[Reasons to smile: Ann Hallenberg singing “Già presso al termine” from Veracini’s “Adriano in Siria”. – Clip, again, with thanks to jovi1715]
Another week, another reminder that nepotism and sexism are not normal and are, in fact, largely outlawed in some happy places – even if no one speaks up. And we need to speak up. Everyone’s side job: keeping democracy safe and up and running.
And what better way to energize than with some Ann Hallenberg?
There is so much stupendous technique and so much joy (also, foxiness) and beauty in this recording that it feels like a day at a mental health spa – just take the syncopic repetition as of 4:28!
Listening to Hallenberg, to me, always comes with an added sense of something being imminently and unrefutably right with the world.
Like the world is in balance, even when it is not. Perhaps it is a general Swedish mezzo thing because I also get this with von Otter (and sometimes with Ernman, too): their singing is a compass that gives us an aural assurance of the world being able to be in sync. And for a few precious minutes, it is.
Listening to Hallenberg these days signals, to me, hope. (and anyone of us who can should be heading to Antwerp to catch her “Agrippina”)
It’s a related legitimate question why I post so much Baroque repertory in the column, and Belcanto, and nothing of the Romantic repertory yet. And other than “it’s beautiful” and “it has such drive”, there is a deeper reason, I find, why I am drawn even more more to Baroque repertory up until Belcanto Rossini these days, at a moment where so much of politics is made through emotional outbursts, and voter decisions are made by instinct and not reason: Baroque, up to Rossini, takes conscious decodification. There is always a stance involved (like the text of joyful music-making Hallenberg offers here), whereas latter 19th century repertory, startling with Donizetti already, perhaps even with late Bellini, is about immersion. And immersion, as I see it around me these days, locally and globally, is so dangerous if not handled responsibly.
These days, I do not want to be drawn into something and disappear into overwhelmed emotion. These days, I prefer to love while standing on my own two feet, with my mind alert and constantly negotiating.
On another related note, both the playlists by thebarroque listed here (where I also first heard today’s entry) will be very, very good for your overall mental state (@Agathe: II, 40!).