Thursday, June 24, 2010

Today on the 'Net (actually, on a networking site called Who-Hub) I encountered the following interview question: Do you think video games, chat rooms, etc. have a dangerous addictive effect on teenagers?

Here's my answer:

No. -- Well, maybe than can, but I think the word "addiction" has become drastically overused. There are some things that some people like to do a lot, while other people aren't that into them. Nothing wrong with that -- until the latter start to label the former "addicted" and start to medicalize their situation.

Do many teenagers today spend too much time with videogames and other online diversions, displacing both human interaction and other forms of education? Yes, maybe they do. When I was a teenager, I spent long hours under my headphones listening to various forms of classical music, mainly Wagnerian opera. Did I spend too much time with that, displacing both human interaction and other forms of education? Yes, maybe. Do I care? No.

And any educational specialists who came around theorizing that my Wagnerian opera-listening might have a dangerous addictive effect on me would have gotten Wotan's spear right through their interfering little hides.

You know what? I think the tendency to label other people's cultural passions as "dangerously addictive" has a dangerously addictive effect on educational theorists, psychologists, Euro-parliamentarians, and other types we could use less of. I think we should do something about it.
Pianist Stephen Hough blogs in London's Daily Telegraph about the Welsh National Opera's production of MEISTERSINGER. Most interesting! (And yt has a comment)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Giuseppe Taddei, RIP

A baritone as remarkable for his versatility as for his longevity on the stage. Not many singers succeed, at much the same periods in their careers, in relatively light baritone roles like Marcello, and in roles usually thought of as more in the bass-baritone line, such as Mozart's Figaro, and also Leporello, which is sufficiently bass territory to have been in Kipnis's repertory (though, yes, also in Evans's and Terfel's). Taddei performed and recorded all these roles -- and also the uber-dramatic roles of the Italian rep, such as Rigoletto and Scarpia (the latter famously recorded under Karajan with Price and diStefano.)

The New York Times's obit concentrated on the longevity angle, since the Met -- due to Bing's famous ham hands with singers' egos -- failed to secure his services until he was 69! (And what was Jimmy -- who usually handles singers so much better -- thinking of when he offered this titan a role like Fra Melitone as a Met debut role? I guess he was thinking cameo; but even at 69 Taddei was not yet old enough to be doing cameos!)