Troyens

Troyens

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Tell Me More

Michael Fabiano (Don Carlo) and Mariusz Kwiecień (Rodrigo)

©Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera


In my review of the San Francisco Opera Don Carlo, I wrote that the most intense and intimate relationship in the opera is between Carlo and Rodrigo. I think it's baked into the score, given that Elisabetta and Carlo do not truly get to express their love for each other, and given that the cause of Flanders is noble and just, not clouded by adultery or incest-by-marriage. (Okay, there is heresy!) Rodrigo has the purest motives and purest heart in the opera.

And, for whatever reasons, that's how it's being played in SF. It could be done many other ways; in this production, the two characters hug and sing arm in arm a lot, and of course Rodrigo dies in Carlo's arms. And of course practically anyone could fall in love with the fabulous Mariusz Kwiecien.

But I am extremely curious how this relationship read in the 19th century and earlier in the 20th c., before it became very easy, perhaps too easy, to see the potential homoeroticism in the relationship. Research pointers, anyone? I'd love to read a paper or two, or a chapter in a longer volume, on the subject.

And yes, I should see how it plays in the Schiller as well.

3 comments:

NY Bookfile said...

"But I am extremely curious how this relationship read in the 19th century and earlier in the 20th c., before it became very easy, perhaps too easy, to see the potential homoeroticism in the relationship. Research pointers, anyone? I'd love to read a paper or two, or a chapter in a longer volume, on the subject."


Why?

Opera is not into the truth seeking business. It is through the orchestra and voices that almost everything happens in opera.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Intellectual curiosity. Basically the same reason I might be interested in why there are four versions of the opera.

Also, I will tell you in advance that this is the last comment from you that I'll publish on the subject. I am not interested in debating the legitimacy of my interest in aspects of opera beyond the effects of the voices and orchestra.

kalimac said...

In those far-off days of the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was possible to remember that there is such a thing as love without an erotic element. There was consequently no reason to be surprised by or curious about a close affectionate relationship between two people of the same sex.

The consequence of this was that when there was a homoerotic element, which happened often enough, people didn't see it. But nowadays we see it even when there isn't one. I don't think that's an improvement.