This Week in Classical Music w/Randy Kinkel 7/24/19

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 Matilla: Twitter was a life-saver for me"


Ballerina comes back after 9 year battle





It’s this week in Classical Music; an update on what’s happening in the classical music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.

Twitter is not something that you would expect an opera Diva to gush over, but Opera Star Karita Mattila says it was a lifesaver for her.

The 58-year-old is having a late-career renaissance: she’s exploring a newly expanding repertoire and newfound celebrity on Twitter, where she is loved by some of opera’s most enthusiastic fans.

And she loves them right back. “These are such wonderful people, and I haven’t even met them!”

On Twitter, few opera stars are active beyond promoting their gigs — but Mattila posts, often with emoji, about everything, never shying from being political; she participates in polls; she shares her thoughts and Horror stories about restaurants.

While at home in Naples, Fla., she even posts selfies after her jogs in the Florida heat, because “I’ve decided to be me.”

“I used to be so overprotective of myself,” she said. “It’s time to start having faith.”

Ms. Mattila’s Twitter presence comes off as authentic and happy. But when she joined the social media platform last year, it was in a moment of crisis: her divorce. “Twitter was — maybe it’s dramatic — it was my lifesaver,” she said. “It really became my rescuer.”

Twitter has also redefined Ms. Mattila’s relationship with music. As a busy international artist, she had long thought she didn’t have the time to listen to music recreationally. But now, she says: “There are these guys that send me what they are listening to. It’s re-established my appreciation toward my own field.”


In the fall of 2014, ballet dancer Kathryn Morgan thought her comeback was almost complete.

Once a soloist at New York City Ballet, she was forced to leave the company in 2012 by an autoimmune disease that saw her hair fall out, her weight rise and her balance disappear.

What Morgan initially believed would be a few months of recovery became a nine-year ordeal.

"My joints started to hurt, my ankles started to hurt, I couldn't get my leg up as high," Morgan said. "My muscles started disintegrating as well. I would go up to pointe and suddenly I couldn't balance any more. It was terrifying."

It was her eighth doctor who eventually diagnosed Morgan with an autoimmune condition: Hashimoto's disease, also known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

After her marriage broke up, to deal with her pain, she returned to the ballet studio;  "I didn't go back thinking, 'I'm going to be a professional dancer.' It was just something for me to do that fed my soul," she said.

Without the pressure to return to her career that she once felt, Morgan saw surprising results. "Because I was not putting such a mental strain on myself to get back in shape, I did," she said. Her doctor was stunned."What happened?" she recalled him saying. "In eight years I haven't seen you look this good."

Morgan is now 30 -- young in any career but ballet, which often forces retirement before 40 thanks to years of relentless physical strain. "I'm not a beat up 30-year-old," she said. "Most ballerinas, by the time they get to 30, they've been doing this for several decades, but I had this big, long break where all my injuries healed. I wasn't pounding myself into the ground for the last decade."


For more on these and other items and events, go to the website, kbach dot org; you’ll find us under “podcasts”--follow us on FB, twitter and Instagram, don’t forget to add our Kbach mobile app to your phone or device; check out the Most Wanted Hour with Linda Cassidy, playing your top 100 classical picks.  I’m Randy Kinkel, for KBACH’s “This Week in Classical Music”.