Grieving over celebrities.
February 27, 2019 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Before Leaving This Place. Olivia Giovetti relates her feelings after the passing of baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky and examines why celebrity deaths can hit us so hard. (VAN Magazine link; it's paywalled but you're allowed 2 free articles a month.)
posted by JanetLand (11 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
This is beautiful. Thanks for posting.
posted by wellred at 8:44 AM on February 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

That a great piece. I feel it, too; I didn't work with Hvorostovsky but I saw him perform I don't know how many times and I felt real grief when he died.
posted by holborne at 9:39 AM on February 27, 2019

Wow, that Cardiff performance.
posted by jouke at 10:08 AM on February 27, 2019

Great piece. One of my life's regrets is not seeing Hvorostovsky live before he died - I was a fan for over a decade, but always in recordings and filmed versions.

Ombra Mai Fu
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:15 AM on February 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Do enough emotional excavation, however, and eventually you realize the old adage is true: we don’t see things as they are, but rather as we are. This is well articulated, with several excellent insights. I discovered this amazing singer, just in time to see the end of his career. Russia has amazing music, Anna Netrebko the soprano, for one and Valery Gergiev the conductor, the duets and performances got me through a year of hard work and loss. What a bright star Hvorostovsky is, captured in our digital collective memory.
posted by Oyéah at 11:41 AM on February 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

As I've mentioned in another thread, it's strange when your sadness on the death of public figures doesn't line up with everyone else's. Prince's death for me was a moment of "oh right, everyone really loved Little Red Corvette in fourth grade. Is this a big deal?" Hvorostovsky, though I remember more of a punch in the gut at the movie broadcast of Trovatore when the white roses were thrown onstage in tribute than at his actual death, was a trip back to buying his recital discs when those were a thing and then to half a dozen roles at the Met, most of all his Onegin, better than which one couldn't really imagine.
posted by Smearcase at 1:32 PM on February 27, 2019

“Our feelings of connection to celebrities are not based on personal relationships but instead on our own identities,” writes Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt. Like this.
posted by es_de_bah at 4:03 PM on February 27, 2019

I wish I could have met Carrie Fisher, not that that was ever likely to happen. But once they die, all hope is gone.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:43 PM on February 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Wonderful essay, thank you for posting it.

Being more into choral voice than opera, this was the first Hvorostovsky piece I heard:

Apostol Nikolaev-Strumsky: The Great Doxology (St Petersburg Chamber Choir with soloist Dmitry Hvorostovsky)

The vibe of effortless mastery he exuded was something else. His version of Ombra mai fu is the definitive baritone for me. Great to hear that he was apparently a good person too.
posted by rollick at 2:16 AM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I wish I could have met Carrie Fisher, not that that was ever likely to happen. But once they die, all hope is gone.

To me, beyond the possibility of meeting them in person, it's their input that I miss. It's scary when people you admire pass away because you are not sure if there are any other smart people out there who have the charisma and are willing to use it for good. This was painfully obvious to me in the last few years, as all of a sudden a ton of smart but soulless people started gaining influence and competing to see who could be the biggest piece of shit (excuse me, "troll").

I hear you about Carrie Fisher, and I also felt this uncertainty when Terry Pratchett passed away, like the world was suddenly less compassionate and witty. It would have been such comfort to hear his interpretation of current events. Oh and Anthony Bourdain. They weren't perfect, but they felt like guides who had been through the worst of it and come out the other side.
posted by Tarumba at 10:15 AM on February 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

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