Birgit here. I may not be with you any longer but I am still watching, oh yes.
Some of you may know that when I was around I worked as hard as anyone, hitting all those horrible high notes and trying to look as if I thought Turandot had enough brains to pass a driving test on a donkey.
Somehow, I made a lot of money. I never asked for it. They threw it me, like bouquets. Maybe they couldn’t find anyone to sing so loud and high.
Anyway, I put some of the money into the farm and the rest into a prize. Well, why not? It might encourage others to do some good in this frustrating art.
So what happens? They give my prize to a conductor.
A conductor? A stick on Cuban heels. An anatomical appendage (it’s shorter in Swedish) with ego. A third wheel on a bicycle. An efterthought.
What for? So he can buy himself a new train set? Or the whole of Alitalia? Or a month in a monastery for Signor Berlusconi.
Why did these ants in pants give a million of my high notes to a man who can’t pass wind without a stick in his hand?
For heaven’s sake, Birgit Nilsson had many faults but she never put up with nonsense from that direction. Did the judges never read what I wrote about Karajan – ‘he was just using us’ – or Solti – ‘too slow’ – or any of the rest of the bigshots?
One of the panel, the British critic Christiansen – a closet Dane? – is a Muti fan. ‘I can scarcely wait to hear him conduct Macbeth at Salzburg this summer,’ he tells Daily Telegraph readers. Well bully for him, but who goes to see Verdi for the fellow who’s beating time? It’s singers that make it happen. The rest is decorative.
They had better watch out, those judges. I may be elsewhere but I can still hurl a thunderbolt and cause damage. These are Birgit’s kronor you are tossing about like confetti. Birgit does not like that.
She is having coffee with Kirsten this morning. We have time between rehearsals. We will take stock. Be warned. We will, as that nice Mr Mercury suggested the other day at the Celestial Brits, we will rock you.