Saturday, February 16, 2008

two thoughts

briefly, because a dinner of empanadas awaits me and I shan't keep them lonely:

1) I had a great conversation with someone (sparked by a good night at the opera) about art not as objects, but rather the relationship between that object its context. This was doubly interesting since I seem to be having a series of such revelations about things, particularly voices and performances. Voices that I hadn't particular feelings about have become instead, very appreciated. And it has to do with context, both within the setting of the voice and my own positionality. It's interesting to think of voice not as some object that is put together, like flowers on a table in a setting or in a vase -- but rather, as a painting thereof because you can't extract it from its setting that way, despite its recognizability (well, sometimes).

2) Earlier in the week I also went to a Handel lecture given by Ellen Harris, whom you may remember from a previous post. She talked about the intersection of the profane and sacred music of Handel's italian output, though it seemed more centered on certain observations about treatments of floridity in these works. Central to her examples is the oratorio "Il Trionfo del tempo e del disinganno" in which Beauty (Bellezza) must choose between Piacere (Pleasure) and Time and Good Counsel (Tempo e Disinganno). In this work, Harris argues, floridity and virtuosity is used to depict something alluring yet dangerous, and because of the librettists insertion of Handel into the scenario in Piacere's palace, a specific kind of virtuosity is employed.

In any case, the work ends with this scene sung by Bellezza. Isabel Rey (who sounds better than last I encountered her, though even in that setting, she sounded better with repeated hearings) and accompanied by Marc Minkowski, whose babies I want to bear.

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