Victor Borge: Hands Off!

Written by Alexey Lavrov


In category: Song of the Day

Published January 20, 2017

Today’s video I’d like to dedicate to all the pianist and coaches who worked with me. I want to express my gratitude for their hard work, knowledge, affection for singers, patience, and their sense of humor. I realize how much they have to love us singers to tolerate all our whims. Without these wonderful professionals, opera singers wouldn’t reach perfection. I’d like to use this opportunity to confess my love and boundless gratitude to all of them.

I’ve chosen this video because the sense of humor is a significant value in our profession and life in general. Our profession is so subjective that if one takes all the difficulties, criticism and advice all the time seriously, it’s easy to get lost or confused. One needs a filter like the sense of humor. I think it’s much better to walk through life with a smile.

Besides that, this scene with Victor Borge and Marilyn Mulvey reminds me of the first years of working together with my wife, Ekaterina Deleu, who also is my pianist and coach. By now she has established herself as the principal partner, consultant and my “ears”. But at the first steps of our partnership we looked very much like Borge and Mulvey in this video, each of us trying to grab the biggest piece of the pie 🙂

Victor Borge was a talented showman, a virtuoso pianist and a great comedian. And comedy is a genre that needs specific skills. It’s not for nothing that a clown role is considered one of the hardest in the actor’s world. To make audience laugh one has to be smart, to know the core of human nature, to possess tact, measure and, of course, talent. In all, I think comedy demands more acting abilities than tragedy to be believable. I love a good laugh and enjoy comic roles, but there is one particular challenge: to learn not to play to the audience. In order to achieve this I’m using a technique called “loneliness in public”, one of the basic skills in the Russian acting school. The main idea of it is to forget about the audience, concentrate on the character’s motives and circumstances and do everything in earnest, disregarding how comic (in case of a comedy) it looks on the outside. Performing in a comedy also makes me happy because the rehearsals always bring good spirit and shared joy.

I’m sure that many of you know this recording and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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Baritone Alexey Lavrov returns this season to the Metropolitan Opera as Schaunard in La Bohème, Silvio in Pagliacci and Malatesta in Don Pasquale. The recent graduate of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist program shone in NYFOS’ 2015 concert Letters from Spain, after which he was hailed by The New York Times for his “riveting interpretation…dramatic fervor and characterful nuance.” Come hear Alexey in NYFOS’s Pyotr the Great: The Songs of Tchaikovsky & His Circle on Jan 22 in DC and Jan 24 in NYC.


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