I am more than just mildly annoyed. Annoyed not because someone “hated it.” I’m annoyed because instead of a review, The Times decided to publish a pretentious hate-piece designed to insult musicians and audience alike. It worked.
Now don’t get me wrong – I do feel very deeply about the following songs and arias, but still, they can be overheard in a completely inappropriate way.
A few days have passed since events around Tamar Iveri, a Georgian opera singer, have escalated. I followed the matter with interest; in parts because I like a good show as much as anyone, but mainly because of the dynamics it revealed. It made people speak out who usually keep silent. At first glance, the event has shown a huge support for LGBTQ rights, nonetheless, I’m hesitant to shout “Victory!” My issue is not Mrs. Iveri, an opera singer I didn’t know before the events came to my attention; my problem are the people whose mind she speaks. I think they are far from being a dwindling minority.
There were a few books in my life that I found life-changing, that gave me the feeling of having found a love I never knew I had been looking for, that I couldn’t un-read, that made me change my view of the world forever. For now, I’ll only span the bracket until about 16 years of age, otherwise the list would be very long.
I have to say, up to this day, Chimamanda Adichie was completely unknown to me. (In my defence, I don’t get round to read nearly as much as I’d wish to of late.) Chimamanda Adichie is in fact a novelist of high acclaim. What she said in a speech, moved me, so I thought I’d share.
This is the kind of blog note I am not sure whether to post at all; maybe I would like to avoid my own bigotry to be showing too much. However, I think the question is worth giving a thought to, and I would be curious about your opinion, which tips the balance. So alright …
This interview is from a feature shown on Austrian TV in December 2013. A friend of mine asked me for a transcript, and a translation, so I tried my very best. Enjoy!
I found this quote the other day, and I would like to pick up on it:
As someone who identifies as gay, I remember growing up and going to the bookstore and going to the gay and lesbian section and thinking to myself, “This is it. This is what we have. This one shelf. That’s it.” And, you know, we have some short stories, and we have some history, and stuff like that, but you know, like, the fiction all centered around being gay. Like, it was defined by that. And so, I think what I hear a lot from the fans, and I share their sentiment, is, here is something where being gay is just one aspect of a much larger world that we live in. And that world is beautiful, and terrifying, and insane, and funny, and it just fits in there, and for me, being a gay artist, working on a show like this, like, I like gay stuff, gay stuff is cool, but I mean, you know, so many times I see independent films and and independent books and they’re writing the “Oh, this is gay fiction.” Well, what does that mean? Like, does that mean you have to be gay to read it? Do you have to be gay to write it? Like what? I don’t understand…Like, just one aspect of Cecil is his sexuality. And, on top of that, in this crazy world of Night Vale, his sexuality and his relationship with another man is the least weird thing to happen on a daily basis. And it really makes me feel so good to think back on where I was when I was like fifteen, sixteen and thinking “Yes, this is it.” Like, we’re making it. We’re pushing boundaries out, and saying, “This isn’t a gay podcast. We’re not gonna check your card at the door.” I love that. Cecil Baldwin
The programme was something that just couldn’t be missed. Bostridge, Bach, and Britten? I couldn’t withstand this combination which caused me to organize a little trip to Ansbach. (For most outside Germany, distances here seem ridiculous, but still, even a little trip is quite a fuss at times.)
Taking art songs as a basis, one must derive that cradling a baby is putting adults in a close to morbid state of mind. Schubert’s Wiegenlied, Britten’s cradle songs, folk-songs … they all seem to have a rather bitter edge to it. Only “Twinkle twinkle little star” shines a faint light into the chosen assortment of mishaps, catastrophes, and sudden death that is present in cradle songs.