lunes, 31 de agosto de 2015

Listening test: Interview with Donna Leon

In this week's listening test we are going to listen to seven excerpts of a BBC interview with American crime writer Donna Leon. Listen and match each of the headings A to I with its corresponding extract. There are two headings you do not need to use.

A - Attitude to life
B - Describing a hero
C - Family life
D - Not in control of everything
E – Discussing a project
F - The story of a failure
G - True character
H - Two jobs
I - What a town is like

… is a Venitian, Venitian, Venitian whose, I’d like to think, intelligent, articulate, humorous, well-educated, well- read in the classics, whose job it is to investigate crimes of some importance that are committed in these books supposedly in Venice but crimes like these seldom happen in Venice.

He’s married to a nice, intelligent woman. He has two decent kids. He lives well. He eats well. His wife is a university professor. They talk about books, they talk about literature, they talk about art, they talk about painting, not because these are snobbish people but because this is what people at that level of education talk about, I think.

I think that cynical is too strong a word. I really do. I think that they are resigned and accept, because Italians are very good at this, they’re resigned to accept human nature as it is. They have no illusions about human nature or human society or human politics, so they are distressed to find that things don’t work, but things don’t work.

I still believe that the bulk of the Italians that I’ve, I know that the bulk of the Italians I chat with are decent, hard-working people and I believe that that is true of most of the people in the country, but I believe that Pollyana-like of most people. I think most people are basically good, otherwise we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t be able to wake up every morning safely in our beds. I think that Italians just don’t have illusions about human behaviour, and they don’t attempt to perpetuate them.

I think, what I provide, I like to think what I provide is a view of Venice that is not romanticized, that is not transmuted into some Disneyland idea of the magic fairy city, the beauty, beauty, beauty place. Venice is a small provincial town where people gossip, they gossip about people’s grandfathers, they gossip about people’s fathers. Everybody knows everybody. There are no secrets. It’s really a small town, 58,000 people, that is disguised as a cultural hub and a sophisticated modern city. It’s none of those things.

It’s probably easier to write a detective novel because you just sit in your desk and you go on until it’s done. But with an opera first you have to decide which one. Then you have to figure out who to sing the different parts, and then who to play in the orchestra and then you have to find out who of them is free. Then you have to find the place to record, you have to find the recording company, and then you have to find places that will agree to take it as a concert because in order for any opera recording today to be made it must be able to defray some of the cost by a concert tour which will get back some of the money spent for the recording.

I had lunch with people from the BBC yesterday. We’ve been talking with increasing agreement for the last couple of years and I’m reasonably optimistic that this will happen in the next couple of years, that the BBC will produce them, and I’m very enthusiastic about that.

1B 2C 3A 4G 5I 6H 7E