Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Opera man

Tomorrow, I promise, I will write about someone other than Mozart. Tomorrow I might write about Louis Moreau Gottschalk. We heard from a Gottschalk fan -- a hard-core Gottschalk fan, I might add -- yesterday on the Leonard Pennario blog. So I will have to get back to him.

For today, I only have a few minutes until midnight so I have to be quick. I always want to blog by midnight so it counts for today. I do not like to skip a day! Skipping a day blogging is for weaklings.

Who out there has seen that film of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" by Ken Branagh?

I had never heard of it!

Then yesterday I found it and I keep looking at it. Well, I kept looking at it until I got caught up in this Grammy Awards business.

The opera is in English, which, I do not normally like operas translated into English because first of all face it, when they are in English, you usually do not understand them anyway, and secondly, as Mammy says in "Gone With the Wind," "'tain't fittin.'"

"Tosca" in English, 'tain't fittin'.

"Goetterdaemmerung" in English, 'tain't fittin'.

But this "Magic Flute" somehow strikes me OK. English to German is not that big of a stretch. Maybe that is part of the reason why. To tell the truth I do not care for the translation of Papageno's first aria. But other than that, it seems impassioned and interesting and I am intrigued and would like to see the whole thing.

Here is the overture.

In this clip you can see Rene Pape as Sarastro. Also that glorious "March of the Priests." When I was a teenager and worked sometimes as a church organist I used to play this piece at Mass at Christ the King and no one was the wiser.

Here is the Papageno aria I find fault with. The singer is good, though. And cute! Benjamin Jay Davis is his name.

Here is the "Papageno, Papageno" scene. I have heard other singers do a better job with the stammering at the beginning of the scene but the way they stage this is so cute. This music always brings tears to my eyes and I am not sure why. It affects me more than the love music between Pamina and Tamino.

I wonder if I am the only one who feels that way.

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