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2012.04 – Interview Grange Park Opera

WARM WOOLLEN MITTENS…SIMON KEENLYSIDE (BARITONE)

1. Your favourite piece of machinery:
The tractor.  The sheer variety of jobs it can encompass makes it a wonder!  And when you consider the revolution that the horse brought to the land… the tractor is indefatigable.

2. The greatest invention in history (excluding above):
The wheel?  But I’m not sure why.  The internal combustion engine?  Glass?  The ship?

3. Favourite symphonic work (no singing in it please):
Has always been Beethoven 7.  Visceral and – coming from an atheist – palpably like a man… with his feet firmly planted in the earth…but straining with every fibre of his ecstatic being, to touch the face of god.

4. Apart from home, your favourite city just now and why:
Not much a fan of cities.  Ultimately for the comfort of living and the babylon of nationalities and cultures there is no city for me that compares to New York.  I’m happy there.  A mongrel… in a city of mongrels.

5. A pre-performance ritual:
I like to have a quiet and peaceful day before what will be an evening of mayhem when I must have my wits and my voice about me.

6. The dead composer you would most like to chat to:
I would love to have talked to Hugo Wolf.  Yes he was manic and ended up in a lunatic asylum.  I’ve often walked in the woods outside Vienna where some of these wonderful works were written.  I’d love to repeat those walks with Hugo Wolf.

7. The most beautiful railway journey you have done:
The hour-long journey along the estuary… from Swansea… past Llanelli, Ferryside… and ending up in Carmarthen

8. Kung Fu Panda or Ratatouille? Who is the greater hero?
Kung Fu Panda.  Wouldn’t you like to be able to bounce around without any respect to gravity?

9. In which past age would you prefer to have lived: 1083 (Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine), 1492 (Columbus sailed the ocean blue), 1897 (Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee)? And where?
I would go for the world at its least explored.  I would go for 1083.  What mysteries… myth… legends… adventures.  What travels to places unknown to any man.  (For that and not for the headdresses and court life).  I would prefer to have a suitcase full of antibiotics, all the same.

Next interview 2012.06, Prolog, Magazine of Vienna Staatsoper, Die Kunst des Auslotens >>>

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