“Memories “Handeled” Well !”


“Ah yes, I remember it well….”

Charles Handelman
Memories from a “profound” Bass and curator of one of the most informative websites on opera, “ Handelmania” and “Handelmania Podcasts” are a treasure chest of information and a true labor of love.
Mr. Handelman is in possession of a really authentic Bass voice that he shares in many musical performances all over the Tri-State area. God bless you dear, Charlie.

When I try to think back to what made me a total “opera monster,” my first recollection is the 1948 film, “Luxury Liner,” with Lauritz Melchior (and a terrible wig) in the Aida Nile Scene. I had already become enamored of classical music, but opera was something new to me; however,there must have been something glamorous about it, and coincidentally the first opera I lugged home from the record lending library was the 1929 Aida with Pertile.
How I did not get a hernia from all those 78’s, I will never know.
Coincidentally, at age 15, a friend took me to my first opera…AIDA again..and it has remained my favorite ever since. I think that after that I began purchasing LP’s (remember them?) and one of the first was the Carmen excerpts with Rise Stevens, who was also the first artist I ever met live.   To this DAY, I can feel the greasepaint on her hand as she shook it,as if she knew me.
Then came my totally wearing out the RCA Trovatore with Zinka Milanov, and finally,in 1954, at age 18, I discovered something called the “standee line” at the old Met, and found that there were more nuts like me.  When Zinka opened her mouth at my first Forza, I was sold forever. It was definitely SHE who totally captivated me, and I was never the same.  To this day,  she remains my all-time favorite singer.
           I believe that we have within us a certain passion for music,or sports, or whatever lies within us..and this is hard to explain.Perhaps it is in the genes,although my mother, a Follies dancer, was surely not an opera lover (although she became one very quickly when I introduced her to Renata Tebaldi!!). I have been listening to  opera now for over 50 years, and it never fails to thrill me when those chandeliers come up, the lights dim, and the conductor enters.There is simply NOTHING like it, and I am grateful that I discovered opera,for my life would not be “complete” without it.

14 august,2006

~ by aprilemillo on June 25, 2007.