Here's a choice passage from Herbert Breslin and Anne Midgette's book The King and I, a riveting and darkly funny memoir of Breslin's career as manager of Luciano Pavarotti and other would-be opera stars:
I used to represent a Russian soprano named Nina Rautio. Ever hear of her? I thought not. Madame Rautio was someone who was very clear about where she belonged.
“I want to enter par la grande porte,” she would say. Through the big door.
In other words, she wanted to make a big splash. No modest entrances for Madame Rautio.
Her husband, a little Russian man, used to come around the office.
“What is she doing next? Remember, she wants to enter par la grande porte.”
“Well, I’m afraid la grande porte doesn’t exist.”
This is not quite a tell-all book about Pavarotti's antics, though there are many amusing anecdotes. It is really a book about the ineffectual flailings of classical musicians and their handlers in the wilds of American culture. Breslin is a man interested in selling musicians to a large public, and most of them are unwilling or unable to play along. Most are still waiting for La Grande Porte to open: they expect to proceed effortlessly to a now imaginary position of high-culture celebrity. Pavarotti, for all his foibles, was humble enough to work for his fame. There are much bigger fools elsewhere in the business.