Every evening, you are nervous before going on the stage. It's that kind of nervosity because of the responsibility. You know, right now, everybody that goes to the theater, they are coming because you are singing, you know, more or less. And you have the responsibility to make things well, to make things happening right. And there is so much preparation before on my part. And there's so much anxiety on their part also. They get the tickets. They know, "Well, that day, we will have to go, so we have to get ready, we have to . . ." You know? It's a lot of anticipation before a performance. So when the lights go down, the opera starts, and you come out, this magic has to happen. It is essential that you are fine.

I guess once you are in front of the public and you feel you are fine, you start to get the security, and you start to get enthusiastic. And you say, "Okay, it's going to be good." You cannot let yourself be destroyed by the nervousness. You have to dominate it, and you do it. Ninety-five percent of the time you dissolve it, because you are fine, you know what to do, and experience works. It is only that 5 percent of the time that maybe you are not feeling that well -- because you have a little bit of a cold, or you are tired, or whatever. That 5 percent of the time is hell.

You know, I don't like to know who is out there. I like to feel the vibrations, but I don't like to see faces. I love their presence. I know that they are there. It's a tremendous concentration, you know? And me, giving, taking and giving. This kind of communion is one of the most beautiful things. When they come there during these three hours, they leave their problems outside the theater. They come, and there's magic -- of the work, going to any past centuries. So you are able to experience this with them, to live this moment. To live in different centuries, to be a cardinal, to be a soldier, to be a poet, you know, to be a thief, to be a king, whatever, you know . . . a painter . . . anything!

-- Interview by Patricia Murret