The Corner

Derb’s Coup

I don’t know how many syllables “coup” has in Alabama, but I just scored

one. Since getting acquainted with Jay Nordlinger, who knows more about

music than anyone I have ever met, read, or heard about, I have had the

ambition to go to an opera with him. My own musical knowledge is slight and

my opera tastes low

(though that

didn’t prevent me writing a novel about opera). Still I am

keen to improve my understanding and enjoyment, and I believe that having

Jay Nordlinger sit next to me through a performance will do that, if only by

a kind of osmosis, some molecules of Jay’s critical genius leaking across

the arm rest to me. And there is always, of course, the additional hope

that he might duscuss the performance with me afterwards, pointing out the

highs and lows. Well, Jay just e-mailed me asking if I would like to

accompany him to see THE BARBER OF SEVILLE at the Met this Friday. Would I!

I shall give a full report on The Corner next Monday.

Now I have taken down my copy of Francis Toye’s biography of Rossini, which

has one of the best opening sentences of any book I know: “To the best of

my belief there is no demand whatever for a life of Rossini in English.” To

Jay, I will only say what Milton said to his muse:

What in me is dark, illumine;

What is low, raise and support…


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