[All the energy and sheer joy of music-making you’ll need to make it through another week of 45ish Dystopia and other countries willfully abolishing democratic structures (and Heaven only knows what the French will choose today on that front), packed into 6 minutes: Diana Haller (Ariodante) with Ruggiero’s “Sta nell’Ircana” from Handel’s “Alcina”, Stuttgart 2015- – Clip with thanks to Vesna Zelic]
After recently hearing Haller’s Ariodante, I’ll stick with her Bartoli-level of palpable joy in singing to remind us all once more that, while horrible forces unleashed by the (misguided or calculating) aid of others (perhaps even our own) have now spent 22 weeks wrecking havoc on much more than just one nation and we have 186 more weeks left, we also have belcanto to power us up for the next March for Science, our neighbors’ rights and our own.
Yesterday, I walked through Technisches Museum in Vienna, which has a permanent exhibition on objects stolen off the persecuted, in their case during the NS regime. And it was eerie and bone-chilling to see – to be reminded again – how easily and with what level of detached logistics people were murdered and their things were stolen. You look at at old radio, at old maps, an old car, and they once belonged to a family – a family deported, torn apart, in most instances murdered. And this thing is still there. And you wouldn’t know its bloody history if not for the research undergone to make it visible.
It is so easy not to know. It is so easy to look the other way. And it may start with a book or a radio or lifting a rule of environmental protection, but it ends with members of your community being marginalized and killed, directly or indirectly (by polluted air and poisoned water and no access to health care).
I walked out of the museum newly determined to always look twice and to continue speaking up. And since we need energy for that, it brings me back to “Sta nell’Ircana”, which, if you look at it in recent light, is actually an aria about self-care: Go out there and attack the Evil Empire with your best coloratura, but then also retreat to your cave, protect your young and your community, and shut off the news to recharge. And then remember you’re a tiger and charge into the DaCapo.
Hang in there for Week 23, and also cross your fingers for France today.