes, I wonder what the connection is between the… location for birds that rhymes with ‘push’, and the said, already museum-owned spatula. NOW I am muddled, thank you very much for that. I wish I had a Mildred clone.

    Are you bring flowers to Alcina? Who will be Alcina to Kas’s Ruggiero?

    1. Alcina is The stunning Anja Harteros, a reprise for this pairing…. quite a fetching pair.

      Oh goodness, please, people…. minds out of the gutter!

      Flowers? Perish the thought, the only thing I shall be throwing is my pashmina, blasted chilly in Vienna that time of year.

  3. I’ll be a “15) Um… Erm… Huh… Hm?… Um. ” kind of girl if I wasn’t following already the “Scottish route”

    But the “Get rid of anything pink” isn’t without some merit.


  4. Yes, if Petra von Kant McCall here will let her out for a day.

    The AGM? Why, I’m glad you asked. It’s the Annual General Meeting of White, Pink, Plaid and Under-Shirts and Their Allies (aka cicisbei), which will take place somewhere sometime in 2011. Coburg, Bavaria? Wien? Paree? The matter has not been settled.

  5. Well of course one could just acquire a stand-in to deal with the whole messy diva encounter on one’s behalf… blushing, making inappropriate and/or lewd remarks inadvertently (or indeed for that matter ‘advertently’), securing autograph with which to lull oneself to sleep, etc. etc. Sort of an ‘Arranged Encounter’ if you will (Anik…. the presses…. quick….. Hmm, Mildred is Celia Johnstone available? We may need her the film version).

    TCO: Of dear sweet thing. Mildred I am afraid must stay *firmly* in hand, why you young ladies will have had no experience I am sure of ‘the help gone native’. Not a pretty sight I can tell you.

  6. What not to say to tenors:

    1. Did you ever try a diet?

    2. I don’t think you have the voice for Wagner…

    3. LEAVE GRIMES ALONE! Go sing Tristan!

    4. Do you too think Carlos and Posa are gay?

    5. How about Onegin and Lensky?

    6. You know, I never got what Leonora sees in you… when Luan is SO MUCH SEXIER!

  7. *chuckle*
    Those male pairings are quite something! I always suspected something was going on between Onegin and Lensky. Now that I think of it, there are so many candidates. Those two dudes who battle it out over Elvira in I Puritani? Tick. The two dudes who fight over Leonora in La forza del destino? Tick. And Don Giovanni and Leporello are in a marriage of sorts.

    Hell, there’s a book to be written, the sequel to Eve Sedgwick’s “Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire”. Title: “Between Male Principals: Coded Bromance in the 19thC Opera”

    1. Ever read Don Carlos in German? “Mein Engel!” My father is a great fan of Goethe and Schiller, quite a down-to-earth person and is past 70 by now.
      Even HE went *eyesroll* when I recently asked him if he personally thinks that Schiller might have had a broad concept of male friendship. “Yes, apparently.”

      1. Ha! I am not surprised… if Byron is any indication of the Zeitgeist, the man of the Romantic age had ‘significant companionships’ with persons of both sexes.

        But tell me, maybe you have an idea about this: do male fans throw themselves at their divi too? I’m sure many an officially straight man said to themselves upon discovering,say, Daniel Okulitch, “Given half a chance, I definitely would”.

      2. I cannot tell, to make a statistically significant statement, I would have to make a careful assessment first 🙂 I know a definitely straight guy though whose ever-crush on Carlo Bergonzi has an extent that would cause me, if I was his wife, to be extremely jealous.

        Then, two other straight males amongst my acquaintances would hit on Hugh Laurie if they had the chance, though he is only a divo in a loose sense.

        Considering romanticism and “significant companionships” … I suppose the ratio was approximately as nowadays, just the extent how openly people handled that matter differed throughout history, according to what was exceptable to show in society.

        And… Byron is no indication for anything, he was just… er… Byron. imho. 🙂

      3. You never consider certain artists as representative of an age? I probably do it too much. But it’s fun, especially if other people argue in favour of other figures.

        I fear to think who will be considered a legit rep of the music of our epoch 30 years from now…

  8. Absolute worst, and frequently encountered is (trust me, I have a friend who is an opera singer…)

    1) “I sing too, you know?” accompanied by a suppressed giggle and a fangirlish glance.

    2) “Are you on facebook?”

    Definitely those should be added to the list. 10) is quite promising I guess, depends on the diva 🙂

    1. I got asked by Halfvarsson if I sing. *blushblushblush* I don’t really have experiences with divas. I usually get nervous and can’t decide whether to talk in English or German (only met Wagner singers so far), so I end up mixing the two.

      I said Halfvarsson he’s the most badass Inquisitor. Didn’t add he looks like a psycho and he’s sooooo perfect in those creepy villain roles.

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