Sunday, August 04, 2013

Interview with the devil

In 1930, Reizen went on a tour of the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre, sang Mephistopheles (Faust) and was immediately noticed by Stalin, who was a music and opera lover. He described a somewhat comical scene as he was invited to the official government box during the intermission, where, dressed as the Devil, he was introduced to Stalin. The dialogue went something like this: 

•  Thank you. 
•  Why don't you come here more often? 
•  You see, I sing in Leningrad and only visit here. 
•  Why not move here and visit there? 
•  You see, I have a contract there, and an apartment too… 
•  Perhaps we can do something and find you an apartment here. 

The following day and in typical Soviet style, he was surprised by the unannounced visit of an official car with a soldier, who was under orders to take him hunting apartments. This is how Mark Reizen was engaged at the Bolshoi.
•  You sing very well.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed your post. Since retiring I've learned just a smidgeon about opera (mainly through YouTube) and had found out that Russia is renowned for bass and basso profondo voices.

    I do know more about Stalin. A favorite quote is from Khrushchev when he said "when Stalin says dance, a wise man dances". Good advice indeed.