Safety 101: Encore

by Jay Nordlinger

The other day, I had a post headed “Safety 101.” It commented on a moment in Don Giovanni (Mozart’s opera): Giovanni tricks Masetto (simple, gullible) into giving up his arms. Then he beats the snot out of him.

Since then, I have seen Fierrabras (a Schubert opera) (review to come): Charlemagne sends a delegation to the Moorish king, called “Boland” in this opera, to make peace. Boland tells the knights that he will not speak to people of peace while they are bearing arms. So the knights, in a gesture of goodwill, give up their swords. Then the Moors capture them in order to kill them.

D’oh! Chillen, listen to papa: Don’t be givin’ up your arms. Or, as Reagan used to quote, trust, but verify. (Gorbachev hated it when Reagan said this. George Shultz confirmed it in a 2008 interview with me.)

P.S. For a review of Salzburg’s new Giovanni, stage-directed by Sven-Eric Bechtolf, with Christoph Eschenbach in the pit, go here.

P.P.S. While I’m doing opera news, let me note the death of Licia Albanese, at a buck-oh-five — 105. (An obit here.) I saw her at a concert five years ago, when she was a mere 100. (See how good my math is?) She was impeccably turned out, her posture was erect, and she was beaming: glad to be greeted by people in the crowd. I of course never heard her live. But the magnetism and all the rest come through the recordings pretty well, no matter how antique and scratchy.