From a Journal, Characters and Issues

by Jay Nordlinger

On the homepage today, we have the second and final installment of my “Salzburg Journal” (here). I talk a bit about Joseph Calleja, the Maltese tenor. Indeed, he made an album of that title: The Maltese Tenor. In Salzburg, he sang with Plácido Domingo, a former tenor who enjoyed some success, now a baritone. I also talk about Teodor Currentzis, the unusual and phenomenal Greek conductor. And many other characters and issues.

Here’s one item:

There are Jehovah’s Witnesses about — faithfully offering their literature. I have always sympathized with them. Now that they have been banned in Russia — I have more sympathy than ever. I admire their willingness to stand for their faith.

Here’s another:

I also see Mormons, a pair of them, with their white shirts and their name tags. “Elder” So-and-so, each name tag says. These guys look so very young. They must have balls of brass, to do what they do. I admire them as well.

This afternoon, a reader has written me,

I chuckled at your description of the Mormon missionaries. As a former “Elder” — I did my time in Norway (one reason I enjoy your Oslo journals) — I can tell you that sheer terror is the norm. You should check out the language center in which missionaries-to-be train. After only six weeks, they’re thrown into the world with nascent language skills and fear and trembling. Somehow it works!

If you’d like to read a little music criticism, I have two posts for you: this one, on Krassimira Stoyanova, the Bulgarian soprano, and this one, on a performance of Ariodante, the Handel opera, with Cecilia Bartoli in the title role.

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