By Troy Patterson
May 24, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

Inez

C

The conductor Gabriel Atlan-Ferrara feels a passion for the lyric soprano Inez Prada. We know that this passion is destined to be grand because the maestro is possessed of ”a black, curling mane” and ”infinitely sensual lips,” while the diva’s waist is ”at once noble and amused” and ”the gentle and firm coast of the map of pleasure.” Between 1940 and 1967, the pair meet a few times to perform Berlioz’s Faust, twice in London and once in stormy Mexico City: ”The treetops were swaying softly in the hours after the rain, funneling the docile powers of the heavens from their leaves.” Reaching for the operatic, the distinguished Mexican novelist Fuentes instead seizes a tone fit for an overwrought bodice-ripper.

Inez

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