jane's blog

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mo. Aronovitch's Watch & Jane's Pants

Anecdotes are really a wonderful part of the fun, and I recount this experience, as, in creating Russian transliterations for my upcoming music anthology-to be published in May 2008-I have recently been in deep discussion about some of my Russian repertoire:
The Russian repertoire suits me and has been associated with me over the years, due to my being the first singer to win the Gold Medal in the famed International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, so I was not surprised, but still honored and challenged, at being invited to the noted Italian festival in Perugia, "Festivale di Sagra Umbra Perugia." This festival was founded by the noted Mo. Siciliani (then, Chief of the RAI Italiano-Italian Radio & Television-and Teatro alla Scala Milano, and the conceptual creator of the famed fall timed, "Festivale di Sagra Umbra Perugia").
Mo. Yuri Aronovitch (former Chief of the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra) knew me from my Russian triumph and asked Mo. Siciliani to engage me in the title part of Fevronia-in the original and antiquated Russian-in Rimsky-Korsakov’s "Invisible City of Kitish and the Maiden Fevronia," to be performed at the festival.
At a rehearsal, noticing Mo. Aronovitch’s extraordinary watch, I commented with glee and admiration, "Oh Yuri (first names are etiquette and custom in Russia), what a wonderful watch!" Whereupon, he took it off and handed it to me, saying: "In MY country when someone admires something, it means she wants it."
I said, "Yuri, we're not in YOUR country, we're in Perugia and I love your watch, but I don't want it", and I handed it back to him. He would have none of it and refused to accept this gorgeous thing back, so I gave it to the chambermaid in our hotel and asked that she put it in his room, only to find that he’d done the same, and I would find the watch back in my room.
This went on until I realized his resolve and stubbornness, so we continued intensely to work on the beautiful and massively long piece at hand (over 4 hours) and the episode was put aside for the moment.
I was, joyous to everyone, able to have the last laugh, however, when the cast decided to "dress" for a festive cast party, after the final performance at an unusually early hour for Italy-the performance having begun in very early evening.
I, then, wearing Kelly green slacks, a longish tunic and everything coordinated, entered the lobby of our hotel, where everyone was waiting, and Yuri said in a loud voice, "Oh Janetchka, what beautiful greeeeen pants!" Whereupon, I took them off, handed them to Yuri, and went to the party in my underwear and longish tunic. Everyone was screaming with laughter, having experienced the "watch" episode earlier in the rehearsal period, to say nothing of screaming at my impromptu outfit!
This story makes me laugh just recounting it. A wonderful scene and a fun resolution for all!

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