Warning, Warning! Sung French melodrama

My computer went out of commission on Christmas Eve, so my posting for this week has been sparse. I hope indeed that everyone had – and is still having – a merry Christmas. Mine was otherwise pleasant and low-key, and I was able to make the time to go to Mass both days.

Anyhow, yesterday I listened to Verdi’s Rigoletto for the first time (well, aside from that famous tune). Although I’ve always loved opera, I never made much of a foray into Verdi’s operas; La Traviata didn’t impress me in high school, and I was more taken with Wagner’s style at the time, so the old italian fell by the wayside. But these days bel canto has more appeal to me than infinite melody, so Verdi is a welcome rediscovery.

Similarly, I saw the film adaptation of Les Miserables (which, like Rigoletto, was originally adapted from a work by Victor Hugo) earlier today I had never seen the musical before, and was intrigued to find a mainstream piece of pop culture which has Catholics  and Catholicism so upfront as opposed to being just the aesthetic window dressing of a period piece. You can’t make sense of Valjean and Javert without trying to understand their differing relationships with God, and there is some attempt to grapple with the relationship between justice and mercy (Leah Libresco of Unequally Yoked has some interesting thoughts here and here). Anyhow, I enjoyed it immensely, and, since this was my first go around, was too busy just absorbing it to nitpick too much. A second time in some medium or another seems advisable.

(I’ve been putting off seeing The Hobbit, since what I’ve been hearing of it is making me anxious. But then, my earliest memories of Bilbo are that terrible Rankin-Bass animation, so really, there’s not that much of my childhood to destroy here)

About Josh W

Scribbler and doodler
This entry was posted in Catholicism, fragments of culture, pop culture and its discontents. Bookmark the permalink.

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