Diva (10.5 x 12 cms ink and collage on Hahnemühle bamboo paper 2015)
There comes a point in your life when you can finally say that something doesn’t appeal to you. For years I’ve tried to like opera: in my youth I sat through an English-language performance of Wagner that seemed to last for about half of my life; I’ve listened to ‘Live from the Met’ on the radio until my ears bleed; I sat through a live broadcast of Verdi in a park until the dog got so agitated I had to leave. The music is often wonderful – Rameau, for example – but then someone starts singing over it. So now, having given opera every chance, I can categorically say that I don’t enjoy it and probably never will. Well, apart from the melodic bits of Puccini and that Poulenc opera where the nuns are beheaded one by one during the French Revolution.
The caricaturist, Max Beerbohm, once wrote,
These little marionettes with big voice, making so gigantic a pother about something or other, have keen pathos in my sight – types of our poor estate, of our vanity, our pompous endeavouring, our insignificance, on the world’s stage. See! The wee tenor is going to kill himself with a dagger. No! The wee soprano prevents him. Tiny, intelligent, full of purpose, performing with all their might tasks for which I see no reason, they seem to me – these two – like a pair of ants on a pathway.
That’s about it, I’d say.