You are here:   Classics > Mozart and the Mob

Singers spend an inordinate amount of time travelling and staying in hotels. While rock stars are reputed to — and maybe contractually required to — trash their luxury suites, whiling away the nights, and probably days, between gigs in an orgy of drink, drugs and, well, orgy, classical singers in their more modest accommodation pursue a quieter life in which rest plays an enormous role.

The physical requirements of the unamplified voice are neurosis-inducing, and the question of how to fill the downtime is perennial. I’ve always read a lot, but sometimes reading is just that little bit too strenuous. I used to watch CNN a lot, but the endless ­repetition of the increasingly extruded and etiolated news cycle was, in the end, too much. For me, as for many other travellers, the DVD has been a godsend, and the HBO series The Sopranos hit the spot. If I wasn’t OD-ing on drugs, drink and dissolution, at least I could quietly watch some other people doing it.

When, as a distant echo from the depths of popular culture, I first became aware of The Sopranos, I did, of course, pathetically assume that it was about singers. It would be nice to pretend that The Sopranos was a ­television ­series about a hard-bitten gang of coloraturas and mezzos, who indulge themselves in a spot of casual violence, racket­eering and lap-dancing.

It was only when I read a long and appreciative essay review in the New York Review of Books a year or two back, that I realised that here was something not to be missed, and that the subject matter was the New Jersey Mob.

View Full Article

Post your comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.