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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Opera on The Green

You could have knocked me down with a feather when I found a whole page in the Sunday Times Culture magazine about opera singer William Shimell.

When I was at BBC Radio Devon, I had to interview him. I got him to sing for me and his voice was so powerful I had to stand outside the room to stop the needle on my Uher going into the red.

He was very good looking and charming, and lived fairly locally in Kingsand. Kingsand is just "across the water" from Plymouth in Cornwall and to my mind, one of the last undiscovered gems. A lot of the houses in the windy streets are second homes, which is sad but inevitable, but it's a pretty little place and untarnished with the usual "emmet" spoils of Cornish tourism.

My mum Giz and I usually go to Kingsand and its sister village Cawsand once a year. We always wander up to The Green, where passers-by can occasionally thrill to Bill giving an impromptu recital. We're not opera buffs by any means. We went to see Carmen in the Theatre Royal and Giz fell asleep and had her programme snatched from her lap. Never again!

After my interview, I looked out for mentions of Bill in every opera review, but never found any. The Sunday Times article explains why. He is very famous internationally and has been one of the defining dons of his age, performing Don Giovanni and Don Alfonso many times. But for some reason he was not asked to do the roles in his home country.

Now he is appearing in a film, aged 57, for the first time ever. "Certified Copy" with Oscar winner Juliette Binoche and William Shimell is out on Friday. It sounds intriguing, and nothing to do with opera. Shimell doesn't get to sing one note.  Here's a review from the Cannes film festival from The Guardian. I will look out for this with interest.


William said...

Hi, sorry to see you've moved to London... I left Kingsand about 5 years ago but didn't move far and still do the concerts on the green when I'm home. Hope you like the movie... this review is quite nice..

sadly they are not all so kind!


Buggles Balham High Road said...

And the review in today's Times is very good too.