Stephanie Burgis
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music videos & inferior mechanical devices
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I can't believe it's taken me so long to discover this new trend: opera music videos. Not just clips from staged performances, but actual, honest-to-God music videos complete with occasionally-baffling choreographed storylines. I found two music videos by the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko yesterday: Dvorak's Song to the Moon from Rusalka (his very dark opera version of "The Little Mermaid") and Mozart's Crudele? - Ah, no, mio bene! from Don Giovanni. I'd never heard Anna Netrebko before but now I want to find her CDs - her voice is gorgeous, particularly on "Song to the Moon", which is one of the most beautiful opera arias I know.

And now I want to find out if making music videos is a universal trend among young up-and-coming opera singers or just an innovation of Netrebko's own. Does anyone know?

In other link happiness, this 1890 advertisement (via Will Shetterly) made me very, very happy.
Why suffer tortures with inferior mechanical devices that artificially fatten? Don't look like the poor unfortunate on the left who, shorn of her artificial inflationary devices & pads, must, in the confines of her bedroom, through shame, try to cover her poor thin figure from the gaze of her beloved spouse.

It's so much fun to see an advertisement to make women "Plump & Rosy with HONEST Fleshiness of Form", and to be reminded of how new and culturally-based our current obsession with thin-ness really is. I would never want to be thrown back into the Victorian era...but I really enjoyed reading the advertisement from that time period. (And I was reminded of my wonderful American Women's History professor, who, when she was lecturing on the different body-type ideals of the Victorians, took a rare personal digression to step aside from the podium, sigh, and say ruefully, "Yes, I was born in the wrong time period!" When every women's magazine is full of tips for losing weight faster and becoming thin, thin, thin, it's nice to be reminded that that isn't actually a universal ideal.)

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