Music is the food of love for Marina

I love a romantic story, see if you can beat this. The divine opera singer Marina Poplavskaya, a stunning Russian doll with the voice of an angel, is instantly swept off her feet after being crushed in the arms of the internationally renowned bass-baritone Robert Hale, despite him being 40 years older, who she marries. Marina, 29, now has three stepsons older than her, and seven grandchildren.

The soprano first met Hale on stage three years ago when he was singing The Flying Dutchman and she had stepped in to cover the challenging role of Senta.  

“I went on in Act Two and sang the lines about the doomed Dutchman needing a faithful wife. Robert and I had never even met. He looked at me, and embraced me so hard he was crushing my bones. It was love at first sight.

“The soul is never old. We manage. And I would like children of my own, however that fits into my career.”

That’s a huge age difference, I wonder what his sons feel about having a very glamorous and talented stepmother who is younger than them. And I wonder what she means by those two words “we manage”, I’ll try not to read anything into it. After all, music is the food of love…..

Pic: courtesy of Oliver Lim


  1. To me this isn’t romantic.
    This has me crying in to my beer, sighing ‘What a waste…’
    You do realise, Elle that if I was to see someone that much younger than me, they’d be 17?

  2. I think you’re right, Ellee, but the earlier part of the book illustrates the misgivings of the siblings over the age gap.

    The thought of going with someone that much younger than me, I’m not sure I could do it actually. 10 years max (either way) – infact I heard somewhere that the natural maximum age difference is 13 years; something to do with remaining within the same generation.

  3. Kevin, I have read the book and thought it hilarious, but I do not think by any stretch of the imagination that they are similar women. I would love to hear Marina sing, I would love to meet her and her husband, have dinner together and learn about their lives. I am all for true love breaking conventional barriers.

  4. I think this insanity was covered in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, was it not?

    Maybe she could talk to Tony Randall about May December child rearing. She’ll have to ask pretty loud because he’s dead.

  5. UM. My dad is 70 his girlfriend is 32.

    I cannot help but think that if he was a little less wealthy, or did not help her with her career, it might be different..

    Am I cynical? perhaps….

    (the same plays the otherway too. My mum has a partner who is a lot younger than her…and he is a bludger)

  6. electro-kevin

    It’s not natural and is bound to cause friction.

    A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
    (Marina Lewycka)

    Worth reading.

  7. Kevin, How about if she was your step-mother?

  8. electro-kevin

    She has a hard face. He’s welcome to her.

  9. James, And do these lovely Russian girls also marry Russian men who are 40 years older than themselves, or do they prefer Englishmen?

  10. Q9, Taken literaly, it could sound like she is having to make do. It’s the sort of statement you make if, for example, you are hard up, but “we manage”. Should we analyse it so closely, maybe it is ambiguous and open to linguist interpretation.

    Why do women say children have to fit in with their career? Because children are a blessing you cannot take for granted, they do not fit into careers. But if this is Marina’s moment of glory, she naturally wants to savour and enjoy it for all it’s worth. I’d like to be a fly on her wall.

  11. From this, Lady Ellee, you see what Tom and I must contend with over here, only multiplied by thousands.

  12. lol, I too wonder what she means by “We manage”
    Elle, coud it be that despite their age difference their ‘common’ interests are enough to keep the spark alive – after arts, the thratre, film and opera have always been the least age conscious of society’s careers

    though of course still wholly dependent on hierarchy, idol worship (age before beauty), and of course the odd tantrum by a Diva or prima dona

  13. Welshcakes, I think you are right. I am sure Marina is right too about souls breaking age barriers. Their music is a wonderful passion to share.

  14. Sorry – I obviously meant “confusion.”

  15. “We manage” is probably just a linguistic confudion. “Love is where it falls” [that’s the title of a Simon Callow book].

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