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He’s still here!

La Cieca is delighted to announce that after a long absence Our Own JJ (not pictured) has returned to the pages of Musical America with another entry in his “Rough and Regie” blog— this time comparing Atys with Follies.


  • Alto says:

    Cieca, please tell J.J. he’s a fucking genius. Too good for this world.

  • m. croche says:

    Nice to see another one of JJ’s longer-form pieces again, and a great pleasure to see a thoughtful presentation of Atys.

    I wondered a bit about this: “Thus the virtue to be cultivated is restraint: the ability to recognize one’s feelings but to choose not to act on them if they conflict with one’s duty.

    This restraint could hardly have looked very attractive to the work’s first audience, the glittering court of Louis XIV, and how much more so severe and cold must this virtue seem to us in the 21st century.”

    Setting aside the question whether such a principle was more honored-in-the-breach at the 17th-century court, issues of “restraint” remain timely in contemporary contexts. I’m not a Royal Watcher, but my passing familiarity with the subject suggests matters of “duty” and “restraint” continue to be enabling vexations for these human figureheads. This is a matter also explored in popular culture, from the publicized tribulations of Diana Spencer to “The King’s Speech”. Unrestrained leaders (Berlusconi comes to find) arouse popular disgust for that very reason. In our more democratic age, where celebrity has replaced aristocracy, similar issues are at play -- famous folks who have something to lose if their image is tarnished are under constant surveillance from journalists and Iphones. The moral revulsion necessary to make “Real Housewives” work aesthetically also requires our sense that restraint is necessary.

    Now, most of us don’t have to worry about this sort of thing in our everyday live (though perhaps the internet has introduced more forms of surveillance and social control.) This is why more “bourgeois” forms of tragedy were developed and enjoyed popularity. The social restraints presented in Wozzeck or Lady Macbeth/Mtsensk or Traviata are critiqued. But I think there still lingers in our aesthetic sense, if not our political one, the feeling that some of the most powerful tragedy comes from watching powerful figures toppled from their greatness, and I believe by and large we do retain a sense of the conflicts involved.

  • Camille says:

    That’s one of your best looks, Cieca. Blonde suits you best. So soignee, suave, chic, and put together!

    Also forgot to mention that this week’s Intermission Feature “pretty in pink” suited you very well, but I dunno about that Bernhardt ‘do you sport. And too much blue on the eyes, dear. Needn’t be laid on with a trowel!

  • louannd says:

    Well, apparently, it is not about Anna all day all of the time. Terrific reading. Thank you very much.

  • Nerva Nelli says:

    To subvert the subject line: for two points, about whom was The Great Daniel J. Wakin quoting Mr. Gelb?

    “He is one of the greatest artists of all time.”

    1. Andrea Bocelli

    2. Keith Miller

    3. Vittorio Grigolo

    4. Bartlett Sher

    5. James Levine

  • Orlando Furioso says:

    As the previous Follies discussion was weeks ago, I offer a link to a review of the revival at the Aisle Say site.

    Often I find Mr. Spencer’s reviews too insidery-teachery (he’s a lyricist/librettist, and a teacher to young writers), but in this case I think he’s hit it mostly right. Or at least, if he bypasses some points I think are important, he’s fairly insightful about the ones he does deal with.

  • La Valkyrietta says:

    It was great to see Rosalind Elias in Follies and to know she’s still here!

    • armerjacquino says:

      I’ve just found Elias in ‘One More Kiss’ on YouTube and may have a little something in my eye.