Star Tenor Throws Caution to the Wind at Frigid Niagara Falls
Daredevil tenor Rolando Villazón dazzled an audience of 50,000 shivering spectators when he decided to take the death-defying plunge down Niagara Falls in nothing more than an old whiskey barrel. This feat, which has been attempted only twenty times in history, and only twice successfully, beckoned to Mr. Villazón in his recent trip to nearby Toronto, Canada, where he recently participated in the Tenth Glenn Gould Prize Jury.
The star tenor, coming off of a stunning triumph in the title role of Mozart’s Lucio Silla during the Mozartwoche Festival in Salzburg, Austria, understandably exhibited the air of steely invincibility that is essential in attempting such a dangerous task.
The singer had initially thought to cross the span between the American and Canadian sides of the Falls on a tightrope, but decided that the trick was for babies.
Reporters from the Toronto press corps, aghast at the bold attempt, questioned the tenor about what could possibly induce him to risk life and limb to go down the Falls in a barrel, particularly in the dead of winter, dressed only in his overalls and a top hat.
Mr. Villazón explained that he was conducting research for a new directorial project, Così fan tutte in a Barrel, set to debut at next year’s Mozartwoche. The sparkling opera, loosely based on the classic Mozart comedy, tells the story of forbidden love set during the Prohibition Era against the backdrop of one of the natural wonders of the world. The tenor will take on the lead role of Ferrando “Moonshine” Jones, who smuggles illicit brew across the U.S.--Canadian border in his pa’s whiskey barrels whilst audaciously wooing heartless vixen, Dorabella from Hella, the daughter of his sworn enemy, Special Agent Eliot “Cupcake” Ness, all this under the clever guise of performing the stunt for gullible tourists.
Having survived the perilous dive, the tenor was accorded the high distinction of being named an honorary member of the prestigious Royal Canadian Mounted Police by the Mayor of Toronto. The new Mountie, an admittedly inexperienced horseman, regrettably found himself tossed by his spirited steed into an especially large snow drift, which was created by the third blinding blizzard to hit the city within the hour. The tenor, accustomed to transforming challenges into triumphs, seized the opportunity to make a snow angel, which won the grand prize at Toronto’s Annual Snow Angel Contest. The award—a staggering year’s supply of premium hockey pucks—could hardly have been bestowed on a more grateful winner.
The prized hockey pucks came in very handy when the tenor recognized that no trip to Canada would be complete without a whirl at the country’s national sport and, many would say, religion: ice hockey. Mr. Villazón acknowledged that this was his first time in ice skates, which may account for the fact that, upon being checked into the boards with unusual vehemence by a burly, ill-tempered opponent, he found himself catapulted into the crowd, where he happily signed autographs and sang “Oh, Canada” for the delighted throng.
As if he hadn’t impressed the citizens of Canada enough, the tenor astonished one and all with his skill in the art and science of moose-calling, in which he thoroughly excelled. Soon dubbed “The Moose Whisperer” by awe-stricken Canadians, Mr. Villazón demonstrated his uncanny ability to lure the gentle giants out of their wilderness habitats into the bustling streets of cosmopolitan Toronto. In spite of the admiration expressed by the general populace, the Mayor respectfully requested that Mr. Villazón curtail this activity, what with how messy the moose are and all.
“Is there anything Canadian that man can’t do, eh?” wondered the bedazzled Torontonians. “That man’s a Canadian through and through! Can we keep him here? There must be a way! Somebody grab his passport and stamp a maple leaf in it!” Enthusiastic fans were seen pursuing Mr. Villazón through Toronto International Airport, but the tenor cleverly avoided capture by pretending to be part of a group of elderly monks visiting from Tibet.
It should be noted that this is the second attempt in a matter of months that North Americans have attempted (unsuccessfully) to detain the tenor on this side of the Atlantic. Readers will recall that in October of 2012, Mr. Villazón narrowly escaped a brazen plot concocted by a group of over-zealous Americans who very nearly held him captive at Independence Hall in Philadelphia “for his own good.”
Rumors continue to swirl that the tenor is entertaining an offer from the city of Toronto to build him his own opera house and make him its artistic director. The star is reported to have been extremely impressed with the city and country as a whole, but the proximity of Toronto to upstate New York has given the tenor serious misgivings, what with the reputation that persists that the residents of the region are not altogether in their right minds when it comes to their admiration of his talents, nor, as many would say, in their right minds at all, for that matter.