Archive for January 2011

Bouncing Tosca — urban myth?

January 17, 2011

Anyone who works in opera dreads the moment when a non-operatic person says ‘I know a good story…’ and it always turns out to be the one about the time when Tosca did her suicide leap from the battlements at the end of Puccini’s opera, only to reappear to the audience’s sight as she bounced up again on a trampoline.

This is re-told in so many books of musical and operatic anecdotes, without attribution, that one naturally assumes it is an urban legend (along with the elephants falling through the stage in Aïda, or that awful pidgin-English synopsis of Carmen).

However… the other day, I met a distinguished gentleman (while waiting for the long-delayed start of the dress rehearsal of The Barber of Seville at the Royal Opera House – but that’s another story).  He started telling me his Tosca story, and my heart sank… until he said he had actually been there.  Heaven knows when it was – 1950s, I’d guess – but it was at the Vienna State Opera, the Tosca in question was soprano Ljuba Welitsch (‘not a small lady’) and the conductor was Herbert von Karajan (‘who was not at all amused’).  Whether it was a natural bounce or some disaffected person had substituted a trampoline for the regular pile of mattresses, history does not relate.

So now you know.  Next time someone starts telling you the old Tosca story, you can say, ‘Yes, I know.  It was…’

2010 in review

January 4, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 7,700 times in 2010. That’s about 19 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 17 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 118 posts. There were 24 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 11mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was April 23rd with 193 views. The most popular post that day was a poem for St George’s Day by Brian Patten.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were en.wordpress.com, facebook.com, reedrage.co.uk, jonathanburton.co.uk, and mail.yahoo.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for renault floride, facel vega hk 500, e type, facel vega, and st george’s day poems.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

a poem for St George’s Day by Brian Patten April 2008
4 comments

2

What’s the most beautiful car of all time? November 2007
6 comments

3

The Most Beautiful Car of All Time (Part 2) March 2008
2 comments

4

King’s Theatre, Southsea July 2008
2 comments

5

Subtitles and Surtitles August 2007