Sunday, November 02, 2008

"A gigantic concerto for detergent and human being"

That stupefyingly brilliant line from theater director/visionary Peter Sellars can be found in Steve Smith's solid and sensitive profile of soprano Dawn Upshaw. Sellars is referring to a collaboration with Upshaw in performing Gyorgy Kurtag's "Kafka Fragments" in which Upshaw performs simple domestic tasks while singing fiendishly difficult music in German. Within the frame of Smith's article, though, the quote hints at a washing machine's spin cycle, reminiscent of the busy schedules that both Sellars and Upshaw maintain; Upshaw does so in spite of her recent treatment and successful recovery (thank goodness) from breast cancer.

The line struck me not because I have loads of laundry waiting to be done, but because of the swirl of activity following my recent move. I write this from the new friendly confines in Philly, where the internet connection is still spotty and from which I can hear the hooves of horses as they draw carriages down cobblestone streets. More news, and more delighted observations of this city, to come.

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