From Donna Leon’s novel, Aqua Alta:
“If we’re going to talk about San Francisco, then I think I need at least champagne.” She sat down facing them and took something too big to be called a sip from her glass.
Brunetti gave her an inquiring glance, and she rushed to explain. “I was singing there. Tosca. God, what a disaster.” In a gesture so conciously theatrical it mocked itself, she placed the back of her hand to her forehead, closed her eyes for a moment, then continued. “We had a German director who had a ‘concept.’ Unfortunately, his concept was to update the opera to make it relevant,” which word she pronounced with special contempt, “and stage it during the Romanian Revolution, and Scarpia was supposed to be Ceaucescu, or however that terrible man pronounced his name. I was still supposed to be the reigning diva, but of Bucharest, not Rome.” She draped the hand over her eyes at the memory but forged ahead. “I remember that there were tanks and machine guns, and at one point I had to hide a hand grenade in my cleavage.”
“….[the man who played Scarpia] I think he was a real Romanian–I certainly never understood a word he said” She paused a moment and then added, “Or sang.”
Brett interrupted to correct her. “He was Bulgarian, Flavia.”
Flavia’s wave, even encumbered with the glass, was airily dismissive. “Same thing, cara. They all look like potatoes and stink of paprika. And they all shout so, especially the sopranos.”
This is a much more delightful quote if you use Capote’s voice to read it….