Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kivy's Codetta

I love the "codetta" that Peter Kivy puts at the end of his "Opera talk: A philosophical 'phantasie'" chapter in The Fine Art of Repetition.
Strange creatures these operatic people, worthy of the wildest of science fiction imaginations. What bizarre transformations they have undergone to have become able to speak in song and move as disembodied orchestral sound. O brave new world that has such people in it. How remote they are from us and our prosaic and bodily lives. And what is the Countess to me that I should weep for her? Is it enough to say that we have both acquired the art of expression, but that she has got a little ahead of me? "Little" is hardly the word for it. She has Mozart's powers, and I only my own. Yet there must be common ground. Or so at least I assure myself, somewhat doubiously, each time I go to the opera to believe the impossible.
Kivy writes about operatic characters as being composers of their own music, and here he refers, by the way, to these "fantasy" composers as being both women and men.

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