Perhaps I get annoyed by different things. I admit that it is completely unacceptable to substitute name calling for actual criticism, but the things that annoy me are far more likely to be ignorance.
One of the opera writers insists on referring to Octavian as a page boy. Now perhaps we are experiencing cultural differences, but in my vocabulary a page boy is either a hair cut or a young household servant. If Octavian is just one of the Marschallin's servants, then why are they worrying about the Feldmarschall catching them together? Why wouldn't he just slip back into his working clothes and start acting obsequious?
Octavian is a count, a member of Austrian royalty and appears in the book that catalogs them. That's why Sophie knows his age and all his baptismal names. It's why the public shouts his name "Rofrano" when he appears in the street in full regalia in front of Faninal's house. He is a publicly known figure who met the Marschallin while she was riding in her carriage in the Prater. Turning this character into a household servant is just plain stupid.
It makes nonsense of the entire rest of the story. Are we to believe that Sophie has thrown over a Baron for a household servant and that Faninal will be placated about this by any amount of rides with the Marschallin in her carriage?
If you go into public life such as opera singing, you have to expect people to make stupid remarks about you, but complete ignorance by a professional writer of the topic one is purportedly writing about is unforgivable.
Monday, May 26, 2014
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