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Choisya
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Re: melville popular in UK : Billy Budd the opera

[ Edited ]
Billy Budd the opera, composed by Sir Benjamin Britten is also popular over here and I have seen several productions. It also has a naval theme and the action takes place on a British Man-o-War in the 1790s. Here is rather a nice review of a Canadian production:-

http://www.toronto-goth.com/reviews/live/billybudd.shtml

There is also a DVD with Peter Ustinov directing and playing the lead, Captain Edwin Fairfax Vere.


Fanuzzir wrote:-
a 'Melville Revivial' of the 1920s that discovered the lost text of Billy Budd turned into an American studies academic discipline that was looking for a 'Cold War' text to anchor the field and say something meaningful about the ideological struggle of American liberal democracy with Communism. And Moby Dick fit the bill. Why? Let's talk more and find out.

Message Edited by Choisya on 12-14-200606:34 PM

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Laurel
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Billy Budd and the opera

[ Edited ]
I've been fascinated by Billy Budd since I was in high school. I didn't know about the Ustinov film, but I see that my library has it. I have and enjoy a DVD of the ENO production of the opera, with Thomas Allen and Philip Langridge, and I have the Pears CD.

Message Edited by Laurel on 12-14-200604:15 PM

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Choisya
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Re: Laurel : Billy Budd the opera - no post?!

Your post is blank Laurel - I wonder how this happens?
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Laurel
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Re: Laurel : Billy Budd the opera - no post?!



Choisya wrote:
Your post is blank Laurel - I wonder how this happens?




I goofed, but I think I've corrected it now. I'm very high-tech, you know.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Choisya
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Re: Billy Budd and the opera

Ah Pears is wonderful - I have him on vinyl so I must update:smileyhappy:




Laurel wrote:
I've been fascinated by Billy Budd since I was in high school. I didn't know about the Ustinov film, but I see that my library has it. I have and enjoy a DVD of the ENO production of the opera, with Thomas Allen and Philip Langridge, and I have the Pears CD.

Message Edited by Laurel on 12-14-200604:15 PM




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Choisya
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Re: Melville today



fanuzzir wrote:
Thanks for that article. This is embarassing: how do you insert a link like that?




You copy and paste the URL from your browser or your search engine or wherever. The links should no longer need HTML tags but if they do you paste the following before, in the middle and after the URL:-

REPEAT THE URL
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leakybucket
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Re: Billy Budd and the opera

I like Billy Budd also, which gives me high hopes for Moby Dick. When we were doing the opera, I tried to get the Ustinov film since I had heard it is very good. Unfortunately it is not available anymore so you have to be very lucky to find it. My library didn't have it.

And, of course, I liked the opera. I was able to watch the Metropolitan version from a TV broadcast that was was quite a production with a huge chorus. It had a very handsome and energetic Budd in Croft, a great villain in Morris' Caggart, and, of course, Philip Langridge again as Captain Vere. He seems to own that role and it was interesting to see how he played it in two different productions. The Metropolitan was less psychological and symbolic than the ENO production so it was worthwhile seeing them both in contrast.

I don't have the Pears recording but really should add it to my collection. Forgot now why I didn't get it. Maybe it is out of print or too expensive. I have the Kent Nagano with Thomas Hampson in the title role and Anthon Rolfe Johnson as Vere.

Bucky




Laurel wrote:
I've been fascinated by Billy Budd since I was in high school. I didn't know about the Ustinov film, but I see that my library has it. I have and enjoy a DVD of the ENO production of the opera, with Thomas Allen and Philip Langridge, and I have the Pears CD.

Message Edited by Laurel on 12-14-200604:15 PM



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Laurel
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Pardon our opera

Non-opera buffs, just speak up and tell us we're boring you if that is so, and Bucky, Choisya, and I will go away to a new thread.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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leakybucket
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Melville and Hawthorne

Hawthorne and Melville

I decided to do a bit of research on this project since many of you have been discussing Hawthorne. I did not join you in the reading of the House of Seven Gables and so leave the continuing conversation to others. I did find some sites that did provide some interesting and unexpected information about their relationship.

http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/ScholarsForum/HawthorneandMelville.html

Melville's Letters to Hawthorne:

http://www.melville.org/corresp.htm

Some essays on their relationship:

http://www.123helpme.com/assets/4583.html

http://libarts.wsu.edu/english/Journals/ESQ/hawthornemelville.html
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fanuzzir
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Re: melville popular in UK : Billy Budd the opera

Billy Budd is one of my favorite operas as well as my true Melville discovery as an undergraduate. The opera to my taste is a little too honed in on the Vere dilemma and is not able to capture the elusiveness of human relations that Melville so expertly portrays on board the ship.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Melville and Hawthorne

You did a beautiful job here Leaky. Of course the Melville Hawthrone relationship is one of the most enigmatic of all literary partnerships. Melville made himself a little bit of an embarrasment to the more settled Hawthorne household. The former was obviously looking for a literary mentor and found the New England romances Hawthorne was writing the nearest thing to authentic American moral philosophy. He obviously tried to find the same lode of ideas in the whaling voyage, though I find Melville so much more light on his feet as a writer that it is hard to believe that he felt he had anything to learn from Hawthorne.
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Re: Melville's biography-unsuccessful

..so I am reading in the intro to the BN classic that Melville actually decided to give up writing and took a job as a custom's inspector in NY harbor.

So he probably died thinking he was a failure. I wonder what he would say if BN invited him to participate in BN clubs to discuss MbD with us.

That would be a fun book if I could write it, LOL.

ziki
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fanuzzir
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Re: Melville's biography-unsuccessful

Yes, after a career as a poet, Melville took the civil service route out. His style of fiction just couldn't sell, and he hid arguably his greatest masterpiece, Billy Budd, in a trunk. It wasn't until 1920 that he was discovered, not rediscovered, as a great American writer. So he really is a 20th century phenomenon.
Bob
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friery
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Re: Melville's biography


ziki wrote:
Herman Melville (1819-1891), American author, best known for his novels of the sea and especially for his masterpiece Moby Dick (1851), a whaling adventure dedicated to Nathaniel Hawthorne. The work was only recognized as a masterpiece years after Melville's death. The fictionalized travel narrative Typee (1846) was Melville's most popular book during his lifetime.
---------

Herman Melville was born on August 1, 1819 in New York City into an established merchant family. His father became bankrupt and insane, dying when Melville was 12. A bout of scarlet fever in 1826 left Melville with permanently weakened eyesight. Melville died of heart failure on September 28, 1891.

Please enter the whole link otherwise it leads astray:

from http://www.online-literature.com/melville/

Another biography:
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/bb/hm_bio.html

Message

Message Edited by ziki on 12-10-200609:53 PM






Interesting--Melville's early biography brought to mind the biography of James Joyce. Joyce's father began in relative affluence, and then proceeded to squander the family fortune. And impaired eyesight was also James Joyce's curse--Joyce underwent many eye operations as he grew older.

Of course, there's another parallel--both Joyce and Melville were amazing polymaths.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Melville's biography

both Joyce and Melville were amazing polymaths

Friery, could you please tell me more?
Bob
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friery
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Re: Melville & Joyce


fanuzzir wrote:
both Joyce and Melville were amazing polymaths

Friery, could you please tell me more?
Bob




Joyce had an astonishing range of knowledge. He taught himself Norwegian so he could read Ibsen in the original. In Ulysses, he showed intricate knowledge of subects as esoteric as women's fashions and dressmaking. Finnegans Wake has puns taken from dozens of foreign languages. (Example: "In his broadginger hat and his civic chollar and his allabuff hemmed and his bullbraggin soxangloves and his ladbroke breeks and his cattegut bandolair and his furframed panuncular cumbottes like a rudd yellan gruebleen orangeman in his violet indigonation, to the whole longth of the strongth of his bowman’s bill." )

Melville, unlike Joyce, left school as a child and was self-taught. One biographer says Melville devoured Shakespeare, as well as historical, anthropological, and technical works. Another said he read Renaissance playwrights in preparation for writing Moby Dick. Melville's self-taught erudition shows itself in Moby Dick, with its detailed information about whaling, the natural history of the whale, and the whale in folklore, history, legend, and art. It also shows itself in his writing style. As one commentator says, "Melville creates spaciousness by a successive layering of literary forms, styles, tones, references, allusions, and particularly the manipulation of language. The "romance of adventure" is formally a combination of personal narrative, drama, and epic including, among other genres, elements of the short story, tall tale, sermons both serious and burlesque, lawyer's briefs, and librarian's catalogue; and its tonalities extend from the grandeur of Elizabethan blank verse soliloquy to the crudities of vaudeville dialect."
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fanuzzir
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Re: Melville & Joyce

Thank you for own erudition.



friery wrote:

fanuzzir wrote:
both Joyce and Melville were amazing polymaths

Friery, could you please tell me more?
Bob




Joyce had an astonishing range of knowledge. He taught himself Norwegian so he could read Ibsen in the original. In Ulysses, he showed intricate knowledge of subects as esoteric as women's fashions and dressmaking. Finnegans Wake has puns taken from dozens of foreign languages. (Example: "In his broadginger hat and his civic chollar and his allabuff hemmed and his bullbraggin soxangloves and his ladbroke breeks and his cattegut bandolair and his furframed panuncular cumbottes like a rudd yellan gruebleen orangeman in his violet indigonation, to the whole longth of the strongth of his bowman’s bill." )

Melville, unlike Joyce, left school as a child and was self-taught. One biographer says Melville devoured Shakespeare, as well as historical, anthropological, and technical works. Another said he read Renaissance playwrights in preparation for writing Moby Dick. Melville's self-taught erudition shows itself in Moby Dick, with its detailed information about whaling, the natural history of the whale, and the whale in folklore, history, legend, and art. It also shows itself in his writing style. As one commentator says, "Melville creates spaciousness by a successive layering of literary forms, styles, tones, references, allusions, and particularly the manipulation of language. The "romance of adventure" is formally a combination of personal narrative, drama, and epic including, among other genres, elements of the short story, tall tale, sermons both serious and burlesque, lawyer's briefs, and librarian's catalogue; and its tonalities extend from the grandeur of Elizabethan blank verse soliloquy to the crudities of vaudeville dialect."


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Choisya
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Re: Melville & Joyce

Great informative post Friery - thanks.




friery wrote:

fanuzzir wrote:
both Joyce and Melville were amazing polymaths

Friery, could you please tell me more?
Bob




Joyce had an astonishing range of knowledge. He taught himself Norwegian so he could read Ibsen in the original. In Ulysses, he showed intricate knowledge of subects as esoteric as women's fashions and dressmaking. Finnegans Wake has puns taken from dozens of foreign languages. (Example: "In his broadginger hat and his civic chollar and his allabuff hemmed and his bullbraggin soxangloves and his ladbroke breeks and his cattegut bandolair and his furframed panuncular cumbottes like a rudd yellan gruebleen orangeman in his violet indigonation, to the whole longth of the strongth of his bowman’s bill." )

Melville, unlike Joyce, left school as a child and was self-taught. One biographer says Melville devoured Shakespeare, as well as historical, anthropological, and technical works. Another said he read Renaissance playwrights in preparation for writing Moby Dick. Melville's self-taught erudition shows itself in Moby Dick, with its detailed information about whaling, the natural history of the whale, and the whale in folklore, history, legend, and art. It also shows itself in his writing style. As one commentator says, "Melville creates spaciousness by a successive layering of literary forms, styles, tones, references, allusions, and particularly the manipulation of language. The "romance of adventure" is formally a combination of personal narrative, drama, and epic including, among other genres, elements of the short story, tall tale, sermons both serious and burlesque, lawyer's briefs, and librarian's catalogue; and its tonalities extend from the grandeur of Elizabethan blank verse soliloquy to the crudities of vaudeville dialect."


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Laurel
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How long did it take?

I keep wondering how long Melville spent writing Moby Dick. Does anyone know?
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Choisya
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Re: How long did it take?

My Notes(to the Wordswoth edition) say 'It is speculated that Melville bagan the book in February 1850. Certainly by 1 May of that year he was well on with it, writing to his fellow whaleman Richard Henry Dana to say, among other things, that the book was half done....Moby Dick wasn't finally finished until the end of the summer of the following year.' Various reasons seem to be given for the delay - he bought a farm, and he met Hawthorne, who influenced him greatly. Ahab only became 'a looming stage presence after August 1850, the darkness of Hawthorne's imagination perhaps enabling Melville to siphon Shakespeare into his prose in a way that previously he hadn't found possible'.




Laurel wrote:
I keep wondering how long Melville spent writing Moby Dick. Does anyone know?


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