One of four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta
Everything begins with a sacrifice, the bloodshed behind the ink.
—Alice Goodman, A Letter of Rights
I’d forgotten, until recently, when a friend and I repaired to a local bookstore that actually carried CDs, the pleasure of perusing the bins and sharing finds. So it was, when I made my way down to New York City Monday, I determined, despite the bitter cold, to build in a stop at Academy Records on the way to my first concert of 2016. This time, unusually, I came prepared with a list in hand. Continue reading
When asked about her libretto for the opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, Alice Goodman, whose voice has not been heard nearly enough in the current discussions, said:
Our world has had, since before I was born, histories of people dehumanizing other people, of which the Jewish people have been the most notable of subjects, of victims. And so I think that it is absolutely paramount that civilization, that people who claim to be humane, civilized, moral, and, as it were, looking to a higher power, should know better than to wish to dehumanize anyone and should be able to acknowledge also the darkness that is in each of us. So, in other words, there is nothing that is human that should be foreign to us. That’s one of the things that art exists to express. Continue reading
The Gospel According to the Other Mary, Act 1, Scene 5: Passover Scene © 2013 Richard Termine.
Each of us has been a slave in Egypt,
Soaked straw and clay with sweat,
And crossed the sea dry-footed.
You too, stranger.
This year in fear and shame,
Next year in virtue and in justice.
—Primo Levi, from Passover
When I first encountered John Adams’s opera, Nixon in China, I had Nixon neatly stored away as disgraced and thoroughly disgraceful. Why anyone would want to glorify him in an opera was incomprehensible to me.
Then I listened to the opera. Continue reading