Olivia Giovetti

From The Blog
16 April 2024

Last Friday afternoon, shortly after the Palestinian writer and researcher Salman Abu Sitta had said that ‘the voice of the victim is silenced, denied, condemned and vilified,’ the German police cut the power to the Palästina-Kongress in Berlin.

From The Blog
25 October 2023

Demonstrations by Jews critical of Israel have also been banned. In response to this, Iris Hefets, a board member of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, stood alone on Hermannplatz on 14 October, holding up a sign that said: ‘As a Jew and as an Israeli, stop the genocide in Gaza.’ She was taken into police custody.

From The Blog
20 June 2023

It’s rare to go to a performance of Verdi’s Nabucco where the Act 3 chorus, ‘Va pensiero,’ doesn’t stop the show with an ovation. The opera was composed during the Risorgimento, and the chorus of Hebrew slaves lamenting their homeland, ‘so beautiful and so lost,’ became the unofficial anthem for a unified Italy. When I saw Nabucco at the Metropolitan Opera in 2004, a voice from the upper rafters of the audience bellowed ‘Viva l’Italia!’ before the applause began. The chorus of Silvio Berlusconi’s personal anthem, the preposterously fawning ‘Meno male che Silvio c’è’ (‘Thank goodness for Silvio’), begins with the words ‘Viva l’Italia’. But they come with a qualification that Verdi would never have accepted: long live the Italy that has chosen Berlusconi as its leader. But then Berlusconi, a former cruise ship crooner who pushed even television news to its pornographic limits, never had much use for opera.

From The Blog
10 December 2021

The spirit of Charles V hovers over Don Carlo. The four-act version of Verdi’s opera (it has a complicated production history) opens at the Holy Roman Emperor’s tomb. ‘He wanted to rule the world,’ a monk sings, ‘but forgot who assigns the stars their path in the sky. His pride was great, his madness immeasurable.’ In the finale, Charles V rises from the tomb to drag his grandson, the Infante Don Carlos, off to death.

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