Punt

My brain is full of tumbleweeds. I have spent like an hour looking around my apartment waiting for something to inspire me to write a bloggic masterpiece. Ain’t gonna happen. So, what do I do when I got nothin’? I post a youtube opera clip. I’m not sure they’re terribly thrilling, but it beats a blank screen.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdGCm_-J1hc[/youtube]

I consider this performance a seminal text or an article of faith or something. I’m queer for it, let’s say. It’s “O, don fatale!” from Act IV of Verdi’s Don Carlo, based on the play by Schiller. The Princess Eboli sings of her remorse after confessing her betrayal to √Člisabeth de Valois. It’s sung here by Tatiana Troyanos, who died fairly young of brain cancer in 1993. Anything I could write about it would be largely superfluous.

2 responses to “Punt”

  1. LP says:

    Whenever I watch opera, I’m amazed that so much perfect sound can come out of a person in such a sustained way. How is she not utterly exhausted at the end of this?

    Also: I liked the fact that there were about 6 subtitles for nearly five minutes of song. A marvel of compact translation. The last opera I went to had an electronic sign running with the English translation as the performers sang – is that typical? Do you prefer a translation, or does it not really matter if you know the bones of the story?

  2. FPS says:

    I prefer for there to be translation but it has dawned on me over time that I often ignore them and sometimes don’t really know important plot points in operas I love and listen to often. Sometimes the plot for me in a very real way is “Tatiana Troyanos sings a phrase in pure, smoky chest voice.” Some of the brevity of the titles is because Italian opera at this point is still structured in a way where phrases are repeated a lot.

    I think she actually is utterly exhausted at the end. It’s hard to tell sometimes with Troyanos where acting ends and some sort of total physical involvement in the role begins. I think that breathless thing she does at the end is part “oh my god, I just sang some very taxing music” and part “I am Princess Eboli and I am freaking the fuck out.” Also she had terrible stage fright and often had to be pushed onstage, and perhaps some of that comes through, in a good way.