Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Eternal Enigma: Words or Music? – Richard Strauss: Capriccio (Introduction)

This is the opening of Robert Carsen's Paris production of Capriccio. Someday I am going to gather my thoughts together enough to finish writing my review of this wonderful performance.

Rainer Trost and Gerald Finley
Carsen does seem to like to remind us we are watching an opera, and this production is no exception. I like this segment because of the way it sets up our theatrical expectations during the wonderful string sextet. Plus, the opening comments from composer Flammand (Rainer Trost) and poet Olivier (Gerald Finley) state the argument of the opera: "Words or Music?"

One of my most favorite lines comes a bit later. Olivier asks (complains) that once Flammand sets his words to music, to whom does his sonnet belong? Countess Madeleine replies that now it belongs to her. 

And I think she's right. Once the music and words have been set down, it becomes the property of the musicians who perform it, and the audience who hears it. How's that for a little Thursday Philosophy?

There is another segment I want to post soon that begins with Olivier's (the Poet) statement, "Opera is an absurd thing." However, the clip on YouTube has no subtitles. While the music is lovely, this opera is called, "A Conversation Piece for Music," so naturally it helps to know what they are saying. (How's that for a little Thursday Obviousness?)

Complete Review of this Production:
Capriccio – Opéra National de Paris, 2004
  Part 1 Opera about Opera

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