“…There are standing ovations, and there are standing ovations. Those looking for one of the superlative kind would have witnessed an example last Sunday evening, when Dmitri Hvorostovsky walked to the front of the Metropolitan Opera’s stage…”
Anyone who is a fan of Dmitri Hvorostovsky knows he is a a super-star the likes of which opera acquires perhaps once in a generation. I can name three: Enrico Caruso, Beverly Sills, and Luciano Pavarotti. His fan base realizes what a star he is – in Europe. But, to the average American, he is just another Russian, right? If you truly don’t know what a star he actually is, last Sunday, during the Metropolitan Opera’s 50 Years at the New Met Gala, we were subjected to a public relations demonstration usually reserved for the likes of Madonna, Lady Gaga, or other little pop culture twits.
Within an hour of his appearance, on stage, the headlines began circulating in the cities. Two hours later there were more sites with the headline. The process became fascinating to watch, as the news that Dmitri Hvorostovsky had made a surprise appearance at the gala began to go viral. By morning, every single major publication in the US, UK, and Russia had the news. Smaller outlets like Boulder, Tucson, Iowa City, and so forth and so on were also pushing the story. The links are continuing, a week later.
This is something reserved for the gods, not mere mortals. Dmitri Hvorostovsky is one of the deities of opera. There aren’t many, but he is one of them. Sunday he transcended opera and became one of the all-time greats.
The past few weeks I’ve been able to break the long drought and celebrate our favorite operatic super-star, first with the concert in Toronto, and then, magically, at the Met’s 50th celebration of the new Met.
Not long after his triumph at the Met, his fans received word that two additional concerts had been added to his schedule. They are both make-up concerts which had been been canceled after he became so ill with pneumonia last Christmas. According to one source, his publicist has been quite silent his health. From gossip out of Russia, he was terribly ill, to the point where they feared he would not recover from the pneumonia.
Several of the critics in New York mentioned that he appeared a little shaky and his breath control wasn’t want it should be. From what I’ve been able to ascertain he was hospitalized until nearly February. I don’t know if the critics have ever dealt with pneumonia, but I have. One year I was down with it from February 15 to May 10. With the exception of a single trip to the doctor, I did not leave my grandparents’ home from February 15 until nearly the end of March. When I did, I was so tired I was unable to do anything – much – for weeks. Frankly, I would not have been able to do what he did, including a concert in Toronto two weeks before the Met appearance, and I was not undergoing treatment for cancer.
I don’t know about you, but I could care less about the music and the opera when it comes to the health of a good man who has a wife and four children. All I care about is that he recovers and is there for them. He remains in my prayers.