Sound and Clouds and Thunder

[Just to prove that everything is better with mezzos (also: The Hair!): “Son nata a lagrimar” from Handel’s “Giulio Cesare” with Jamie Barton (Cornelia) and Joyce DiDonato (Sesto), Tucker Gala 2016. – Clip with thanks to dragan1412]

This morning, I read the news. I do that every morning. But ever since November 9th, it has become harder to do so.

I now consciously have to brace myself before I open the news page (and immediately wish for a browser extension that would simply replace one certain face with a muted orange blur), and I need a while afterwards to pick myself up again and not let the negativity seep into me, to not let it poison and paralyze me with fear.

Reading the news and trying to be informed is something I see as my duty (that whole ideal of ‘be a witness, take a stance’), so simply leaving the news page closed in the morning is not an option, however tempting it may be on the really gray days.

I am not sure if this will turn into a permanent category (the obvious ‘Thursday Thoughts’ was already taken, and I wanted something more theatrical that evokes the dark clouds and the clouds of bliss, the thunder that rolls against us, but also the thunder that we can channel, as singers or listeners), but I feel the need to bear witness and not stay silent.

This is just a very hidden blog. But this is my starting point.

It as been a week of horrible news being reported: antisemitic and neo-nazi rhetoric running rampant, with euphemisms being rolled out to their perpetrators. Countless instances of injustice not being persecuted, and calls to action echoing off into nothingness among the just who seem, to me, scattered and scared.

Well, I am setting up shop.

My initial thought was ‘hm, 208 weeks until the next U.S. elections, perhaps I need a weekly countdown format’: to neverlet myself be lulled into accepting what is happening right now as normal.
But it is more than that: I notice in myself that I need to cope in some way after bearing witness to the news in the morning. I turn to rites I have grown long-unaccustomed to. And I turn to music, with more urgency than before.

Depending on the day, it is music to keep me company in sadness or to remind me of the beauty humans are capable of. Music to give hope or to help forget, to energize or to soothe. And whatever works for me, I will share with you here. Today, it was Handel (on many days, it will be Handel). And not one, but two mezzo-sopranos.

Today is a curious day – celebrated with thanks by some, a reason to commemorate loss for others.

The country where I live will likely elect a fascist into the office of President in ten days. The rhetoric in the press is already frightening, and the opposing forces, who may still have to much manners to scream and lie and openly abuse, or may simply still be incredulous at what is happening, seem to to dissipate unheard.

Tonight, I will get to hear a singer – Joyce DiDonato – whose home country has elected a fascist and his brigades into the office of President a little over two weeks ago.

I remember now – and it seems so far away already, and so much lighter of heart – the other recent nights of Handel, the “Alcina” shared with thadieu and others, which was before. And I cannot help but think, tonight, I will attend a concert that is programatically about peace. And in ten days, it will also have been before.

Tonight, there is still hope.

May hope win out. May peace win out.

10 thoughts on “Sound and Clouds and Thunder”

    1. Thank you, stray – saw it today on Twitter, and they’re right, those are the narratives we need now, and we need them to be told.


  1. Yeah Joyce!
    Its a bright, sunny Thanksgiving day. There is always much to be grateful for, though not necessarily for the turkeys. The dogs (Mamie and her bff Hatty) and I are having corned beef and potatoes, maybe cabbage. Also sunflower seeds, peanuts – and football. The Lions beat the Vikings with a last few seconds field-goal, and we have three more games to go before tonight. Peace.


  2. so first of all, wherever there has been repression, there has always been resistance. this, too, this choosing of beauty is its own act of resistance.

    also, that duet is so stunning. i watched the stream of the whole concert and this was my favorite favorite part (even more than Renee, yes). They’re so good. Joyce. Sigh.

    and again, I’m so glad the fascist lost, where you are. Hope. Hope indeed.


    1. Yes, hope. It may be largely symbolic, but symbols matter.

      Now we need to stay awake and keep on resisting because the next house elections will be in two years and I don’t want a parliament being at least 1/3 far-right, and possibly getting into the government.



        1. I wish there were some more respite, but she is right – and there will always be causes, so it will never be over, but that right there? That was a big one.



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