The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0663  Friday, 4 April 2003

From:           S. L. Kasten <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 04 Apr 2003 11:42:14 +0200
Subject: 14.0646 Re: The Real Beale
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0646 Re: The Real Beale

   Martin Steward challenged,

>If Sam has found Mozart's "Tempest" opera he has a duty to humanity to
>let us all know!
>Ah! If only! IF ONLY! Now there's "such stuff as dreams are made on".

"The Tempest" doesn't map seamlessly onto Mozart's "The Magic Flute" but
the opera does have some elements of the play as important features,
among them:

A prince finds himself alone in a strange land and is made aware of the
existence of a young princess, whose hand to win he must perform various
tests of character.  The witch figure, the Queen  of the night,  is a
mother (albeit that of the princess).  There is a Caliban figure, who is
the minion serially of the father and the  mother, and who lusts after
the princess.  Ariel is present in the form of the three agents of the
Queen of the Night who save the Prince from the dragon in the opening
scene (which creature can be understood as a metamorphosised storm),
and again in the form of the three boys who prevent the prince and
princess from acts of despair. The father is a powerful and good
purveyor of magic.  And of course "marvellous sweet music" imbedded in
the plot as distinct from the score of the opera.

I wouldn't have thought of this connection had I not had the pleasure of
viewing Ingmar Bergman's filming of a Drottingham Palace (Sweden)
production of the Opera.  During the interval the camera took us
backstage, lighting first on the "father" studying the libretto of
"Parsifal",  and then on the mother figure treating her coloratura vocal
cords to a cigarette below a "no smoking" sign.  The camera continues to
wander the backstage area, finally coming to a secluded corner where we
find the Prince and the princess...playing chess!

Shakespeare quotations can be very satisfying, the subtler the better.
But there should be a "spinoff"  list that wouldn't force the sublime
(in whose number I personally would include, for example, "The Last
Action Hero" takeoff) to rub shoulders with the ridiculous and worse.

Best wishes,
Syd Kasten

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