04 April 2005

the ring cycle surprise...

This actually has nothing to do with the actual Ring Cycle, but at the performance of Die Walkure one of my greatest dreams came true.

I turned around at the first intermission and standing there was Renee Fleming. She not only is probably the reigning soprano in the opera world today but my personal favorite. One year I saw her 5 times: twice at the Lyric, once at Ravinia, once in Paris and once at a Chicago Symphony recital with Barenboim. I'm not a stalker but I think her voice is like butter. Her latest album of Handel music is perfection.

At the second intermission I became unreasonable and approached her. [I don't like to be an intruder with famous people. I've met many from Walter Matthau to June Anderson to Sir Richard Attenborough from having worked at one of Chicago's previous best resaurants - Jimmy's Place - and they are all regular people who need their privacy. It might seem lame but it's how I think.]

She walked by me and all I said was, "Excuse me. May I just say thank you?" Her response was, "How very sweet." I then said, "Especially for the new Handel. It's become my favorite. I've almost worn it out." She responded with, "Mine, too."

That was it. Short. Sweet. Simple. I said exactly what I wanted.

I wonder if anyone ever does "thank" artists for what they do. I know that in watching the famous people I've met over the years, everyone seems to "gush" over them, ask for autographs, or make comments about what they have seen or heard. I have thanked a number of those I have had the good fortune to meet but mostly I have only interacted with them as individuals. [Sir Richard Attenbourough was a stitch!] I guess that is why I view them as people first and famous second.

Actually, the only time I got excited about meeting someone and asked for an autograph, Jimmy, my boss, and my co-workers were really stunned. The autograph? Franz Grundheber! Huh?

I'll leave it up to you to find out who he is...

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