2017-04-12

A friend asks 'Are we in a simulation? If so, how would we find out?'

In 1875 Georges Bizet wrote an opera, Carmen. The title character is a Romani woman in Spain. She works in a cigarette factory by day while moonlighting as a member of a gang of smugglers.

Carmen  (Maria Ewing)

She may be taken as an exemplar of some questions artists encounter in aesthetic philosophy.

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Does Carmen know she's in an opera?
No. She would say she's in Spain.

Does Carmen know she's singing?
The singer who portrays Carmen is singing. Carmen herself sometimes sings and sometimes doesn't. Sometimes she's got a little melody going ('la la la') but sometimes she's just telling somebody off.
Carmen does know when she is singing and when she is not.

Is Carmen free?
No. She's a character. Her lines and story are set.
In those lines, of course, she says she is free.

Is Carmen at least free in her own universe?
Debatable.
She insists to other characters that she is free. Her actions, though, suggest a person who is fiercely driven. Tragedy results when she encounters another personality as driven as hers.
Meanwhile, the view she expresses in private is fatalistic. Everything that happens, she says, is already present in the cards you are dealt.
For all her talk about freedom Carmen seems to feel she never really chooses anything.

How can Carmen find out she's a character in an opera?
She can't. The only way she could find out is if her opera was about a character who finds out.

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Carmen exists in a universe that obeys certain laws. Her world is one in which people go around singing as atoms in ours go around forming molecules. No one thinks anything of it. It's just how the universe works.

Carmen will always come to a tragic end. The events of her life are built into the structure of her universe. It's a closed loop.

Carmen suspects as much. But she will never discover this for a fact, because the only existence she has is in a place where she is not a character at all. She is a real person.



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2017-03-04

Vintage 1929

Cheers to conductor Bernard Haitink,
born 1929 March 4 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

On the Summit
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2017-01-31

Another birthday?

Yow. Cue music!



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2017-01-29

O, mia patria


Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate; 

Go, thought, on wings of gold;
va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli,
go settle over the slopes and the hills,
ove olezzano tepide e molli 
where waft, soft and mild, the fragrant
l'aure dolci del suolo natal!
sweet airs of our native land.

Del Giordano le rive saluta, 
Greet the Jordan's river banks
di Sionne le torri atterrate.
and Zion's towers now toppled.
O, mia patria – sì bella e perduta! 
Oh, my homeland – so beautiful and lost!
O, membranza, sì cara e fatal!
Oh, memory, so dear and cruel!

Arpa d'or dei fatidici vati, 

Golden lyre of the prophets,
perché muta dal salice pendi?
why hang silent on the willow?
Le memorie nel petto raccendi, 
Rekindle our hearts' memories
ci favella del tempo che fu!
and speak to us of times gone by.

O simile di Sòlima ai fati traggi 
All you who have experienced a similar tragedy,
un suono di crudo lamento,
sound a primal wail of lament.
o t'ispiri il Signore un concento 
May the Lord inspire a grand utterance
che ne infonda al patire virtù.
to give pain some dignity.
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'Va, pensiero' (Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves)
Nabucco (1841)
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Libretto by Temistocle Solera (1815-1878)

Metropolitan Opera Chorus
October 2002

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2017-01-21

It's Show Time

'You know I'm retired from hero work.'
'As am I, Robert. Yet here we are.'

 

 (Pixar, 2004)

Coraggio

'O God, who once stirred love and hope in our souls, now kindle a passion for liberty.'



Giuseppe Verdi

Duet: ‘Dio, che nell’alma infondere’
Act 2, Don Carlo (1867)
Placido Domingo (Don Carlo), tenor
Louis Quilico (Rodrigo), baritone
Metropolitan Opera (1983)
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2017-01-11

'1001 Nights' available for listening


Some have asked when 1001 Nights: The Radio Play will be available for listening on demand. I am happy to report that the show now is. You can find the audio at the ICRT web site and in the 'On Demand' menu of the ICRT Radio app.

http://www.icrt.com.tw/on_demand_history.php?&mlevel1=12&mlevel2=34

The e-book can be downloaded from SmashwordsAmazonApple, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, and other online book shops.

Thanks as always for your kind interest. Enjoy!
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2016-12-03

Opera in Cinema


 
What makes opera such a powerful element in many films? In this short video essay provided by the English National Opera, Lewis Bond suggests that where film often reflects our experience, opera refracts it. The result injects an element of raw but universal feeling into the story.

Enjoy!
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2016-11-22

Taiwan Mussorgsky Project at CJCU


Shao-Hsun Chang, pianist
in recital at the Chang Jung Christian University
Tainan, Taiwan

11.22 Tuesday 19:00

featuring Mussorgsky: 'Pictures at an Exhibition'
with images of the Taiwan Mussorgsky Project

It’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention. – Mark Strand

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2016-10-24

1001 Nights: The Radio Play




Let's escape.

'1001 Nights: The Radio Play'
premier broadcast

11.03 Thursday 22:00 (10:00 pm)

ICRT FM100 Taiwan
icrt.com.tw




featuring the voices of

Chia-Hsuan Lin
Paul Batt
Ruth Landowne Giordano
Alton Thompson


and the music of

Nikolai Rimsky-Kosakov

produced by

Tim Berge and Ping Lu

written and directed by 

Alton Thompson

based on
'1001 Nights: The Short Story'

inspired by the medieval classic
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Want to catch the broadcast online?
Just check your time zone below and visit us at ICRT.

UTC (GMT)
11.03 Thursday 14:00–14:30

Auckland, New Zealand
11.04 Friday 03:00 (UTC+13 hours)

Sydney, NSW, Australia
11.04 Friday 01:00 (UTC+11 hours)

Japan / South Korea
11.03 Thursday 23:00 (UTC+9 hours)

Taiwan
Manila, Philippines
Singapore
Hong Kong and Macau, China
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
11.03 Thursday 22:00 (UTC+8 hours)

Jakarta, Indonesia / Vietnam / Thailand
11.03 Thursday 21:00 (UTC+7 hours)

New Delhi, India
11.03 Thursday 19:30 (UTC+5:30 hours)

Dubai, UAE
11.03 Thursday 18:00 (UTC+4 hours)

Baghdad, Iraq
11.03 Thursday 17:00 (UTC+3 hours)

Istanbul, Turkey
11.03 Thursday 17:00 (UTC+3 hours)

Johannesburg, South Africa / Cairo, Egypt
11.03 Thursday 16:00 (UTC+2 hours)

Abuja, Nigeria / Paris, France
11.03 Thursday 15:00 (UTC+1 hour)

London, UK
11.03 Thursday 14:00 (GMT)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
11.03 Thursday 12:00 (UTC-2 hours)

Argentina
11.03 Thursday 11:00 (UTC-3)

USA Eastern / Ontario and Quebec, Canada
11.03 Thursday 10:00 (UTC-4 hours)

USA Central
11.03 Thursday 09:00 (UTC-5 hours)

USA Mountain
11.03 Thursday 08:00 (UTC-6 hours)

USA Pacific / British Columbia, Canada
11.03 Thursday 07:00 (UTC-7 hours)

USA Hawai'i
11.03 Thursday 04:00 (UTC-10 hours)

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2016-06-21

In Search of Incredible

What a thrill to be a Wright brother! Thanks to my colleagues for a memorable day. Congratulations to Jonney Shih and everyone at Asus on the achievement.

Wrights
0:00 - 0:44
4:13 - 4:33


Big tip of the newsboy cap to Orville, Wilbur, 'Leo and Neil. I'm forever a fan.

https://youtu.be/V7mG5Y_FO1U

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2016-05-21

Taiwan jaiyou!

In Taiwan the expression Táiwān jiāyóu! (臺灣加油) is analogous to Vive le France! in another country. It is a rousing cheer, an exhortation to dig deep and step up, and a summons to victory.

Newly elected Tsai Ing-Wen (蔡英文) first greeted the Twitterverse with 'Taiwan jiayou!' And it's a cheer that regularly greets Taiwan's athletes when they enter the arena of world competition.

The word jiayou is probably best left untranslated. It gathers all the meanings we convey in English exhortations like 'onward', 'forward', 'go', 'good luck', 'fight', 'win', 'hail', 'long live', and 'forever'. Jiaoyou is viva and vive and a bit of über alles. It does all this work for individuals and teams as well as countries. And, like 'rah', it's an easy word to get your voice behind.

We've been hearing this greeting often in the past week as this country marks another peaceful transfer of power in celebration of its first twenty years of democracy.

Taiwan jiayou!

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