Monday, June 24, 2019

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, L’oca del Cairo, ossia Lo sposo deluso (~1783)

Here we have a production that uses material from two unfinished Mozart operas. L'oca del Cairo--of which there are about forty-five minutes of material--whereas there are only twenty-ish of Lo sposo deluso. Together at last!
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Sunday, June 23, 2019

John Crowley, Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymir (2017)

Here's a novel by John Crowley, the author of--among other things--the epic Little, Big and the flawed but fascinating four-volume Ægypt Cycle, which asks the question: what if Renaissance cosmology was actually true at the time; it just later became not-true and never-had-been-true? I want to reread it. It's really cool. Anyway, this is his first work of fantasy since that was finished in 2007, so it's a notable thing. It had been on my radar for a long time, and now I've read it. Hey!
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Friday, June 21, 2019

Jean-Baptiste Lully, Cadmus et Hermione (1673)

The wikipedia entry on French opera says that this is "often regarded as the first French opera in the full sense of the term." That's an awful lot of qualifiers, but I suppose it's probably safe to regard it as historically significant.
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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Salvatore Sciarrino, Luci mie traditrici (1998)

So I watched this with zero background knowledge. I guess I kind of thought, oh, here's an Italian composer; maybe he'll be in the tradition of Verdi and Puccini. I freely admit that this was kind of a dumb thing to think; still, there's no way I could possibly have predicted the sheer magnitude of my wrongness.
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Monday, June 17, 2019

Antonio Vivaldi, Juditha Triumphans (1716-ish)

This is based on the Book of Judith, a part of the Old Testament that may or may not be apocryphal, I can't be having with your religious debates, but I'm going to take it as such because it's kinda badass. The plot--which is basically the plot here--is that Assyrians are trying to fuck up Israel, but then this young widow, Judith, goes to beg mercy from the general, Holofernes; he falls in love with her and she ultimately beheads him when he's in a drunken stupor, breaking the back of the invaders. I feel like whoever wrote this didn't have a clear conception of how hard it would be to literally sever someone's head, as opposed to just cutting their throat, which would do the job just as well. This was written to celebrate a victory of the Republic of Venice against invaders, and at one point towards the end this is specifically spelt out, lest you should miss it.
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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Joseph Haydn, L'infedeltà delusa (1773)

That's "deceit outwitted," a title which really doesn't relate to anything in the opera.  Like the Rameau opera, I watched this with French subtitles, but there's a big difference: in the former, the subtitles were just a transcription of the libretto; hence, eighteenth-century French. But here, the libretto of course is in Italian, so the subtitles just translate it to contemporary French--which is just a shitload easier for me to understand. So that's good.
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Friday, June 14, 2019

Joseph Haydn, Orlando Paladino (1782)

Haydn is an extremely well-regarded composer. Perhaps you've heard of a little thing called The Creation?  And yet for some reason nobody thinks about his operatic career. But he wrote sixteen operas (the first of which is lost), so, I mean...why wouldn't you be interested?
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