Today on Twitter, in response to yesterday’s post in which I suggested literary counterparts for great opera composers, I got some great feedback on my choice of Kafka as a counterpart for Mozart.
One Twitterer mentioned that though they are both geniuses, Kafka’s genius is random but Mozart’s music is as precise as math, which I thought was great feedback.
Though not everyone agrees with putting Jane Austen
and Mozart on the same continuum, after I read the writer’s ideas on the matter– Austen’s world is about order & decorum, sense vs. sensibility, which ties in w/ Mozart’s math, I thought they were worth posting. The writer also suggested that Mozart parallels Austen in terms of being loved: Mozart festivals, Austen films & books (P&P w/ zombies, etc.).
So, how about it? Which rings truer to you? Mozart as Kafka or Mozart as Austen. Or is there a better literary counterpart? And why is it so hard to use such a framework as this for W.A. Mozart?
Now that I have your attention, let’s talk opera. I woke up in the middle of the night, asking myself whether anyone had written an opera based on one of Jane Austen’s books. Because I hadn’t heard of any while researching the opera world, I comforted myself that a Jane Austen opera was virgin territory and went back to sleep. Once I had my morning coffee in me and the fog of sleep lifted, I Googled Jane Austen opera…and guess what?
You guessed it.
Of course, there have been operas written about Jane Austen books, Pride and Prejudice mostly. A few years ago, a contemporary composer presented the first act of his opera Pride and Prejudice at the North Carolina School of the Arts.
Without much clicking, I found a chamber opera in Australia based on Pride and Prejudice. (In the musical world, chamber always implies small and intimate. This opera had two characters in it.)
What started out as a bald-faced attempt to drive Internet traffic to my blog turned out to be a legitimate post on Jane Austen and opera.
Of course, Mark Twain loathed both Jane Austen (he detested her characters without reserve) and opera (he’d prefer to be skinned–alive–presumably).
Maybe opera and Jane Austen have more in common than I ever imagined.