Discovering a Little Greek Mythology

February 2, 2020 — 49 Comments
Conductor – Ben Crick

On the 6th March I will perform alongside Ben Crick and the Skipton Camerata as we collaborate to present a Concert entitled:

Dance of the Furies

Gluck Dance of the Furies (‘Orpheus and Eurydice’)
Gluck Aria: Che faro senza Euridice (‘Orpheus and Eurydice’)
Mozart Concert aria: ‘Ah, lo previdi’
Haydn Symphony No 59 in A ‘Fire’
JC Bach Symphony in G minor
JC Bach Aria: ‘Ebben si vada’
Boccherini Symphony in D minor ‘La casa del diavolo’

Christ Church, Skipton, Skipton, BD23 2AH – Fri 6th March 2020 7:30PM

As part of the evening’s program, we will perform Mozart’s concert aria ‘Ah lo previdi’, which I have taken great joy in translating and researching this week.

First things first, I’d like to explain what a Concert aria is. Usually, they have been purposely written to be performed in a concert as a standalone scene rather than as part of an opera.

‘Ah lo previdi’ is a concert aria inspired by the relationship between Andromeda and Perseus from Greek Mythology.

After completing the translation of the text and delving further into the story behind the aria I found it compelling and wanted to share with you a little of what I have discovered.

Andromeda is a beautiful young woman, daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia who rule over Joppa (Jaffa) in Palestine. However, trouble is brought upon their home when Queen Cassiopeia offended the Nereids (Sea Nymphs and companions to Poseidon) after boasting that Andromeda was more beautiful than them. In retaliation to the Queen’s hubris, Poseidon sent a sea monster, which some writers refer to is as the Kraken or Cetus, to rage havoc and destroy the shores of the city. Terrified at the prospect of the destruction of their great City the King and Queen seek guidance from an Oracle on how to appease the gods, the oracle responds by suggesting that they must sacrifice Andromeda to the Monster to satisfy Poseidon.  They agree to this (reluctantly I hope) and chain Andromeda to a rock on the shore outside the City. Poor Andromeda!!

Luckily for our damsel in distress, Perseus is flying past the region after successfully completing a task set for him by King Polydectes, the killing of the Gorgon Medusa. Perseus is overcome by  Andromeda’s beauty and he slays the beast intent on killing her by using his sword and Medusa’s severed head.  The two of them are instantly bound by love and wish to spend their lives together.

We begin our story in the concert aria after Andromeda has been rescued. However, in this interpretation there is an introduction to the character Euristo, who had been promised Andromeda’s hand in marriage. It has been suggested that Euristo tells Andromeda that he has seen Perseus wandering around dementedly with an unsheathed sword. Suggesting that Perseus has committed suicide as a reaction to this marital obligation that separates him from Andromeda.

The concert aria explores several emotions from rage to resignation. She is furious that the same sword which he used to save her life has also taken Perseus’s. Andromeda later pleads with the shadow (spirit) of Perseus to wait for her in the Underworld before he crosses the River Lethe. This river is said to cause one to experience complete forgetfulness and oblivion. Andromeda asks him to wait on the bank so their memories can be united before their story is forgotten.

From my research, I discovered that rather than this being the end for our lovers it was the start of a long, eventful, and happy marriage… or so mythology tells us.

Having translated the aria and read several accounts of the story behind it I decided to journey out to the Tate Britain museum, with the aim to see if there was any art inspired by this myth to help embellish the picture that I had painted within my own imagination. I was thrilled to see an evocative statue cast in bronze by Henry C Fehr. It brought together the main elements of the rescue of Andromeda and it was interesting to see how another artist had pictured the scene. I hope to invoke this imagery in my development of the piece and bring this aria and it’s story to life on the 6th March and I do hope that if you are in the area that evening you can come along and join us.

The Rescue Of Andromeda – Henry C Fehr

49 responses to Discovering a Little Greek Mythology

  1. 

    What a beautiful church! Brilliant post Charlotte and lovely photos. Good luck for the concert 👏👏 see you soon 😘

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 3, 2020 at 2:20 pm

      This photo of the church with the blossom is so whimsical and sweet. I like it too! Thank you for your Good Luck wishes.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  2. 

    Isn’t Greek mythology fun? There is never an end to the variations on happiness, plight, twists, turns, tragedy, recovery and happiness in mythologies of all kinds. I’m partial to Norse Mythology and the Icelandic Sagas, but Greek mythology is great. I’m sure you will animate the aria in such a way that you will please the gods. I’d hate to see you handed over to the monsters.

    I really like your camo jacket with a pink purse and white hightops. You make quite a fashion statement well worthy of the Tate. Inchcock, who lives in Nottingham, and I have running jokes about the Tate needing to contact him for performance art from is neuropathic episodes, and abstract series based on the ever-changing colors and patterns of is legs.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 3, 2020 at 2:23 pm

      Dear Timothy, as you highlighted the twists and turns make the Greek myths fantastic stories to grasp your imagination. You have peaked my interest regarding the Norse Myths and Icelandic Sagas. I will try to research these and see if they have influenced any composers!

      You made me giggle about my possible fate! I better get practicing, I would hate to be sent to the Monsters.

      Thank you for your kind words about my outfit. I enjoy fashion and how you can emphasise your personality through colour and fabrics! Your friend Inchcock sounds fun… perhaps you should get him a pair of Happy Socks? (They are a sock brand who specialise in colourful and often whacky socks!)

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

      • 

        Enjoying fashion and using fashion as an extension of your personality is good for your soul, health and happiness.

        Inchcock has to wear therapy socks, which are more like stockings. I tease him about how sexy his legs look with his stockings pulled up to mid thigh. I also tease him about needing a garter belt to keep them from slipping down. Inchcock has a excellent sense of humor, especially given how serious is ailments are.

      • 

        “Der Ring des Nibelungen” by Wagner is loosely based on characters from the Sagas.

  3. 

    I love it when I’m visiting an art museum and come across artworks that depict opera scenes.
    https://operasandcycling.com/paintings-on-opera-themes/

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 3, 2020 at 2:23 pm

      Me too! Please let me know if you are struck by any particular art. I find it helpful to search in Museums for links to pieces I’m working on.
      For example, I found by chance a beautiful piece by Henry Fuseli called Titania and Bottom – which was an interesting interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. See the artwork here:

      https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/fuseli-titania-and-bottom-n01228

      The fairies had butterfly wings for ears and Titania had a wand! Both struck me as news ideas, that I hadn’t imagined before.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

      • 

        One that I especially liked was in Nancy, France, where the Fine Arts Museum is directly opposite the opera house, and the two buildings look very much alike. I went to Nancy to see David Hermann’s staging of ‘Armide’, by Jean-Baptiste Lully, and the next day when I went to the museum I was please to find a large painting illustrating that same opera.
        https://operasandcycling.com/fine-arts-museum-in-nancy/

  4. 

    I love the Greek myths. I wish I could be there to hear you, Charlotte!

  5. 

    Your posts are always so informative as well as entertaining. I had no idea what a concert aria was.

  6. 

    Thank you for the lesson in mythology and the beautiful sculptures that accompany it. Congratulations on your performance!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 3, 2020 at 2:25 pm

      It is my pleasure! Thank you for supporting my blog and commenting. It fuels me to continue sharing and searching for interesting ways to bring music alive.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  7. 

    Good morning Hoather have a nice day

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 3, 2020 at 2:25 pm

      Good Day Amritpal, thank you for your warm thoughts. I hope you have a great week!
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  8. 

    Interesting ! Being Greek myself , I’ve always found greek mythology an entertaining read!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 3, 2020 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks for dropping by Christina, new friends are always welcome. I must find an opportunity to visit the Greek mainland as I have only visited a small number of the Greek Islands and must find time to explore a little more.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  9. 

    Charlotte,
    You make your blog so interesting, always informative.
    Great photo’s which show you had a exciting weekend .xx

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 3, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      Thank you Nana, it was a brilliant excuse to go and visit Tate Britain. I hope to find more reasons to visit museums and galleries in the future as it was fun getting lost among the great pieces in there.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  10. 

    Interesting and exciting, Charlotte.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 3, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      I had such a good time exploring the museum and I love the stories that make up Greek Mythology. Have a lovely day GP 🙂

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  11. 

    Great experience, dear Charlotte. The Mythology is the core of our civilization. It is good to revise it from time to time. 🙂

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 10, 2020 at 3:24 pm

      I find your comment about Mythology as the core of civilization so interesting. Great stories inspire people to be brave and courageous, how to love, and guide people from making perilous mistakes. Great thinking!

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

      • 

        Thanks, dear Charlotte. I hope your story will inspire you too. There are no coincidences in our life. Any information is always in time. The clue is to get its secret meaning!

        Best wishes!
        Maria

  12. 

    What fun you are having

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 10, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      I think it is important to be playful at times with your work. Experience a new story through a different medium. It always makes work seem more inspiring and fun!

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  13. 

    What a great time you must be having studying Greek mythology, art and music! Nirvana! and a wonderful education. You will be terrific!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 10, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      Thank you for your sweet wishes Noelle! It is a joy to study Greek mythology, the stories grab my attention and I love an excuse to combine work and pleasure.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  14. 

    Bravo Charlotte, c’est super que tu continues ta technique de travail, chercher l’histoire autour d’une pièce, la mettre en image, chercher les représentations existante !!! Je me souviens, quand on a fait connaissance, tu cherchais information sur V. Hugo et les Misérable, et le Paris de l’époque ….. Meilleurs pensées pour Toi mon amie !!!!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 10, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      Quel souvenir fantastique vous avez Pascal! C’est une joie de trouver l’inspiration de l’art et d’avoir une excuse pour visiter un musée ou une galerie. Je trouve l’énergie de votre palette artistique en constante évolution.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  15. 

    Furious activity, in fact!

  16. 

    A lovely telling if this story. Congrats and best wishes in your upcoming performance!

  17. 

    “Take Britain” and “Free for all” — I am sure you got a great deal on that statue for your foyer. I went a few days later and they had replaced those banners with “everything must go” magic-marketed on card board.
    But seriously, interesting storyline – Agamemnon sacrificed Iphigenia in a parallel. Love the telescoping church photo.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 10, 2020 at 3:27 pm

      Hahaha… I like your comedic twist on the banners. I shall research the parallel story of Agamemnon and Iphigenia. Thank you for rasing my awareness.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  18. 

    Greek Mythology, Great time, Charlotte!!!!

  19. 

    At the same time that you will be performing in Skipton, I will be in Sheffield watching my daughter perform in ‘Death on the Nile’ with her drama company. So near and yet so far!
    What a fantastic programme – enjoy the concert, Charlotte. I really enjoyed reading about Perseus, Andromeda et al, and the statue is wonderful!

  20. 

    Lovely post n pictures 🙂🙂

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather March 5, 2020 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you for stopping by and enjoying my post. It is lovely to hear from you.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  21. 

    Yes, good for you to going out to the Tate Britain museum.
    Research for a part…. costumes in my case, is essential. Directors love the extra mile we go to! xoxo

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather March 5, 2020 at 5:26 pm

      Dear Resa, I really enjoy research and using different types of art to inspire me. Visiting a museum is great fun, but searching for a particular theme or myth adds a little extra spice to the amusement.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

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