Nothing new under the sun

Striding home on my bicycle in an awful storm I was listening to Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims – The Journey to Rheims which is utterly rossinian in that it is without scope, completely confusing, and all together meaningless. But it is funny.

When I reached the grand aria of Don Profondo it was as if everything suddenly made sense in some…well…profound way. I had just left the office where I write my dissertation which is about…erm…that is always the problem: how to explain the subject of your dissertation in two words? Don Profondo did it for me when he made the list of things he will take with him when he leaves for Rheims:
Myself! Don Profondo
Incomparable ancient coins,
rare, priceless cameos,
produced in obscure,
sublime antiquity.
On golden parchment
the documents of the societies
of which I am a noble member
of the highest rank.

The great unpublished treatise
on the infallible method
of always distinguishing
at first sight,
the ancient from the modern,
from the outside and from the inside,
in the male and in the female,
and much else as well.

That’s it! That is my dissertation! I am trying to distinguish modern (romantic) from ancient (neoclassical), describe the philosophical difference between inside and outside (flayed men from clothed women), define female and male traits – “and much else as well”!

Only difference? My dissertation will not remain unpublished!

I will have to quote Don Profondo on the first page. In Italian though to seem more deep…

Il gran trattato inedito
Sull’infallibil metodo
Di saper ben distinguere,
A prima vista ognor
L’antico dal moderno,
Di fuori e nell’interno,
Ne’ maschi, nelle femine,
E in altri oggetti ancor.

To listen to the aria go here.


This entry was posted in Art, Day-to-day, Music, Opera. Bookmark the permalink.

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