Just one chapter today, and not all that long a one, at that.
But this is where important things start to happen, so have patience. More's coming.
For those opera fans who want real-life counterparts for the voices, I'm sorry but I can't really give you one for Nick's as it evolves. It's a rare baritone who can shine at both the Italian repertoire and Wagner's Flying Dutchman; many, of course, do both, but generally are best known for one or the other. The quality of voice I had in mind as I wrote this is probably best exemplified by Tibbet or Warren (although his timbre was unique), or, more recently, Milnes; currently the top exemplar is Hvorotovsky, I suppose. Generally, some basso overtones in a strong baritone texture with, nevertheless, a ringing top register. Maybe Titta Ruffo comes closest, but with a smoother legato, for anyone who's serious about voices of a century ago. I'll try to make comparisons for the other major characters as they come more fully into the story, but no-one's a direct draw from reality.
A couple of readers took me too seriously about the annoyance I expressed at the morons who assigned me a "1" rating. I was just irritated, not seriously disheartened. Some years ago one of the magazines I write for professionally (non-fiction in my field-which, by the way, is transportation law and management) did a reader survey in which opinions were solicited on various pieces, including my regular column. I still recall that one responder remarked tartly that "I wouldn't have Colin Barrett wash my car." Not being a car-washer by trade, I didn't worry too hard about it, especially since that poll rated my column No. 1 in the magazine. But when I have naysayers like that, I'm scarcely going to let a couple of idiot voters on SOL get me down. The old saw is that everyone's entitled to his opinion; the corollary is that some opinions are worth more than others.