Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama and "Le Stimulus è mobile"

collage by marguerita

If he can get anything like the plan he announced on Thursday through Congress, he will set America on a fundamentally new course.Many will ask whether Mr. Obama can actually pull off the deficit reduction he promises. Can he actually reduce the red ink from $1.75 trillion this year to less than a third as much in 2013? Yes, he can
.Right now the deficit is huge thanks to temporary factors (at least we hope they’re temporary): a severe economic slump is depressing revenues and large sums have to be allocated both to fiscal stimulus and to financial rescues.
Op-Ed Columnist - Climate of Change -

"La donna è mobile" ("Woman is fickle") is the cynical Duke of Mantua's canzone from Giuseppe Verdi's opera Rigoletto (1851). The inherent irony, of course, is that it is the callous playboy Duke himself who is mobile. Its reprise in the last act is chilling, as Rigoletto realizes from the sound of the Duke's lively voice coming from within the tavern (offstage), that the body in the sack over which he has grimly triumphed is not that of the Duke after all: Rigoletto had paid Sparafucile, an assassin, to kill the Duke but Sparafucile deceived him by killing Gilda, Rigoletto's daughter, instead. The aria is famous as a showcase for tenors. It has been recorded by Enrico Caruso, Mario Lanza, Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Juan Diego Flórez, Jussi Björling, Vitas and hundreds of others. Before this song's first public performance (in Venice), it was rehearsed under very tight secrecy: a necessary precaution, because it proved to be very catchy and within a day or two after its first public performance every gondolier in Venice was singing it.

The almost comical-sounding theme of La donna è mobile is introduced immediately, and runs as illustrated (transposed from the original key of B major). The theme is repeated several times in the approximately two minutes it takes to perform the aria, but with the important -- and obvious -- omission of the last measure. This has the effect of driving the music forward as it creates the impression of being incomplete and unresolved, which it is, having left off not on the tonic or dominant but on the submediant. Once the Duke has finished singing, however, the theme is once again repeated; but this time including the last, and conclusive, measure and finally resolving to the tonic.

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