Thursday, August 30, 2012

Phwoar! Meet the new tenor, Ivor Hardcastle!

There's been an almighty rumpus about an article in the Scottish Sun (which I'd thought a contradiction in terms after my last holiday up there) about Nicky Benedetti, who happens to be an attractive young woman as well as a brilliant violinist and a bright, idealistic mover and shaker in the field of music education. It was a heap of sexist claptrap and innuendo. Nicky later tweeted that it just made her laugh. Probably the worst thing that can happen is that a few more people might tune in to see her on Last Night of the Proms.

But it struck me that while men get away with writing that kind of junk about women, supposing the tables were turned? What would happen were the journalist to be female, the object of attraction male?


 Phwoar, what pecs. Get a dekko at the new singing sensation from willieful Wales, Ivor Hardcastle. 

Opera's hottest bit of beefcake, he stands six foot four in his stockinged feet (not that he wears stockings, natch) and - well, the tenor tones may sing, but those pecs speak volumes.

He grew up in the Valleys. His mother encouraged him to start developing his gifts incredibly early on. "She says I began to sing long before I could talk," says Hardcastle, 30. 

Virtuous Classics signed him to an exclusive recording deal as soon as they spotted him down the gym. "Sure, I like to work out, but singing's my vocation," he says. It was going to be a 5-CD deal, but was reduced to 3 after the sound engineer heard him sing.

So how many hours a day does he work out - I mean, vocalise? "Well, I've just enrolled in university to take a degree in astrophysics," the hunky hound declares, "so I kind of fit it in around that." Yes, I bet you do.

His favourite operatic roles are the ones where he doesn't have to get into a character or a costume. Things like Nes Sun Dormer from Puccini's Turandot by Puccini, or traditional sacred songs like Hallelujah, also to be heard on a Leonard Cohen album. 

"Nobody wants all the boring bits like recitatertives," he points out.

Bad news for drooling dames: he's just moved in with his childhood sweetheart. One, two, three: AHHHH. 

Can we hope he'll dump her? Doesn't look that way to me. "Ceri's the best thing that ever happened to me," he says. "She's an angel. And she goes off like a skyrocket." 

All right, don't rub it in.

*** Before you get all interested in the new singing sensation from Wales, btw, Ivor Hardcastle is 500 per cent fiction. I'm thinking of making him the hero of my next novel, Fifty-Seven Varieties of Tenor.