Sunday, September 25, 2011

For Sunday Scribblings

(Also submitted to Three-Word Wedneseday, ABC Wednesday and Magpie 84)

The woman in the picture above could very well be Violetta.
Violetta Valery was the lady’s full name and she was the star of Verdi’s opera “La Traviata,” perhaps the most-performed opera in history.
The prompt reminds us of her because it could well be a picture of someone who, like Violetta, is declaring her freedom. Other women were interested in such things as a guarantee of security -- marriage, family, home. Violetta was a person who wanted her independence. She lived a life that was a veritable kaleidoscope of adventures, a life dedicated to joy, beauty, pleasure and romance.

Above: Anna Netrebko, who's not just beautiful but is also one of the greatest sopranos of our present day -- she sang the role of Violetta.
In the opera she played what they used to call, a century and a half ago, a courtesan. It was not difficult to become a courtesan, actually. You just had to be extremely attractive, young, witty, charming, and you had to have a group of rich – and generous -- male friends who would cherish and support you.
Violetta had a life made up of all these and she gloried in that life. One of her best-known arias in the opera is titled “Always Free” – “Sempre Libera.”

Sempre libera degg'io
Folleggiare di gioia in gioia.
Always free, I frolic
From joy to joy.

Vo'che scorra il viver mio
Pei sentieri del piacer.
I run about to feel,
To taste every pleasure.

Nasca il giorno, o il giorno muoia,
Sempre lieta ne'ritrovi.
As the day is born, or as the day dies,
I’m always seeking gladness, happiness.


However, as you might expect, Violetta discovers true love; there’s a chap, a young nobleman named Alfredo Germont, who declares his love for her. At first she laughs him off. Serious love, commitment? She implies that she felt a tinge of nausea at the very thought of such a conventionsl, humdrum life. But of course she changes her mind (or there’d be no opera).

Today Giuseppe Verdi, one of the greatest composers who ever lived, would probably be surprised to learn that there are many women who also have lives dedicated to a kaleidoscope of happiness and beauty, as well as to home and family, and the key point is they have the freedom to do so.

41 comments:

Tess Kincaid said...

Oh, this image made me think of Netrebko, as well...great minds...excellent post, as always, Mr. B.

izzy said...

Ah, wild and free! thanks for the background-

Fireblossom said...

Verdi is a favorite. Enjoyed this.

Jo Bryant said...

Loved this - now looking into Verdi for sure

Reflections said...

Profound observations here. Love dropping by for a quick lesson in those wonderous masterpieces from past times.

Kay L. Davies said...

Another of your interesting views on a prompt that took us all into many different directions, but only you could see Verdi.
Enjoyable, as always.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

waysidewordgarden said...

Interesting and wonderful. Thank you.

Isabel Doyle said...

and the first full production opera I ever saw - I have been smitten since
When I saw the prompt I thought of you and Prospero's island (I will drown my books!) but you did that one last week I think.

Here's to freedom!

jabblog said...

A unique response to the prompt and one from which I learned - always a bonus.

Brian Miller said...

very nice...perhapsthe greatest learningis that one man or womans freedom may not be that of another...and it can change over time as well...

kaykuala said...

A very quick lesson back through an Opera appreciation. Thanks for sharing!

Hank

Catfish Tales said...

What a lovely tale and a beautiful woman to fill its shoes. Thank you so much for exposing us to it. Cheers

Berowne said...

Tess K: "Oh, this image made me think of Netrebko, as well."
As you say, great minds.l.. :-)

Berowne said...

Brian M: "One man's or woman's freedom may not be that of another..."
Very true...

Berowne said...

What an encouraging group of comments from izzy, Fireblossom, Jo B, Reflections, Kay L D, Isabel D, jabblog, kaykuala and Catfish Tales -- thanks.

Suz said...

pure joy to read

gautami tripathy said...

Beautifully written...

Here is mine:

unhinged

chiccoreal said...

Dear Berowne: Profound operatic connection! Bravo! Love this artist! Thank-you!

Helen said...

Ah, the courtesan ... the fallen woman. Verdi knew how to write her!

Ann Grenier said...

Beautiful and enlightening post. I always learn something here.

Kristen Haskell said...

Wonderful post - Every time I stop by I learn something new :)

Tumblewords: said...

Different freedoms for different... She is a beauty and he was a great master. Thanks for this.

Roger Owen Green said...

great story, though, honestly, I was...distracted by the photo
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Leslie said...

Great take on the photo. Times have changed greatly since the time of Verdi, mostly for the better. At first, when I looked at the photo, I thought of Cathy in "Wuthering Heights." Can you "see" her in it, too?

Carver said...

Great post and I like how you used it for kaleidoscope.

Berowne said...

Roger O G: "Honestly, I was...distracted by the photo."
Yes, Anna N. can be distracting...

A Scattering said...

I love the choice of kaleidoscope - fabulous. Thanks for the history and music lessons as well!

Susie Clevenger said...

How lovely and informative...Kudos!

sharplittlepencil said...

You have given me yet another word to describe my existence on this earth: A kaleidoscope life. Perfect.

Your comments on Verdi are so welcome. My hometown of Binghamton has a very decent opera company; Jake Gardner went to the Met from Bing, and the Met also routinely borrowed sets from our home base. I'm quite a fan - Puccini is my favorite (I'm such a drama queen!).

Loved this, and thanks! Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/portrait-of-great-grandpa-and-mom/

Alice Audrey said...

The world has certainly changed since the opera was written, but the underlying humanity of it endures.

andy sewina said...

Nicely done, informative as ever!

Berowne said...

Thanks, andy.

Berowne said...

Suz: "Pure joy to read." Ann G: "Beautiful and enlightening post." Kristen H: "Wonderful post." Amy: "Loved this and thanks!"
My thanks for some very welcome comments.

ds said...

I just saw Ms. Netrebko's photo in the paper today, so I thank you doubly for this post. Now I know that I must someday listen to "La Traviata." As always, entertaining and informative.

Berowne said...

Thanks, ds.
I don't feel dull,
I don't feel hollow.
I found myself
In your "Blogs I follow." :-)

jaerose said...

Wonderful post..the freedom to create is like a heartbeat..Jae

Berowne said...

Thanks, jae...

Rinkly Rimes said...

Because of you I can sound quite learned when people are talking bout the arts! Do you mind assisting in fraud?

Berowne said...

Rinkly R: "Do you mind assisting in fraud?"
Don't mind a bit. :-)

Berowne said...

Susie C: "How lovely and informative...Kudos!"
And kudos to you for the comment. :-)

ChrisJ said...

La Traviata is one of my favorite operas. I think it's the prelude to the third act that is the most beautiful and melancholic pieces of music I know. I like most of Verdi's operas.

 
Blog designed by Blogger Boutique using Christy Skagg's "A Little Bit of That" kit.