11. March 2010 · Comments Off on True Story · Categories: Links, Old News, Opera

I used the knife to practise a stabbing motion with the American baritone Kimm Julian, who was playing Silvio. As we rehearsed the scene, he had a way of arching his body and pulling in his stomach which just didn’t look right. After about 12 attempts, the director suggested we try it in slow motion. At the crucial moment, just as I’d done 12 times before, I pushed the button to make the blade retract. But when I looked down, I saw to my amazement that the blade was still out. I hadn’t felt any resistance when I stabbed Kimm, so I thought everything must be okay. I asked him, “I didn’t get you, did I?” and he answered: “No.” I just had time to think, “Thank God,” when I saw Kimm’s face turn white. He was sweating. He put his hand inside his waistcoat to his stomach, then took it out and looked at it, saw that it was bloodstained, and collapsed. I looked at the knife again — it was clean. But then I saw blood oozing from around his navel and soaking into his shirt and jeans. It was horrible.

The emergency services arrived along with the police. By then I was in tears — almost hysterical — thinking I’d killed Kimm. What happened next was like a mixture of farce and verismo [realism in opera], as the director described to the police how I’d just found out that my wife was having an affair with this guy, so I’d stabbed him. He was giving them the plot of the opera, but the police took it seriously. They grabbed me and marched me off into another room. They were wearing holsters with guns. I felt very threatened. The next thing I knew, I was being questioned about how long I’d known that this guy had been having an affair with my wife. Farce was turning into nightmare. I tried to explain that Nedda wasn’t my real wife — Diana was at home in England with our children. But the police started accusing me of being someone’s lover. After pleading with them to let me call Diana, they took me to a phone. Convinced by now that I had killed Kimm, I cried down the phone to her, and the police stood nearby listening to every word.

Eventually they realised their mistake and I was released. But the story leaked out, and while Kimm was undergoing surgery for a wound that had missed his stomach by millimetres, I was being hassled by TV and radio stations. Back home in England, reporters turned up at our house, desperate to interview Diana and the children. Our nanny was hounded by a journalist asking her: “Is he aggressive at home?” Then they got hold of our gardener, and he said: “David? Oh yes, he’s good with a knife.”


This happened quite some time ago, but I only just read about it and searched for other articles on the story, which took me to the 2005 item above.

Ah, the dangerous sport of opera.


Sept. 23: A new system of projecting English “supertitles” will be introduced by the San Francisco Opera for its October student, senior citizen and family matinee performances of Verdi’s “La Traviata.” The translation, in letters about a foot tall, will be projected on a screen hanging just above the top border over the stage. A spokesman for the San Francisco Opera said the use of supertitles is an experiment and there are no plans to use them during the regular subscription season.


Sept. 21: Dave Brubeck turned down $17,000 in round-trip transportation and performance fees for his quartet for a proposed South African tour in January. “They told us we couldn’t take our bass player, so the deal was off,” Brubeck said. Bassist Gene Wright, who is rejoining the group in time for the Monterey Jazz Festival in October, is black. A letter received from the Johannesburg promoter said: “It is absolutely impossible for (Wright) to come to South Africa. Not only is there an ordinance prohibiting the appearance onstage of a mixed group, but also he would not be allowed in the country, and therefore the tour would have to be without him.”

I read this here. Interesting, no?

But BEST of all? No more squirrel for dinner!:


Sept. 24: Squirrel saute is soon to be a thing of the past if an ordinance recommended by the Board of Health and the Hospital and Health Committee of the Board of Supervisors is adopted. The proposed ordinance makes it a misdemeanor to sell ground squirrels in San Francisco. Health authorities contend that the squirrels are infected with disease, which in some cases has been transmitted to people, causing death in several instances. In practically the entire farming section of the state the ground squirrel is regarded as a pest, owing to the damage it does to crops. Farmers have welcomed market hunters in their pursuit of the squirrels, and millions of the little animals have been sold in cities around the bay, sometimes being served under their own name, but frequently they furnish the meat for rabbit or other game pies. If the proposed ordinance is adopted, the hunters will have to abandon their calling.

17. July 2008 · Comments Off on Isn’t This Old News? · Categories: Links, Old News, Ramble · Tags:

Arts Journal has a link up, posted just today, about something I blogged about quite a while ago. Geesh. Maybe AJ needs me. Ya think? So sure, certain pieces can make wine taste better. Anyone who reads my site already knew that. So there.

I guess AJ doesn’t read my blog and … well … how mind-boggling is that?! (And how mind-boggling is it that I typed “mind-bloggling” first?)

What I want to know, though, is which wine will make the music sound better? Because if we can figure that out think of how our audiences might grow.