Sunday, May 04, 2008

Oh no, not another one

Someone has found yet another Vivaldi opera lurking somewhere and finished it using bits of the others. Full story from the Indy here.

Vivaldi was an astonishing character with a hugely colourful life. But isn't there a limit to how many of these rattly, twiddly baroque things the market can take? After all, most of them feature either a one-name title (eg Tomasso, Soltino, etc) or a massively long one (Il trionfo del blogorissimo classicale di Madamina Duchene), arias da carping hell for leather for several hours trying to sound inventive on the reprise (my favourite carp is to be found in halaszle, Hungarian fish soup), not to mention recycled bits and bobs from other works, a harpsichord sounding as harpsichords do, a swarm of wasps where the violins ought to be and a reluctance to cut even one note leading to hellishly uncomfortable theatrical experiences as the reverential principles of Richard Wagner are applied willynilly to music that was actually designed as background entertainment to business meetings, illicit love affairs and the odd bit of orange throwing.

The degree course I took some while ago foisted 24 compulsory lectures on Italian Baroque Opera upon its unsuspecting first-years. I entered with a vague fondness for Monteverdi. I exited with a vague fondness for Monteverdi, too, but not before upsetting one of my teachers by finding a leitmotif in Poppea. Seriously. It's a figure of notes associated with Poppea's ambition.... (Well, whaddya expect? One has to stay sane somehow.)

ON A TOTALLY different tack, if you fancy a day or two in Shakespeare's own town, come to Stratford-on-Avon for Tasmin's Spring Sounds Festival, which is in full swing today, Sunday, and tomorrow, Monday. Tomorrow's concert by the Orchestra of the Swan features Tasmin in the premiere of Roxanna Panufnik's new violin concerto 'Spring in Japan' and Korngold's Suite from Much Ado About Nothing, and I shall be introducing it with a preamble called 'How Shakespeare Saved Korngold's Life'.