Showing posts from March, 2015

Set, Trilogies, and Queen Elizabeth

The way you're brought up can affect how you view the world in some seriously strange ways. I, for instance, was brought up with the card game Set. We would mostly (and still do, though less frequently, particularly as we add new games to our collection) play this game on family trips during the evenings when we had nothing else to do. So I've never played Set seriously or competitively (if that's even a thing), but over the years of playing it occasionally, it seems to have become thoroughly ingrained in my mind. This Tetris effect has been lying in wait for quite some time before it decided to to come out into the open.

I was thinking the other day about Donizetti's three queens. I know it wasn't his intention for them to be presented holistically as a trilogy, but that's the way they are today, and so that's the way I was thinking about them. And in particular, I was thinking about all the reasons they make for a terrible trilogy. I mean, I love the thre…

The Tales Of Hoffmann: GOA Order

So I was considering the order of the acts in The Tales Of Hoffmann. Each act, save for the prologue and epilogue, is a mostly independent story about Hoffmann meeting a soprano, falling in love, and, of course, it doesn't work out for various reasons. Meanwhile Nicklausse is just hanging around waiting for Hoffmann to get a clue. The acts were written in the order of Olympia-Antonia-Giulietta (each act being called by the name of the soprano starring in it), which I will shorten here to OAG. But a lot of performances perform the acts OGA, swapping Giulietta and Antonia. There's a very good reason for this, I think, in that Antonia's act is the most dramatic, at least musically, and is the only act to end in true tragedy. Ordering the acts OGA, you start with the fairly lighthearted Olympia act, and then go on to the fairy-tale Giulietta act (okay, they're all fairy-tales; Giulietta feels the most like it to me; it's plot dense, alright?) before getting to the comp…