[Milton-L] Samson Agonistes performed Oct 14th in NYC

srevard at siue.edu srevard at siue.edu
Wed Oct 16 20:08:48 EDT 2013


This is yet once more Stella Revard's husband Carter:  first, to say this has
been a very educational and interesting thread, and as Richard Strier said
well, Dave's blog (and Jeffrey's program note I would add) have contributed
splendidly.

I just want to say that the new Director at the National Theatre in London,
Rufus Norris (see Oct. 16 NYT Arts Pages), should stage Samson Agonistes. If
only Dylan Thomas had recorded all of Milton:  the finest reader of English
poetry of the 20th century, better by far than Richard Burton who was very good
indeed. Imagine what he could do with a Milton sonnet, or Lycidas.  I think the
casting of a Samson performance should put the voice-acting first, not the
glamour or acting ability--in other words, do this as the OPERA it really is,
with all the dramatic music alive in the voices. Think of  Pavarotti, Zhinka
Milanov, Flagstad, Melchior, Jonas Kaufmann, listen to them and learn.  Of
course Helen Mirren could surely do a great Dalila, James Earl Jones a Manoa or
a Samson....


Quoting "Harper, Dave LTC MIL USA USMA" <Dave.Harper at usma.edu>:

> Greg -
>
> Samson did indeed have a full head of hair, although perhaps not so many
> locks as to be "redundant."
>
> It is interesting to consider where the boundaries between a "reading" and
> "performance" begin and end. This Samson was not "staged," but gestures,
> expressions, reactions from the chorus, etc. often blurred the lines. Unlike
> some readings, this had clearly been rehearsed and there was clear direction
> at some points.
>
> While teaching SA, I might consider having my students read portions of the
> drama to consider what interpretive choices they might make in the process.
>
> Best,
> Dave
>
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