William Christie, that national treasure for all those who love classical music, is celebrating the 30th birthday of his awesome ensemble Les Arts Florissants.
And one of the coolest things about Uncle Bill?
When I ask which singers he most admires I'm expecting a list of sopranos and tenors, but initially he mentions the great Arab singer Oum Kalthum, who died in 1975. "She had fabulous coloratura, the tuning was amazing: my tongue was out in sheer slobbering adulation." The other singer he admires is Aretha Franklin. "One of the best experiences in my life was going to New York to hear her. I would give an entire career to have done half of what she's done."