We had an awesome time at The Frogmore this Tuesday for #OpusAffair! Thanks to everyone who came out in the beautiful weather to join us!
From its mysterious beginnings 20 some years ago, the SICPP music festival has been delighting, confusing, and enrapturing audiences in Boston. The Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (or “Sick Puppy,” as it’s known to regulars) started as an intensive performance seminar on the piano music of the 20th century. Over time, Sick Puppy expanded to invite musicians of all instruments, and started a composition fellowship and a workshop for electronic music. In its current form, Sick Puppy is a 9-day celebration of the very best of 20th- and 21st- century classical music. Beginning on Sunday, June 17th, faculty and guest artists perform free, nightly concerts in New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall.
Today, the term diva has pejorative connotations as someone who is temperamental or hard to work with or self-absorbed and uncompromising. Yet in the classical world, divas were goddesses. Literally. In Latin, diva means “goddess.” In my opinion, divas were bad-ass bosses who fought tooth and nail to survive. They were larger-than-life women because they had few legal or economic protections. They were idolized onstage but treated as social outcasts in person. A man could have a diva mistress but never marry her. There’s the famous story of diva Adelina Patti being pursued by a prince who, for an entire season, night after night sent her jeweled brooches, necklaces, or bracelets with the note: “It is I. It is I again. It is always.” Yet jewels were always more than shallow display for divas; gems were an integral part of their life savings.
When I was a kid, Harry Potter was all of the rage and with it, trying to typecast yourself in specific Hogwarts houses—was I brainy like a Ravenclaw, conniving like a Slytherin, or maybe brave like a Gryffindor? Hopefully anything but silly Hufflepuff. My friends and I obsessed about it until we realized that we were band geeks and in lieu of having any sort of social status, we had something almost as good: a predetermined ratings system in the form of instrumental stereotypes. (Maybe I was a Hufflepuff after all.)