Concert Reviews | CD Reviews | DVD Reviews | Opera | Early Music | News | Film | Art | Books | Kids

15.12.04

Brahms and AIDS

Wednesday, November the 30th, the UN Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) held a conference in celebration of World AIDS Day. Part of this conference in the gorgeous auditorium (the best that 60s architecture had to offer is displayed in its cylindrical, slightly conic wood paneling and a marvelous, gigantic, and yet subtle chandelier) included a mini-recital of opera arias and songs with which PAHO staff members Dr. Rafael Mazin and his colleague Gudalupe Kreysa illustrated different approaches to sex. "Li ci darem la mano" presented seduction, Brahms's frustrated lover showed how such advances could be resisted, Mimi's aria from La Bohème showed a self-sufficient woman, and a waltzing duet from Léhar displayed mutual understanding and agreement.

What this introduction in front of a friendly crowd of colleagues did was to put the works into a context—a relevant, meaningful, and urgent context—that helped them to a reception by the audience more observant and sensitive than in any concert setting with professional singers I have ever seen. It (almost) made me like Mimi (see Ionarts review of La Bohème at Wolf Trap).

Seeing their colleagues cooing and faux-flirting with each other was probably fun enough: to find out that they also had huge voices must have impressed. Among the few AIDS conferences that can be said to have been fun, this was surely the funnest.

No comments: