Tuesday, 25 March 2014


How would the tailor earn his living if God had not installed in man a sense of shame? 

That is one of the questions raised in Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck. And I guess the thought is applicable to t-shirt manufacturers too. 

Man is the incarnation of the individual's drive for freedom. Otherwise we'd be content, like rabbits in sand dunes, to fornicate and nibble grass for all eternity. 

Man's drive for freedom is a red gleam in the west. Man dreams of what can be beyond the far horizon. The world is no longer a tiny corner and a piece of a mirror. Man strives to understand. He reaches out towards the forbidden fruit. 

A gypsy boy takes the dreaming child by the hand. A dream may show the way. Growing up we drink our beer. Or grog, or absinthe. Or even apple juice. And we party. And then we begin to tread the forbidden path. We all may go, as the saying is, off the rails for a while. 

We dream, we muse, we create, and we destroy what is dear to us. In satisfying our insatiable appetite for knowledge we make what we think are mistakes; but they are in reality our lessons misunderstood. 

In Alban Berg's opera a boy makes his mother happy with his bastard smile.

To the simple minded Wozzeck the world  is a bad place. Finally in his bloodstained clothing and shame he walks slowly into the lake until the water is over his head. The boy's mother is later found with her throat cut. 

Calling hop, hop, hop the boy disappears from the stage on his broomstick horse. The curtain falls. 

"God forbid I should get annoyed with my fellow humans." 

Vienna State Opera
27, 30, March 2014


  1. One of Dominic's favourite operas, I had to listen to it interminably coming from his room when he was young. I love the story - I find the music a bit harsh for my taste Gwil.


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