Sunday, November 28, 2010

Meeting Roberto Alagna

Somehow, in the 1960's, we all became groupies. We'd head backstage like detectives, seeking out our heroes of the rock music world, or the theatre world, or the poets of our young dreams. We'd stake out hotels, lobbies, even sometimes airports (remember the Beatles:::???!!!), to catch a glimpse of a mythic guitar player. Life was good. Backstage was where it was at. No waiting in lines at the front door, to get into a concert; we knew doormen, bouncers, body guards. We got in. It was a life behind the velvet ropes, all through the New York disco years, too. While the b&t hordes (that's bridge and tunnel to those who don't remember) flaunted polyester and gold chains to be admitted to the hallowed grounds of Studio 54, or some other club of reckoning, we tromped past the crush, with a wave to the doorman, and waltzed in. Everywhere. No lemmings we. Never followers, rather we forged ahead of the pack, and found an empty seat on a sagging sofa in the dressing room, and camped out with our heroes. While some were there for sex, others were just there to revel in the glory of the moment, and the glow of someone so talented that magic music emanated from their very souls. Ah, life was sweet.
On Monday night I had a flashback moment. A group of French opera lovers came over to see Don Carlo at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, with their much loved Roberto Alagna singing the star role. Apparently, they go everywhere to see his performances: Monte Carlo, Vienna, anywhere a plane, train, or car will take their Roberto- loving selves. Adorable, really. They're all friends from Facebook , so thank you! technology.
Imagine the Met, fraught all year with new construction, so that everything is in a different place. Finding the Stage Door, and sailing past the waiting fans was different, when in the wake of the French Cadre. They knew where, and how, and almost made it into the vestibule, when the guard couldn't find all their names on the list. My job, at that point, was to use all those years of groupie experience, and make it happen. As the translator (ahem), I informed the guard that they had flown all the way from France, and were friends of Roberto. Definitely not as much resistance as backstage with the Rolling Stones.
Roberto was in the vestibule , just in front of his dressing room, already showered, changed, dressed, and as charming as he could possibly be. The sea of short , frosted hairdos stretched in front of us, as we waited for our turn at the altar of Roberto. He , with Marcel (secretary, bodyguard, personal assistant,manager) by his side, talked to everyone. Signed everything. Posed for any and all pictures....Roberto is a one man pr firm, spreading good will and smiles to all.
Yes, I even got my picture taken with the sainted one.....and as soon as my friend downloads it and sends it to me, I'll get to relive that instant.
Not quite like the 70's, but pretty darn close, I'll tell you.

Poster thanks to my Facebook friend, Solange Van de Vyvere ,who graciously gave me permission to use this latest creation of hers.

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