Music: Singing, with Love & Garlic

Opera singers, like athletes, are nuts for conditioning—only nuttier. Where Mickey Mantle may shag a few fly balls, Baritone Robert Merrill stands on his head. Where Mickey Wright will hit a few off the practice tee, Mezzo-Soprano Rosalind Elias gargles champagne and does a belly dance. And for a preperformance pick-me-up, singers will have none of that sissy business of pep talks. They eat garlic.

The cult of the opera singer, in fact, is spiced with more fads, phobias and superstitions than are found in most primitive cultures. The most persistent myth is that...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!