[Still things to discuss about the Aix “Trionfo” production? Join in below! – Sabine Devieilhe (Bellezza) and Sara Mingardo (Disinganno) in Handel’s “Il trionfo del tempo de del disinganno”, or “All is good if tanktops and contraltos are involved”. Aix-en-Provence 2016.]
So that the discussion about the production doesn’t get lost underneath the liveblogging thread – below a few of the opinions voiced for reference, and to get us started:
thadieu on Disinganno:
i’ve been thinking about her character, she’s constantly smiling “happy with herself” , sort of this “disconnection” we have in life when our immediate surrounding is passing us by with their content and not understanding what troubles one’s specific mind..
Or is this supposed to be a comment on the impossibility of gaining access to truth and reason in today’s superficial, hedonist society that is so much focused on physical “beauty”?
Very nice interpretation. But maybe they haven’t thought that far and she is just totally fed up with her patronizing parents.
Then you’d have bourgeois institutions (like marriage) killing Beauty, and forcing Beauty away from enjoyment, perhaps? Also an intriguing idea. But then, what is with all the zombie beauty queen extras?
i still see her as a lonely individual with imaginary “figures” .. will need to work Piacere into this somehow as to whether he’s real or also part of her “friends”
As for this stage production and its message, I will share my interpretation here and would love to hear yours. As we know the libretto of this oratorio was written by Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili and it was meant to be moral teaching, moral teaching it was, with allegorical characters. I can’t ascertain whether Handel wrote composed it for moral teaching or not but the music itself was as dramatic and beautiful as anything – would such expressive beauty of music (already very close to opera, which was banned in Roma) count as pleasure? And should that be refrained or given up, too? Was Handel’s music constructive or destructive to the moral of the oratorio? I can’t say.
Anyway, that was that. Now translated into 21st century narrative by Warlikowski, what I get is not triumph of time and enlightenment, but rather, the tragic death of beauty. Beauty stifled by time, regulation and formality. Beauty was portrayed as adolescent, rash, and self indulgent, and of course, beautiful. But beauty is also self destructive. Disinganno the character is portrayed as quite sensible and detached (as amicable as SM the contralto can be), she tells truth as it is, under a cold light. Is Beauty enlightened by the end? Enlightenment or rather, disillusion? What I read, as a modern day audience, from this stage production is that order and formality (he made reference to religion too, with the IHS emblem on the front of the robe that Beauty was made change into) stifle creativity and beauty.
But my question is: is drug, sex, delinquency beauty? Is death the destiny of beauty, Mr. Warlikowski?
This is something I find difficult to swallow. Mr. Warlikowski added a bit too much of his own agenda to this oratorio.
Nevertheless, I bow to the musicians: the soloists, the orchestra and the marvelous Emmanuelle Haïm.
Perhaps the central question (or one of them) is whether “hedonist” beauty always comes with some self-distruction, with some self-centeredness, some self-indulgence… and whether that simply belongs to it? Is any form of beauty imaginable without a touch of this? (and is Warlikowski’s take to show this impossibility of beauty to exist within full rationality and regulation and (spiritual) transcendence to simply take it to the extreme so that one really has to stop to think about it?) Does beauty and creativity depend on a grain of cahos, at least? And what is beauty, even? It looked like it was a conscious point that it is NOT the zombie beauty queens.So perhaps death is always inherent in beauty (where Rilkesque, actually), to a point that has here been extended and made more visible, and perhaps not drugs, but giving oneself over to a mindless state, or letting go and giving in to pleasure in general (through drugs of choice, or sex), and following one’s impulses instead of rules is a necessary part of beauty/pleasure? Can it be balanced with civilized existence, or not, ultimately? (is this a take on the Nietzschean Appollonian/Dionysian?)And the counterimage really is not Time, but Disenchantment: removed from “beauty” and emotion and kept in shallow self-indulgence just as well, because without a bit of chaos there will be no real feeling and no real challenge…?