Here is a question and answer session with Ivan Rebroff, an international singing group - he sings in five octaves, seven languages and assorted styles and accents - who will perform folksongs Saturday night at Constitution Hall.
The reason there is only one question is that he also talks.
Q: Five oct aves
A: No. Sometimes. Only on holidays. Maria Callas - she was my neighbor when I was in 'Fiddler on the Roof' in Paris - she had four tones higher and four tones deeper than she sang on stage, but she said that is just for security, you must have something in reserve. I never use more than three-and-a-half, four octaves. When I was a boy, I sang in the St. Thomas boy's choir in Leipzig, boy soprano, and I never lost soprano. But when I was 13, 14, every week I had one more deeper note, and the next week, one more deeper, and I thought 'Where is this going to end'
"I am absolutely not German. I have some wonderful golden words about this. My father was Jewish, from Siberia, my mother from southern Russia, religious, in Christianity. I was manufactured in Siberia, that is for sure. I was born in a German railway station at 7:10. My parents were on their way from Moscow to Paris. I was premature, seven months. My mother felt bad, but said it was not the time, but it was the time. She to off the train. I was born in Spandau. They decided to stay there; I should be registered. I say I was born in Germany, education in Switzerland and France, and I live now on a 747.
"I have no home, no family, I am a lonely boy. Last year in 366 days (Rebroff's height, weight, voice and years are bigger than anyone else's - and so apparently are audience's enthusiasm sometimes though not always shared by concert hall critics), I spent 435 on tour. I adore this life. In the war, my mother and I were always jumping around. In the complete breakdown of Europe, we just kept moving, with two trunks. She would say, 'Are we all right? Are we in a good moody? Yes - we have nothing to eat, but we are in a good mood. So I never changed my style of life. I still go from one town to another with two trunks, but not so poor. Now I say, 'I would like to have turkey tonight - but only the breast.'
"I have a house on Skopelos. When I was a child, I learned old Latin and old Greek, so I am a Greek fan. I love to eat garlic and onions; in Greece. I stink all the time. I can't do that in civilization.
"Hanging around people is not interesting. I am more interesting for other people than other people are maneaters. They say, 'Lets have lunch, let's have dinner, let's have some friends in,' and you waste time. To waste time is to lose time. I like to go to the museums, the libraries, the zoological gardens. When I was 15, I wanted to be a zoologist.
"I am very healthy and very happy. My mother said see in all things, first of all the best. If you lose one eye, you can look to people who have two eyes and say poor me, or you can look to those who are completely blind. Even in the darkest situation of your life, you never know if it is good. The first time I was in South Africa. I did 15 concerts and then I got the flu, terrible flu, when I had 45 to go. Fourteen days in bed. But I had only three records out in South Africa, and the next year, when I did the tour, I had 12 records out, and was well known and sold out. That couldn't have happened the year before.
"So you see? You never know - nobody knows - what is good. The best could happen. "Goodbye."