Friday, March 26, 2010

Che penna infame!

Last week's riotous indulgences in opera have been replaced by a whirl of scholarly activity. Monday: presenting to classmates a German article on "Theological Phenomenology of the Liturgical Commemoration of Saints"; Wednesday: lecturing; Thursday: lecturing and working in the history department; Friday: more working, and co-leading a seminar. Tomorrow and Sunday: an academic conference on medieval Scandinavia to attend. Meanwhile, celebrating Magda Olivero's 100th birthday, with the help of YouTube user Onegin65, and this clip (I love the photographs!) from MedeAilinel:

(The recording from which that is taken is available for purchase here. My mouth is watering.) Another joyous discovery this week was a new addition to the local library holdings: Lieder from Kasarova; my favorite of the lot was probably Schumann's "Widmung," of which I never tire. Another activity: listening to my cherished Fritz Wunderlich CDs a lot. Wunderlich is one of my love-at-first-note singers. I fall into adjectival clichés when trying to describe his voice: golden, honeyed, creamy. Maybe it's partially memories of Sunday afternoons with my father and his phonographs, but the beauty of Wunderlich's voice soothes me like few other sounds. Hearing him sing "Viens, gentille dame," or "Dies Bildnis," or "Dalla sua Pace," (all in German, creating a slew of exceptions to my sing-it-in-the-original-language-dang-it purism) is like receiving reassurance that everything, really, will be okay. There are times I want opera to set my pulse racing, and other times I need it to help me take deep, slow breaths. This week was one of the latter.

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