viernes, 11 de noviembre de 2011


Tarde-tarde-tarde, para variar, pero aquí 'stá ...


THOUGHTS … ON Daniel Catán’s El Cartero (Il Postino)

Voz auténtica. Brasil. La pregunta de Rodolfo Coelho. And now it’s come full circle, over the decades.

I’m writing more on what this has to do with my last Brazil trip, a year ago. Meanwhile, Daniel Catán… I went, the penultimate night of the Festival Internacional Cervantino, to hear his opera El Cartero (based on the film Il Postino) in the Teatro Juárez. In effect, Daniel’s last COMPLETE opera, the one in whose WP in the LA Opera Plácido Domingo sang Pablo Neruda. The one which was done to considerable acclaim in Paris a few months ago … after Dani died, quietly in his sleep, last Spring.

En eso estoy, escribiendo más sobre lo que esto tiene que ver con mi último viaje a Brasil hace un año. Mientras tanto, Daniel Catán … Fui, la penúltima noche del Festival Internacional Cervantino, a escuchar su ópera El Cartero (basada en la peli Il Postino) en el Teatro Juárez. En efecto, su última opera completa, la en cuyo estreno absoluto Plácido Domingo cantaba Neruda. La que se montó a considerable elogio en París, hace unos meses … después de que Dani falleció, tranquilamente mientras dormía, la primavera pasada.

Un caudal de memorias, para mí. Dani aún con sus veinte-tantos, pero ya sabiendo muy bien lo que quiso escribir. Cómo batallaba en Princeton, queriendo escribir la música que ya escuchaba en su oído interno, allá en ese mar hirviente de serialismo. Pero sí que logró salir con todo y pergamino del doctorado. Y lo que es más, con la voz intacta.

Claro, después la voz maduró, y considerablemente. Pero aún así la obra de su tesis fue digna de grabarse.

Parece que siempre tuvo que batallar para hacer lo que tenía que hacer.

Tradicional la voz, se puede decir, ¿y qué? A mi ver lo importante es que fue absolutamente suya –y, cabe mencionar, de no poca destreza y elocuencia. Y además, ¿cuántos compositores hay de ópera en español, en este hemisferio? Ibarra, Catán, son contadísimos.

Ay de mí, ¿porqué tantos tienen que morir antes de recibir su justo reconocimiento?

Fuertes ecos de Verdi en el sentido de lo político, a mi ver. Par mí fue muy claro que esta ópera hace su declaración en cuanto a la capacidad de la poesía –y, por extensión, el arte en general—de cambiar la vida individual y así el mundo. Por lento y penoso que sea el camino.

Cuando Dani Catán falleció, escribí, “In the end music enters us first through our pores, through our physical organism, maybe sometime later through intellect and all that. Hearing is the first sense to develop neonatally. In the end if music touches us in that way, if we want to listen to it again and again even if it wrenches our hearts, that is what is important, that's the acid test, it has little to do with good or bad. This is why people still listen to Puccini, why Puccini evokes in many listeners --this one included-- tears of joy and humility and pride to be human. So if Daniel's music sounded to these listeners like Puccini ... so much the better, so much more collective pride for all of us to be human. That we are able to be touched by such beauty is great humility and great pride. Carajo, I am so sad that he is gone.

"A la postre la música nos entra primero a través de nuestros poros, nuestro organismo físico, quizás tiempo después por el intelecto y todo aquello. El sentido auditivo es el primero en desarrollarse en el feto. A la postre si una obra nos toca de esa manera, si la quisiéramos escuchar una y otra vez aún si nos desgarra el corazón, eso es lo importante, eso es la prueba de fuego, que poco tiene que ver con bueno o malo. Por esto la gente todavía escucha a Bach, a Brahms, a Puccini, por esto Puccini evoca en tantos escuchas –incluída ésta—lágrimas de regocijo, de humildad y de orgullo por ser humano. Así que si la música de Daniel, para ciertos escuchas, sonaba a Puccini … pues mejor que mejor, que así sea, más orgullo colectivo para todos nosotros de ser humano. Que podemos ser conmovidos por tamaña hermosura es gran humildad y gran orgullo. Carajo, estoy tan triste que se ha ido.”

jueves, 10 de noviembre de 2011



My wonderful Cousin H**** sends me this really good essay by EJ Dionne in the WashPost (check it out!) and I responded. It turned into a rant so I post it here … with names disguised to protect the innocent of course, as always …

This is a wonderful piece, dear H***, and MANY thanks for sending it on. Jiminy, if these election results don't show it's long past time for politicians to stop running scared from these Tea Party people, I don't know what will. I like the quote from Jerry Lewis in Arizona, that this was a victory for "restoring a civil tone to politics.' One of the many things that's been missing for some decades now, I feel.

"This was a case of old-fashioned conservatism beating the Tea Party variety", says Dionne. I have to say that I’ve felt since the very beginning that the Tea Party has little or nothing to do with real conservatism. The best conservatives were people like Warren Rudman, the Senator from New Hampshire-- who were real strict-constructionists and with whom, I imagine, one could have a real discussion about substantive public-policy issues. Rudman at least, I feel quite sure, would fight to the death for my right to disagree with him, and I, in fact, for his to disagree with me.

The TP folks, on the other hand, out of their own mouths have the utmost contempt for government and for public policy. There are strong grounds to suspect that not one of those people has any idea what public policy even is. And much less about dying for my right to disagree with them, or they with me. For some time I have felt pretty sure that they don't even know --or if they do know, that they care-- about the Bill of Rights.

I feel it's justifiable, in fact, to call them cynical and opportunist. I've said it before and I feel everything that's happened in the last year justifies saying it again: What right do these people have to be in government when they openly profess nothing but complete unbelief in government? They want to take us back to way before the City-State, for heaven's sake. So they have no right to form part of the government, and much less to benefit from that participation. More than anything else, because they have collectively and individually offered not one single constructive proposal about ANY of the things which ail us as a country.

So they are just happily collecting their bennies --unlike the people who are out of work, for whom they have zero compassion!-- and railing on against the very government which has arranged for them to have said bennies. Cynical is a pretty good adjective, I say. And opportunist sticks pretty well too: at least pigs at the trough are just following their natural Pig Instincts.

Anyway, I am enormously happy that The People Have Spoken in these elections, and that they have been Speaking these last few weeks, in the various Occupied Places. Enormously happy that the unions have taken strength from the Occupy folks. I hope people will stop running scared from these Naked Tea-Party Emperors and laugh them out of the house they have have no right to rule. I'll stop ranting now ... ;=))