Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School as Opera; a scene from Rossini

With a loud A-flat major chord that quickly becomes a german sixth, the music swings into C major. Rinaldo's friends have shown him his face reflected in a shield. He has spent so much time in the pleasure garden that he no longer recognizes himself. He is relaxed, wearing summer clothes, donning a hair wreath.

Like us, he has spent the summer away from University:

"What adornments are these," sings Lawrence Brownlee as Rinaldo [0:26], "what have I become?" His friends, Ubaldo and Carlo, have come to convince his to leave these illusions and re-enter his life as soldier on crusade.In one of the rare passages for three tenors in operatic literature, they all sing as Rinaldo warms in his realization.

Were there a fourth voice in this passage it would be mine. "Where did the paper for the photocopier end up?...My syllabus is almost finished." Perhaps, as a crusader, I have a more practical bent at this time of year.

In a magnificent vocal display, Brownlee takes the wreath from his head [5:10]. "I am still Rinaldo!" he sings [5:22].

We are all Rinaldo, still. And it is time to get back to school. Leave the pleasure garden. See you in class.

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