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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Classical music's agony aunt, ALICE McVEIGH,
deals with problems of food and light ...

Dear Alice,

I'm a soprano and my boyfriend is a baritone. We have a terrific relationship and he's very supportive (which I try to be too). But something really annoys me, and I wondered what you think about it. Whenever we're both singing, he can wolf down whole Indian meals before the show while if I eat anything larger than a single prawn twenty-four hours before the voice is in action I sound like the personification of dry rot. Am I right to question his eating habits, or am I being over-particular about mine?

With thanks in advance,
LP, Wales

Dear ancient record,

I've read yours several times, and I still can't see the problem.

You have this great baritone (I love baritones) who is (even) very supportive of your singing. (This, by the way, is unheard of. Baritones by law have to be self-serving gits who only care that their costumes do their legs justice.)

And what you're worried about -- correct me if I've got this wrong -- is that he finds he can eat more than you can on the day of a performance. I mean, so what? Men can always eat more than women. Study after study has conclusively proven that men can eat x many calories a day, and women only y many, without turning into something only remotely of interest to helium-balloon-sellers.

In other words, baritones (and even tenors) can always eat more than sopranos, stands to reason. You are worried about bulging out of the corset of your costume. He is worried that his tummy may rumble. Since when did men and women have the same worries????

Still, I have been to all the fuss and bother of researching your query, and my understanding is that there may even be some justification for the pigging out of your nearest and dearest. The male vocal cords are apparently less susceptible to the general gunging-up that occurs with the smaller, daintier vocal c's of the rest of us. Hence, although he may have to watch his waistline more than you do in years to come, your boyfriend is otherwise in the clear, and, frustrating as it may be to watch him stashing away the naan bread, the lamb rogan josh etc etc before he sings, you stick like glue to the carrots and cauliflower ... And cheer up, bearing in mind that the twin delights of caffeine and alcohol are equally deletorious to the performances of sopranos and baritones alike ...

(Mine's a chicken jalfrezi ...)

Ask Alice

Dear Alice,

How many cellists does it take to change a lightbulb?

HG, Kent

Dear HG,

Ten. One to change it, and nine to think they might have changed it rather better ...

Yours (off to practice for my cello solo on Saturday)

Copyright © 7 November 2003 Alice McVeigh, Kent, UK



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