Apr 29, 2013

Monday Music Break: Der Hölle Rache (Queen of the Night Aria)

Today is an opera kind of day.  I woke up with a strong desire to listen to opera, particularly "Mi Chiamono Mimi" from La Boheme.  So on and off all day I've been listening to divas like Maria Callas, Angela Gheorghiu, Maria Aleida Rodriguez, and Valentina Nafornita.

When I remembered it was Monday and time for another Monday Music Break, I began wondering about whether any parts of opera could be considered part of the pagan music scene.  Are there pagan themes in classical opera?  Are there any modern-day operas written for a neopagan audience?

The answer to the first question is yes, there are lots of classical operas with pagan themes!  The Greenman wrote a fabulous three-part series about pagan themes in classical opera.  It's quite detailed, but fascinating!

One of the operas he mentions is The Magic Flute by Mozart.  The play takes place in a temple of Isis and Osiris, centered around a series of bizarre initiation rituals.  The Queen of the Night is another name for the goddess Isis.  An opera featuring a goddess in a major role?  It doesn't get much more pagan than that!

Isis, the Queen of the Night - The Magic Flute
Source: http://garycbenson.blogspot.com/2012/05/magic-flute-costume-design.html 

I've yet to see The Magic Flute (*sadface at how expensive opera tickets are*).  However, the Queen of the Night's second aria, "Der Hölle Rache," has long been one of my favorite arias to listen to, ever since my Pop-Pop gave me a CD with this song and a number of other famous pieces opera music.  So I'd like to share this gorgeous and delightfully pagan piece of opera with you all today.  This performance is by Diana Damrau of the Royal Opera House.

I must say, I am envious of coloraturas like Diana Damrau who can sing this - it's so gorgeous, but gosh are those notes high!  Even when I was taking voice lessons I could never sing like that.

So far I haven't been able to find any modern-day operas with neopagan themes, but I shall keep looking.  If you are aware of any please let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email!

Apr 15, 2013

Monday Music Break: Man to Man

Wow, guys.  I am sort of speechless and so very saddened at what happened at the Boston Marathon earlier today.  I just cannot comprehend why people enact such terrible violence on their fellow human beings just to make a point.

I think pagan musician Matt Morris had such a grace-filled response on Twitter, so I wanted to share it:

I've been struggling all afternoon about what song to post for this week's Monday Music Break, in the wake of this tragedy.   I listened to a few artists and was drawn to this pretty harp-filled song called "Man to Man" by Lorelei Greenwood.  It is from her first solo album, "Allure."
Lorelei Greenwood
Source: lorelei-greenwood.com

I first found Lorelei's music when, many years ago, I was searching for chants to use in my practice and stumbled across her website.  She has written many truly beautiful chants that I still keep in my chant repertoire to this day.  She is currently working on two other albums set to release this year, so keep your eyes out for more of her musical awesomeness.

Apr 1, 2013

Monday Music Break: Swimming to the Other Side

Happy Monday everyone!  What fun things did you all do over the weekend?

I spent yesterday doing some heavy spiritual work with a friend, so right now I feel the need for a nice, lighthearted song that calls upon the energies of water.  Elaine Silver's song "Swimming to the Other Side" feels like a nice fit for that today.  She has a lovely voice that isn't the strongest, but still carries some wonderful energy behind it. 

It looks like Elaine doesn't describe herself as pagan - at least not on her website - but I can see how she appeals to many pagans because she works with faeries and her music has recently evolved into what she calls a "Metaphysical Musical Ministry."

Elaine Silver
Source: elainesilver.com

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