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“I am a little world made cunningly
Of elements, and an angelic sprite.”

“Bölcsen alkotott kis világ vagyok,
földi anyag s angyali lehelet.”

(John Donne)

3 hozzászólás leave one →
  1. Aviva Levina permalink
    2011. október 15. szombat 09:26

    Dear Julia,

    I read your diaries with great interest (it is a pity that I needed Google Translator for most of them). I am also a frequent visitor and admirer of you YouTube channel. I am particularly interested in your post about the death scene in “Niobe”. It also struck me as one of the most powerful death scenes in all opera, purely in musical terms. The last angry outcry of Anfione (“Numi rei”), changing into a scream of pain on the word “regnante”, and then these fading phrases – all this creates a very real image of death, without being too naturalistic. Of course, the impression is enhanced by Philippe’s performance and Gilbert Blin’s directions.
    I hope that you will find time to write a post or two about “Il Sant’Alessio”, which is my favourite opera production at the moment. I read many comments about it, but the authours mainly praise the way it conveys the spirit of 17th century theatre. No-one seem to notice that this is, in some ways, a very modern story. A sensitive, introverted young man, refusing to live the life that is expected from him, and causing suffering in his relatives – sounds very familiar! And how brilliantly this modernity is suggested by the director Benjamin Lazar in just two short episodes: mocking of Alessio by the servants in Act I, and his interaction with his wife in Act II. By the way, I also admired Max Cencic’s performance in this opera, although generally, like you, I have mixed feelings about him. So I would be very interested to know your opinion.
    I would also like to use this chance to thank you for all your work creating the YouTube clips. They are all great, but “My dearest, my fairest” and “Hor che Seneca e morto” are my absolute favourites.

    Best wishes from Aviva Levina (Sydney, Australia).

  2. 2011. október 25. kedd 00:43

    Dear Aviva Levina,

    First of all, thank you for your interest and your kind comment!

    About Alessio, I agree with you. When I got the DVD and finally watched it from the beginning to the end, my first shock was the same: that it may look like an old legend but very similar stories still happen every day — a child grows up, choses his/her own way and goes against the current, instead of fulfilling the expectations of the parents. I even recognized a friend of mine in Alessio (the nonconformist) and myself in Adrasto (the one doing everything by the book), and I also remembered spending endless time telling her father in a very Adrasto-like way: „don’t worry, she is all right, everything will be fine in the end.” Perhaps that’s why I feel quite strongly about the character of the father. There is a little pantomime scene at the beginning of Act II.: Eufemiano is alone with his grief, when a little boy runs through the stage. He looks after him, and I can read his thoughts as clear as if they would be written out as subtitles: „My son also was a sweet child like this, what did I do wrong to have lost him?” and „I will never have any grandchildren.” I’m not sure even the angels appearing at the end can comfort him completely.
    So, the main conflict is not between good and evil, or heaven and hell, these are just a kind of decoration (though a very amusing one, my children prefer the dancing devils to Bergman’s Zauberflöte), but between Alessio and all the other people, who are absolutely uncapable of understanding his ways. Even if they love him, like his father, mother and wife.
    I also agree that Cencic’s Sposa is great. His gestures and facial expressions suit the role perfectly, his singing is great, he even shows some colours in his voice I haven’t heard in any other production. (OK, I don’t know his whole repertoire, but still…)

    See, you’ve put a bug in my ear. One day I really will collect my scattered thoughts, and write a long post about this piece!


    Ps.: “My dearest, my fairest” and “Hor che Seneca e morto” are my favourites too. 🙂

  3. Aviva Levina permalink
    2011. október 25. kedd 03:48

    Dear Juli,

    Thank you for your kind reply and a fascinating insight into “Il Sant’Alessio”. I had similar thoughts about the role of the father. This is another aspect of the opera that people tend to overlook, because all the attention is attracted to the countertenors. By the way, my other favourite opera, Britten’s “Peter Grimes”, also has a misunderstood nonconformist as a title character, but I am not sure if this music is to your taste.

    Best wishes, and looking forward to your future posts.

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