Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Meet the Three new Tenors

Here they are, fresh from today's Independent. They may not be The Three together as yet - but they are the best.

We had a little flurry about this here on JDCMB not long ago, and it was all good clean fun. Trouble is, when their individual discs hit my desk recently - each in a snazzily designed shiny folder with video material, huge pics (very nice too) and all the rest - it seemed just a little too much of a coincidence. What exactly was Universal thinking of? It's not hard to guess.

This started off as speculation, plus a little wistful thinking - I'd love to hear my three top chaps sing side by side. What opera fan wouldn't? They're some of the loveliest voices on earth, and Florez and Kaufmann especially have provided some of my best-ever musical memories.

But what worries me now, after speaking to some guys from Universal yesterday, is that it may even be true.

When Domingo, Pavarotti and Carreras hit the trail, each of them was big enough and fulfilled enough artistically to withstand it. One critic I spoke to, who eventually didn't make it into the article, pointed out that certain singers (notably a soprano or two) don't care how long their voices last, but just want to do stadiums and make as much money as they can as quickly as possible. He felt that at least two of my three are much more serious artists than that and will want to be in the profession for the long haul.

But the long haul isn't the fashion. Squeeze 'em now and hang the consequences, that's the industry today. Instant gratification. And all that crap. We know this already, of course, and I think Florez and Kaufmann are strong enough, fine enough and sensible enough to plan otherwise; and hopefully it's not too late for Villazon.

I don't know about you, but I want to be at Covent Garden hearing Kaufmann sing Otello in 15 or 20 years' time. I want to watch Florez, as he gets middle-aged, grow into Rodolfo. I still want to be writing then, too, assuming I'm still alive. Long-term thinking should be what it's all about. Like a good marriage. Or sensible finance management that doesn't land the world in a credit crunch.

Today's hype-em-up, squeeze-em-dry, pay-em-trillions then chuck-em-out-into-landfill mentality totally misses the point of being on the planet. If it means we get rid faster of certain phony artists who shouldn't be there at all, then OK - but real beauty, real artistry, deep creativity, is a living entity that grows like a rose garden if you take care of it, and makes life worth living for everyone who comes into contact with it.

Blimey, guv. Time for a cold shower and a headache pill.