Brushes with Culture

This is a space where I can reflect on the many fascinating things that I experience. Some of the things I brush with are Culture with a capital C. Others are just intriguing moments. Sometimes I am brushing with these moments in a hurry. This is a chance to relive those moments in tranquility. These are the stories I tell myself in those quieter moments.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Italy rocks Too

A couple of weeks ago, I visited the Torre del Aquila of Buonconsiglio Castle in Trento. The first recorded painting of a snow scene is just one of 11 (remaining) months decorating the walls of the former Bishop-Prince palace. They are sublime. A fine example of International Gothic, according to the audio device handed out as part of the tour and available in four languages. None of the peasants talk to each other, whereas the aristocracy are painted bigger and always in polite exchange of courtesies. Not quite the lie of the land outside the castle walls, apparently, where within a few years, the whole political structure had succumbed to revolution. But a perfect fantasy for a man with a tidy view of social relations. It's the 'Cycle of the Months' and I'm sure I must have seen it on some text book when I was studying history at school (so that's a long time ago then!).

In the evening of the same day, I was sitting in the Arena at Verona, to see "Aida" performed on the most extravagant of sets. Nearly as many people on the stage as on the seats (which were full to bursting). Couldn't hear much and I didn't like one of the voices, but it was heaps better than the ROH "Aida" I heard a couple of years ago. That was by Robert Wilson and rather stilted, whereas Franco Zeffirelli was behind this one - a more flowing style that, to my mind, suits Verdi better. I associate Zeffirelli with "Romeo and Juliet" and that is probably apt in the city where one of the attractions is a house reputedly belonging to the Capulets. Actually it was assembled well after Shakespeare's play (which was no doubt written well after the events allegedly took place), but it's funny to be in the Italian Stratford-upon-Avon.

Well, enough stream of consciousness passion from my Italian trip. It was very nice, thank you.


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