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Subject: Fwd: [Norton AntiSpam]Re: Guth's "Lost in Space" "La Boheme" for Paris
From: Kenneth Bleeth <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Kenneth Bleeth <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 19 Dec 2017 08:49:12 -0500

text/plain (85 lines)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kenneth Bleeth <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 8:43 AM
Subject: Re: [Norton AntiSpam]Re: Guth's "Lost in Space" "La Boheme" for
To: Michael Liebert <[log in to unmask]>

Mr. Leibert,

The best response to your gratuitously nasty posting would probably be
simply to ignore it ("don't feed the trolls," is good advice) but I'll
nevertheless venture a couple of comments.

On my "absurd idea of what classic opera should be," here's what I wrote:
"Surely the point about "great art" is that it responds to a range of
interpretations that change over time. We don't read Shakespeare (or
Tolstoy, or Dickens, or Austen) as they were read in the 19th or early 20th
centuries. Contemporary performances of (say) "Messiah" differ from those
in Victorian England. As for "want[ing] to see La Bohème the way Puccini
imagined it would be performed," should performances of Shakespeare be
restricted to productions on Globe-like stages, in Elizabethan dress and
with no props and scenery to speak of? Should artworks be treated as
untouchable time-bound artifacts, to be preserved in amber? I'm with Ezra
Pound: "make it new."

What, exactly, is the "absurd idea" here? My fourth sentence responds to a
statement by a previous poster; it doesn't offer my own idea (absurd or
otherwise) about productions of "classic opera." And although you use the
word "classic" four times, you're pretty fuzzy about what it might signify.
Do you mean works that are solidly entrenched in some canon? (And if so,
whose canon?) Works written before a certain date? Works that participate
in a particular tradition? If you want to sharpen your sense of this term,
reading Eliot's "What is a Classic?" and Frank Kermode's *The Classic* would
be time well spent.

Pound is an interesting test case for whether one can separate the person
from his or her works. Any thorough treatment of Pound would necessarily
need to come to grips with his political beliefs. But to reduce his prose
and poetry to nothing more than the ravings of an "anti-Semite and mental
institution inmate" is to read with blinders on; it's a good thing that the
editors who include "In a Station of the Metro" in almost every
introductory anthology of poetry don't subscribe to your limited set of
*idées recues.*

As for your comments on Mussolini and Hitler and on Pound as "one of [my]
political heroes," you should be ashamed of yourself.

On Mon, Dec 18, 2017 at 7:40 PM, Michael Liebert <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> So wonderful of you to quote anti-Semite and mental institution inmate Ezra
> Pound to support your absurd idea of what classic opera should be.  Maybe
> next you'll quote Mussolini or Adolph.  Ezra Pound surely would have.  (I'm
> guessing Pound is one of your political heroes.)
> The reason I care about absurd distortions of classic opera is that I think
> it will bring about its ruin.  I'm sure I've attended more than a dozen Met
> Traviatas.  But I won't go back for another until they retire that
> ridiculous Clock Traviata.  It's nice to think that those of us who have
> attended many classic performances are bored and we won't go to another.
> But it's the non-classic performances that I won't go back to.  I have a
> whole list: Cavalleria, Rigoletto, Fidelio, Traviata (of course), and
> others.
> I've said before and I'll say again, Traviata (1972) was the first opera I
> ever attended.  If it had been the current stupid production, it would have
> been the last.

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