Thursday, 13 August 2009

Kiri's Final Monologue

Kiri Te Kanawa has announced -- note her retirement from singing; not yet anyway -- but her imminent retirement from the opera stage.

Her last opera performance will be in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier in Cologne next April, singing a role, appropriately enough, whose famous aria (the Marschallin's Monologue) sees her musing wistfully on the passing of time. Renee Fleming sets the scene for that famous monologue in this clip in one of a series of great clips on the opera at the New York Times site. And The Met's site has this reflection on the aria:
The Marschallin alone among the characters sees the future passing through the present into the past, and wonders what it means. Philosophers may say that time is only the measure of change. Poets may say "Carpe diem" -- "Grasp time while you can." But the Marschallin finds that in fact in a human life one cannot measure or grasp or hold. Each irreversible moment is already gone in the instant of becoming.
For the accountants reading this, that's like saying you can either spend your savings or have them - they're gone in the instant of enjoying them. :-)
Anyway, here's a sample from her singing the role at Covent Garden in 1986 in which she laments her quickly vanishing youth:

And this is her singing the beatiful piece from the 'Songs of the Auvergne' that you might have enjoyed in the film In My Father's Den (sadly only available at YouTube in wide screen, it seems):


  1. I like Kiri's music, but I thought that she recently signed up for that Greenpeace celebrity campaign?

    Anyone can confirm that?

  2. I don't think so, but even t'were true would make no difference.

    Taking an artist's views on science seriously would be as foolish as deridingg their art (or praising it) because of those views.

    Taking the scientific or political notions of an artist seriously just because they're a great artist would be as foolish as to praise (or deride) their artistic talent because of their views on politics or science.

    Makes no difference at all if they're batshit crazy in every other field but their own: qua artist, it's only their talent in that one that counts.

  3. Hey, and you know what this means FF?

    That we agree on a question of music!

    Perhaps I'd better reconsider my praise . . . :-)

  4. "Makes no difference at all if they're batshit crazy in every other field but their own: qua artist, it's only their talent in that one that counts."


    "we agree on a question of music!"

    Impossible. ;)

  5. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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