Thursday, January 20, 2011

Opera Thursday

A brief aside to some readers who may not be familiar: A few years ago, upon the fatal crash of a military plane by a woman in the military, a caller used the term "female aviator" to radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy in reference to the crash. Mr. Liddy responded by telling him the correct term is "aviatrix". We have sadly seen poor grammar become mandatory in the House of Representatives under Louise Slaughter's reign at the Rules Committee, banning the word "man" in language that would irritate Mr. Liddy. Such use of language is why the term "Governess" is used when referring to South Carolina's Her Excellency Nikki Nirmata Randhawa Haley, the Governess of South Carolina.

For today's Opera Thursday we go to an artist I've enjoyed throughout my music career, Georg Frederic Händel. While most of us know around the late 1730's and early 1740's was a time where his great work Messiah was published, it coincided with the release of another opera piece that can be sung as an oratorio based on a Biblical character, Samson, whom most remember had power with his hair, and lost it when Delilah cut his hair.

Händel's Samson was changed after it had been originally published in 1741, but was changed with two additional pieces at the end in 1743. One of those is a soprano aria, "Let the Bright Seraphim," sung after Manoah asks the people to cease their regrets over the death of the titular hero, and this aria follows the funeral ceremony. It is said the song is worthy only of the greatest artist, characterized by joyousness, brilliance and lofty inspiration, both with voice and instrument. Yet in this Official Inaugural Prayer Service held at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, across from the State House (the last state funeral for a Governor, Carroll A. Campbell Jnr, was held here) and a wing of the more liberal Diocese of Upper South Carolina (different from the Diocese that is more conservative that starts once you leave Lexington and Richland Counties that wants to break away from the Episcopalians), just two hours from the Inauguration of Governess and Sargent Haley (yes, First Gentleman Michael Haley is a reservist, and wore his uniform at the inauguration; it seems odd his picture in military garb will be in the same gallery as Iris Campbell, Mary Wood Beasley, and other great women of the state) was the call for this selection near the end of the opera was called to celebrate the Governess' inauguration.

As I've previously mentioned, I sang last year in a production of Beethoven's Mass in C Major with Ashley Briggs as the soprano soloist. Here is Miss Briggs, with Tony Roebuck on trumpet and Jared Johnson on organ, with "Let the Bright Seraphim". We had a fun discussion afterward.

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