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Subject: Re: tosca
From: Frank Cadenhead <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Frank Cadenhead <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 23 Apr 2017 04:27:16 -0400
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On Sat, 22 Apr 2017 14:59:11 -0500, gordon young 
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>As an artist the depiction of art and art practices in opera always fail 
>maybe I should say generally fail. In Boheme if the is no visual reference
>to Marcelo’s being an artist, no canvases or any of the clutter that makes
>up an artist's studio I question every other aspect of the designers
>concept.
>
>I don’t think I have ever seen a Tosca production where I accepted the
>painting of the Magdalene. Most often the style of the painting ignores the
>period in which the production is presented.  
= snip =

It is a few weeks until the 54th anniversary of my first experience with a radical 
interpretation of a classic opera (Wieland's Tannhauser). It was difficult but I finally 
understood that it was reasonable that opera is an art that does not deserve to 
treated simply be a museum piece to be reproduced. This is certainly not what the 
composer would have wanted. All over the world opera has won new audiences by 
making the drama meaningful for their times. The idea that the last half century of 
opera production did not happen is something you only find on Opera-l. Gordon 
and others are not the least concerned that America’s backwardness in this art 
means that creativity in opera production is entirely a European function. Gordon, 
do you understand that no American opera producer is important outside our 
borders while, in every other art, American creativity and influence is everywhere 
honored and recognized?

Let me take on Tosca - the story - with a personal experience. Two days ago, I 
used Google to explore transportation to Bayreuth this summer. That included both 
trains and flights to Munich and Nurenburg. Less than 12 hours later, an 
advertisement from a tourist group in Munich appeared on my Facebook margins. 
This was not a coincidence as anyone knows. What we also learned in recent news 
is that the government routinely penetrates the security of these giant internet 
companies and can access private accounts. In the particular case recently, the 
government knew that hackers had stolen their “keys” to get around internet 
companies security barriers late last year but it was only when the hacker material 
was released by Wikileaks that the public, and the internet giants, became aware 
of this. The government decided that it was not in the public interest for the public 
to know that their rights of privacy are totally abrogated and that protections in 
the Constitution of the United States are now obsolete. They are now more busy 
than ever shutting down Wikileaks. 

We first see Floria Tosca as a vapid star, happy, adored, invited everywhere, in love 
with a famous artist and clearly non-political but does anyone remember the FIRST 
THING that happens in the opera? Anyone? In the first seconds we see a fighter for 
freedom and justice fleeing persecution. Even Cavaradossi, also madly in love, had 
to be jolted back to remembering his love of basic human rights when he was 
confronted with Angelotti. But the real story is how Tosca reacts to this new reality. 
She remains vapid and jealous during the first act but it is only her confrontation 
with Ailes/O’Reilly (read Scarpia) that her moral compass starts spinning. She 
could allow the hand on her pussy - or not - and she chooses not. Her cris de cour 
(Visse d’arte) means she well understands that this will permanently upset her 
comfortable world. Her first sight of the knife on the floor also shows she now 
realizes how escape from an all-knowing authoritarian state requires extreme 
action. (They not only know when you buy your tickets, they know when you are 
even thinking about tickets.)

Not relevant for today? You don’t understand why there are laptops around 
“security” services? Personal freedom and democracies are not only under threat 
but loosing ground. Today is a critical vote in France. Last Sunday Turkey voted to 
abandon the concept of liberal democracy. Russia has been moving away from that 
for years and their work to encourage and elect controlling state governments in 
other countries have been successful. 

I know all of you will be off soon to enjoy your Sunday. No, you do not have to 
think about Tosca today.

Frank Cadenhead

 

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