Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

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Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tales from the Dark side: The Devil vs. God ... Arrigo Boito’s, Mefistofele ... DOC says ...


Mefistofele, Arrigo Boito ... it remains one of my favorite operas and one from which I borrowed a line for the epigraph to Jimmy Bench-Press: Ah me, Faust (With [follow] me, Faust).

Enter Mefistofele (the devil) ... he places a bet with God ...

Faust sells his soul ...

The witches sabbath ...

Lontano, Lontano ...

Ah me, Faust ... for Jimmy Mangino (Jimmy Bench-Press) it was his pursuit of being a “made man” ... It’s the last line in the video below: The Devil cuts the throat of Faust’s beloved and his disciples lead him off atop the cage Margarita was jailed in. The Devil yells: Ah me, Faust!

Right over Might ... (Faust begs forgiveness, the Devil is rebuked)

The Opera Summary (from Wikipedia):

A heavenly chorus praises God the Creator. Mefistofele scornfully declares that he can win the soul of Faust. His challenge is accepted by the Forces of Good.

Act I, Scene 1
The aged Dr. Faust and his pupil Wagner are watching the Easter celebrations in the main square in Frankfurt. Faust senses that they are being followed by a mysterious friar, about whom he senses something evil. Wagner dismisses his master’s feelings of unease and as darkness falls they return to Faust’s home

Scene 2
Faust is in his study, deep in contemplation. His thoughts are disturbed in dramatic fashion by the sudden appearance of the sinister friar, whom he now recognizes as a manifestation of the Devil (Mefistofele). Far from being terrified, Faust is intrigued and enters into a discussion with Mefistofele culminating in an agreement by which he will give his soul to the devil on his death in return for worldly bliss for the remainder of his life.

Act II, Scene 1
Restored to his youth, Faust has infatuated Margareta, an unsophisticated village girl. She is unable to resist his seductive charms and agrees to drug her mother with a sleeping draught and meet him for a night of passion. Meanwhile Mefistofele amuses himself with Martha, another of the village girls.

Scene 2
Mefistofele has carried Faust away to witness a Witches’ Sabbath on the Brocken mountain. The devil mounts his throne and proclaims his contempt for the World and all its worthless inhabitants. As the orgy reaches its climax Faust sees a vision of Margareta, apparently in chains and with her throat cut. Mefistofele reassures him that the vision was a false illusion.

Faust’s vision had been true. Margareta lies in a dismal cell, her mind in a state of confusion and despair. She has been imprisoned for poisoning her mother with the sleeping draught supplied by Faust and for drowning the baby she had borne him. Faust begs Mefistofele to help them escape together. They enter the cell and at first Margareta does not recognize her rescuers. Her joy at being reunited with Faust turns to horror when she sees Mefistofele and recognizes that he is the Devil. Refusing to succumb to further evil, Margareta begs for divine forgiveness. She collapses to the cell floor as the Celestial choir proclaims her redemption.

Act IV
Mefistofele has now transported Faust back in time to Ancient Greece. Helen of Troy and her followers are enjoying the luxurious and exotic surroundings on the banks of a magnificent river. Faust, attired more splendidly than ever, is easily able to win the heart of the beautiful princess. In a passionate outpouring they declare their undying love and devotion to each other.

Back in his study Faust, once more an old man, reflects that neither in the world of reality or of illusion was he able to find the perfect experience he craved. He feels that the end of his life is close, but desperate for his final victory, Mefistofele urges him to embark on more exotic adventures. For a moment Faust hesitates, but suddenly seizing his Bible he cries out for God’s forgiveness. Mefistofele has been thwarted; he disappears back into the ground as Faust dies and the Celestial choir once more sings of ultimate redemption.

It’s a great opera, amici ... especially the San Francisco production (reproduced at the MET where I saw it many moons ago).

Happy 4th! Have a good, fun & SAFE holiday!

And the DOC says ...

Opera, Charles… Really?

This is the July 4th weekend. Today is Independence Day. This is an American holiday. There was no need to subject the amicis to your fugazy festival of foppery.

We let you eye-talians have Columbus Day although I’m not sure why. Let’s face it, your guy was looking for India and he ended up in North America which is roughly a kazillion miles away. He is on the beach sitting in one of Leif Ericson’s broken beach chairs and deduces that he is the first explorer to ever land here. That whole “India/America” mixup does sort of explain why a 30 mile road trip, with you as navigator, requires 2 tanks of gas.

But I digress.

Independence Day ... no opera!

Happy 4th of July to you, Chaz, and all the amicis (with the appropriate American anthem)