Opera


Mario del Monaco is one of the singers I don’t really know anything about. And really haven’t listened to either. But damn, this Tosca recording is awesome. Starts of mellow and moves with the music to a truly stunning peak. Awesome, so awesome.

Hat tip to Red-Eyed Jenna for the showing the stuff to me in the first place.

Long time since I posted any YouTube opera. Here comes a movie version of Nessun Dorma, from Turandot, with Franco Corelli. It might not be beautiful all the time, but damn, listen to the man as he reaches higher, it just doesn’t stop. What a flow. It is one of the few times I think running water comes to mind, it’s like a god damn river!

Lately I’ve started reading Stephen Law. Don’t really know why I picked him up, but so far so good, most of the stuff he publishes is very nice. In fact I shall have a look around for his books as soon as I’ve finished my current stack.

In particular, his take of the problem of evil, is gratifying, The God of Eth:

This hardly sounds like the behaviour of a supremely compassionate and loving father-figure, does it? Surely there’s overwhelming evidence that the universe is not under the control of a limitlessly powerful and benevolent character?

In short, he uses a fictional dialog intending to show why the traditional religious responses to the problem of evil are at least inadequate, and the dialog does so by referring to an all evil god and showing that all arguments for the all good god can easily be turned around. Read the whole stuff, it good.

Which reminds me; and I’ll leave you with a very beautiful lyric:

Credo in un Dio crudel
che m’ha creato simile a sè
e che nell’ira io nomo.
Dalla viltà d’un germe
o d’un atomo vile son nato.
Son scellerato perchè son uomo;
e sento il fango originario in me.
Sì! Questa è la mia fè!
Credo con fermo cuor,
siccome crede la vedovella al tempio,
che il mal ch’io penso
e che da me procede,
per il mio destino adempio.
Credo che il guisto
è un istrion beffardo,
e nel viso e nel cuor,
che tutto è in lui bugiardo:
lagrima, bacio, sguardo,
sacrificio ed onor.
E credo l’uom gioco
d’iniqua sorte
dal germe della culla
al verme dell’avel.
Vien dopo tanta irrision la Morte.
E poi? E poi?
La Morte è il Nulla.
È vecchia fola il Ciel!

I’ll leave the translation for you 🙂

Pavarotti dead? And now Zawinul as well? By damn…

Update: Oh yes, a few of my non-opera friends have heard Paul Potts on YouTube and asked me if he was really any good. Well, he was. But for those of you interested, this is how the same song sounded when Luciano sang it. New York, 1980. One of the greatest tenors ever.

There’s only one Norma in my mind. I’m not an opera expert, I’m sure Callas did a great job of it, but I doubt this particular role will ever be the same for me. You see, I have this performance on DVD. And… Watching Casta Diva nearly brought me to tears, which is a rare thing indeed. If you’re one of those that scoff at Caballé, having never heard her in her prime, listen to this, listen to the entire piece and marvel at the end notes that never seem to stop.

Theatre Antique d’Orange, 1974, and the mistral is blowing (as you can see), the audience is screaming (as would I). A magic night. A magic Caballé. Damn, I love that lady.

The CD’s

  • Alice Cooper, The Last Temptation
  • Birgint Nilsson Sings Verdi
  • Alanis Morisette, So Called Chaos

Nothing too exciting here. I’ve been slightly in love with Alanis since Jagged Little Pill. And the Cooper album is surprisingly good. If you’re one of those that believes Alice was only good in the seventies, you should give it a chance. Birgit+Verdi is a classic to have, let’s not forget she did not only sing Wagner, shall we?

The DVD’s

  • Pain of Salvation, BE
  • Montserrat Caballé, Beyond Music
  • Dream Theater, Images and Words Live in Tokyo / 5 Years in a Live Time

The Caballé docmentary was very good. I would have wished for more un-intrrupted music though, but it does show without a doubt what an amazing singer she was (and, I’ve no doubt, still is). And what a lovely lady. And what a diva. I love her!

Dream Theater. Live in Tokyo is good. I had it only on VHS before. Live Time, well… I expected the Once in a Live Time album, but on DVD. Of course it isn’t. Hum.. I’m rather dissapointed I’m afraid. I’l give it a chance though.

And PoS, BE. I know very many thinks BE the album is pretty amazing, but I don’t perticulary agree. If nothing else because I did actually see it live, and the album never really could be compared to the full thing. This though, is damn good stuff.

The Books

  • Arthur C Clarke, Childhood’s End
  • Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines
  • Donald A Norman, The Design of Everyday Things
  • Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel
  • Gaiman / Zulli, The Last Temptation
  • The Essential Epicurus Reader (O’Connor)
  • Richard Miller, The Structure of Singing
  • Karl R. Popper, The Open Society and it’s Enemies

This list I’m quite proud of. And slightly amazed of. It struck me the other night, that the range of topics and styles is quite… Amazing. Otherwise I haven’t got too much to say yet. I certainly haven’t had time to read any of it through. But I’m looking forward to it. Very much.

I should say something about Richard Miller, but that a topic for several posts in itself only. Let’s just say I’m now the proud owner of his magnum opus.

Popper, Epicurus, Diamond and Kurzweil. Nice quartet, don’t you think?

I expect I’ll have things to say about The Design of Everyday Things, at least I’m very much looking foward to reading it.

Of course, Gaiman / Zulli’s temptation goes and in hand with Cooper’s. Looks slightly trivial, but… Damn, its Gaiman and Cooper. At the same time! What can go wrong?!

Birgit Nilsson. Ok, I’ll say it one more time: Birgit Nilsson. As we move on, we’ll find it harder and harder explaining to people what a legend that woman was. I don’t know about you, but hers is one of the few graves outside my family I have ever visited to pay my respects.

Side one. Gentle, Lyrical. With an excuisite piano: Tosca. Concert. 1960. Pure magic. Listen to the floating pianos at the end. This is the less known side of her vioce, the more known being, of course, the one you’l find further down.

Side two. From 3.34 and onwards… The Sound! Range. Flexibility. Emotions. Power. And… THE SOUND: Isolde.

When I heard she had passed away, I immediately went out to the local pub, bought a pint and raised my glass silently in remembrance.

Birgit Nilsson.

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