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Subject: "Evil" characters and beautiful music
From: William Fregosi <[log in to unmask]>
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Date:Tue, 4 Mar 1997 13:37:36 EST
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Bravo! to Chris Ischay for nailing one important very clearly--many
people still refer to theatrical (and, especially operatic) characters
in old style, stereotypic ways--The Hero, The Villian, The Heroine,
The Rescuer, etc.  From a psychological and from an acting point of
view, these terms are meaningless.  Chris' citing of the Kostelnicka is
perfect for focusing the subject.  Inside her mind and heart, she acts
only through love and concern for her beloved Jenufa.  She has no "evil"
intent.  Neither does Scarpia, by the way, or Ortrud or any of them.  If
you enter into their own thought processes (which it is essentgial for
an actor or singer of a part to do), you will find that each acts
according to the most logical and justifyable standards that they know.
Ortrud's entire culture has been destroyed--she ses herself as a savior
of the true way and warrior for her people.  Scarpia is working against
tremendous odds and short time to protect his political and cultural
system from destruction by a dictator who would soon be the bane of all
European countries.

It is thoroughly appropriate that these characters be presented honestly
and three dimensionally as real people whose situations happen
inexorably to put them in opposition to others.  Yes, their music is
beautiful frequently--they are acting in accord with their inner value
systems and deserve no less.  Turn them into sneering, overtly
despicable people and the meaning of the dramas in which they exist is
severely compromised.

Bill Fregosi
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